The sapphire is a gift as old as time; it is a classic romantic offering that speaks of the everlasting love that two people can share. The Greeks and Romans believed that the wearer of sapphires was protected from all kinds of evil. They also believed that this gem brought immense blessing and prosperity to its wearer.
Today, we still give one another sapphire jewelry, from necklaces and bracelets to earrings and even engagement rings. However, choosing the right sapphire jewelry can be incredibly challenging. In addition to the question of style and quality, you also need to consider other factors, like color.
For many people, sapphires are traditionally thought of as blue – there’s even an addition to the color palette called “sapphire blue”. The truth is more than a little different, though. These stunning gems can be found in a rainbow of colors, from blue to brown. Every color except red, in fact.
The color you choose is just as important as the setting or the type of jewelry. In this sapphire buyer’s guide, we’ll walk you through:
- The 4 C’s of gemstones
- Some of the most alluring sapphire color options
- The different types of sapphire jewelry
- Custom sapphire jewelry vs. mass-produced items
It is worth mentioning that there is no right or wrong choice here. In fact, the color of the chosen sapphire can greatly depend on many personal factors, such as the month of birth, the type of occasion, and personal taste. It is also worth mentioning that the price of this enchanting gemstone is affected by the four C’s: color, clarity, cut, and carat.
What Are Sapphires?
Like diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, sapphires are gemstones formed deep within the Earth’s surface. On average, it takes 150 million years to form gemstones and requires an incredible amount of heat and pressure. It also takes the right chemicals and other elements to create a sapphire, rather than, say, an emerald or another gem. Sapphires are usually comprised of a combination of aluminum oxide crystals that contain a range of color-imparting impurities, such as titanium, vanadium, or iron.
Where Do Sapphires Come From?
Sapphires are mined all around the world, from Myanmar to Kashmir. Each geographic region produces different colors. For instance, Australia and Thailand produce most of the world’s blue sapphires, while yellow and orange come from Tanzania.
The Four C’s
Before we dive into the topic, we should start with the basics. What are the 4 C’s? Why do they matter? What should you know?
As mentioned above, the 4 C’s are color, clarity, cut, and carat. Each plays a central role in determining the visual impact of the sapphire jewelry you choose, the weight, the value, and the cost (cost and value differ significantly).
- Color – A sapphire’s color is an indication of rarity, as well as a denotation of beauty. For instance, while blue sapphires are more common (relatively speaking, of course), star sapphires are much rarer. Orange-pink sapphires (dubbed Padparadscha sapphires) are even rarer.
Of course, scarcity is just one thing to consider with color. Consumer demand is also important, as it affects the price you’ll pay. Color isn’t just whether the stone is blue, brown, yellow, or black, though. It’s about hue position, saturation/intensity, tone, and color coverage.
- Clarity – The general rule in jewelry is that the better the clarity of a stone, the more valuable it is. Gemstones can suffer from clarity-related problems for many reasons, such as inclusions (tiny flaws within the stone), and even poor cuts that obscure rather than enhance the stone’s inner fire. Other factors that play a role in clarity include the stone’s size, contrast, the location of inclusions within the stone (not just the number of inclusions), and any impact of those inclusions on a stone’s durability.
- Cut – A sapphire’s cut will affect value and price. The more detailed the cut, the higher the price, usually. More detailed cuts also allow the stone’s inner beauty to shine through by capturing and magnifying light.
Note that the industry standard for sapphires is brilliant crown/step pavilion, or stepped cut. However, sapphires can also be found with square, square cushion, trillion, and emerald cuts to name just a few design options. Evaluating the cut requires a good understanding of the stone’s shape, but also the cutting style, the proportions, symmetry, and even the finish given to the stone.
- Carat – Carat is often thought to refer to size, but that is only part of it. Carat weight is the actual final factor in determining the cost, value, and appeal of a gemstone. Most gems are sold based on a per-carat price and that generally goes up with the gem’s weight and overall size, with stones under one carat being substantially cheaper than those even a fraction over one carat in weight.
- Color Coverage – Color coverage technically slots into the first C, but with colored gemstones like sapphires, it’s important to understand this so-called fifth C. Color coverage is a measure of color saturation throughout the entire gemstone.
A stone with uniform color coverage will have a higher value than one with a low degree of color coverage. Factors that affect color coverage include inclusions in the stone, but also the cut, the stone’s transparency, proportions, and pleochroism (a term used to describe a stone’s color when observed at different angles).
Now that we have a better understanding of the basics, we can discuss sapphire color choices and what you might want to consider with each one.
Sapphire Jewelry Color Choices: A Rainbow of Options
While most people think of blue sapphires, the truth is that there’s a rainbow of options out there to suit your recipient’s preferences or your own tastes. Below, we’ll explore some of the colors you should know.
1- Blue Sapphire
In literature, the color blue symbolizes home. The blue skies passionately enwrap the earth, and the blue waters encompass the face of the earth and hug its lands. Blue is also the most commonly thought of color when it comes to sapphires.
So, when do people buy blue sapphire as a gift?
- Your partner’s birthday is in September.
- To express commitment to your partner.
- Or just because the color blue is your partner’s favorite color.
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2- Purple Sapphire
The color purple denotes royalty and power. The purple sapphire comes in different hues of lilac. In addition, this rich-colored sapphire is ideal for those who want to make a statement with a rarely-seen color of this treasured gemstone.
So, when should we select a purple sapphire to give our partner?
- Purple and lilac are ideal colors for modern engagement rings.
- Your partner’s favorite color is purple.
- When your partner has a sense of whimsy and fun.
3- Orange Sapphire
Orange is the color of abundance; it is also a symbol of warmth and energy. Ancient cultures believed that the color orange in dreams symbolized a strong marriage and everlasting bonds.
When is it best to select this radiant color for a gift?
- Orange sapphire is an affordable alternative to blue and purple sapphires.
- Your partner was born in the spring; spring is a warm season just like the color orange.
- Your partner adores the color orange.
4- Padparadscha Sapphire
The Padparadscha Sapphire has to be one of the rarest gemstones on earth. This color is a mix between light pink and bright orange; it resembles the color salmon. Moreover, this fine color symbolizes the lotus flower, which signifies rebirth according to Egyptian culture.
When is it best to select this magnificent salmon color?
- This stone is ideal for those who want something that stands out from the crowd.
- It is well-suited for passionate, driven individuals.
- It works very well for showcasing both strength and femininity.
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5- Green Sapphire
The color green symbolizes the earth, growth, and abundance. It is believed that a green sapphire can unlock the path to dreams, as it makes its wearer remember their dreams more vividly. The green sapphire is also widely known as the “stone of fidelity”.
When is it best to purchase a green sapphire?
- Since green is also the color of money and wealth, it is believed that green sapphire can help entrepreneurs bring their ideas into reality.
- Green is the color of the earth and is well-suited for ecologically-minded wearers.
- Green sapphires are regal and elegant.
6- White Sapphire
White sapphires are not actually white; they are transparent. Their crystal clear look has a classic beauty that scintillates in even low lights. White sapphires are a symbol of purity and thought to bring clarity to the wearer.
How do people decide if they want to purchase a white sapphire?
- It is a stunning, classic alternative to diamonds.
- It can symbolize the purity of a relationship or emotion.
- White sapphires are ideal for “everyday wear” jewelry, including in the business world where ostentation is often avoided.
7- Yellow Sapphire
The GIA reports there are actually 7 types of yellow sapphire available on the market.
How do people decide if they want to purchase a yellow sapphire?
- It is a stunning, classic alternative to yellow diamonds.
- It can symbolize grace and power.
- Yellow sapphires are ideal for “everyday wear” jewelry such as engagement rings.
8- Pink Sapphire
Pink sapphires are stunning and hail from places like Madagascar, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Some pink sapphires can be mistaken for rubies. Princess Diana’s famous sapphire engagement ring skyrocketed the popularity of sapphire engagement rings and since sapphires are great for everyday wear, a sapphire engagement ring is a great choice.
How do people decide if they want to purchase a pink sapphire?
- It is a stunning, classic alternative to pink diamonds or ruby in pieces like necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.
- It can symbolize love, trust, loyalty, and sincerity.
- If you love pink and are looking for a romantic alternative to a classic diamond engagement ring.
Sapphire Jewelry: Understanding the Options
Sapphire jewelry comes in many different shapes and types. Understanding your recipient’s preferences is the first step to ensuring that you’re able to give a gift that they’ll love and cherish for years to come. For instance, while one person might adore a sapphire ring, another might prefer a bracelet or pendant. You should also consider when the jewelry will be worn – will it be reserved for gala events or will it be an everyday wear item?
Once you’ve decided on the right type of jewelry, from sapphire earrings to sapphire engagement rings and wedding bands, you need to assess the jewelry and the stone. The tips below will help you make an informed purchase.
Opt for Custom Sapphire Jewelry
Custom sapphire jewelry is almost always the better option. Fine jewelers hand-select the finest stones and then carefully create settings that maximize their inherent fire and beauty. Mass-produced jewelry, on the other hand, is often lackluster and of inferior workmanship.
Choosing Precious Metals
Sapphires pair well with most precious metals, but they go particularly well with lighter options – white gold or platinum, for instance. The contrast between the white metal complements the sapphire’s deep color and makes it stand out that much more.
Consider Pairing Sapphires with Other Stones
Sapphires can be paired with other gemstones to create unique combinations. While the sky’s the limit in terms of options, it’s best to pair just one other type of stone. For instance, sapphires and emeralds can be an incredibly beautiful combination. Sapphires and diamonds are also stunning. Note that diamonds are the traditional pairing for sapphires because, like white precious metals, white diamonds bring out and complement sapphire’s inner beauty.
Color Matters More Than Clarity
With diamonds, clarity is the focus, but with colored gemstones like sapphires, look for color instead. Of course, this goes beyond just choosing a color that will appeal to your recipient. You should consider color saturation, hue, color coverage, and intensity with each stone.
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Finding a Timeless Gift Your Recipient Will Cherish
Sapphires are elegant, beautiful, and timeless. They offer an incredible range of colors and hues, can be paired with other gemstones, and are ideal for a gift that your loved one will cherish for a lifetime. However, it is important to make an informed decision when buying sapphire jewelry. This goes beyond just choosing the right color and type – custom-designed sapphire jewelry offers incomparable beauty and design and ensures that your partner will have a one-of-a-kind creation.
When most people think of the sapphire they think of a beautiful blue gemstone. However, did you know that sapphire comes in almost every color of the rainbow except red? Sapphire’s breathtaking range of colors have captured our imagination and inspired one-of-a-kind designs. Ancient lore tells us that blue sapphire brought spiritual enlightenment, inner peace, wisdom, insight, and the discernment to choose what’s right. It is September’s birthstone and celebrates the 45th wedding anniversary.
Sapphire Birthstone Care
Sapphires are rated “excellent” for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to heat and contact with chemicals. To clean, gently scrub with a soft toothbrush and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water, or clean in an at-home ultrasonic unit.
Read these extra tips for how to take care of your fine jewelry.
Many people believe that the darker the color, the more valuable the gem. In many instances, this is not the case. Sapphire is one such example where the best and most valuable color is a mid-toned hue. In the case of Blue Sapphire – it is the vibrant “cornflower” hue that is most prized.
The ancients believed that Blue Sapphire – holding in its depths the power of sea and sky – had influence over the spirit world as well; among its reputed powers was the ability to make peace between warring parties. The calming influence of blue has also made it an enduring symbol for loyalty and trust – one reason that women around the world choose Sapphire for their engagement rings. In all its rainbow of color, Sapphire – is the gem given to those born in September.
AAA: Medium navy to royal blue; eye clean; good brilliance; excellent cut; excellent polish
AA: Medium navy to royal blue; eye clean; good brilliance; good cut; good polish
A: Medium to dark navy, little or no color zoning; slightly included; good brilliance; good cut; good polish
B: Dark navy, little or no color zoning; slightly included; good cut
Commercial: Commercial quality; variation in color; included
Working with this gemstone
Ultrasonic: Usually safe
Steamer: Usually safe
Heat: Poor – may sometimes improve color, but may cause loss of color
Harmful Chemicals: Borax
Specific Gravity: 4
Optic Character: DR
Phenomena: Asterism, Color Change, Chatoyancy (very rare)