Colors of Sapphire Beyond Shades of Blue

Colors of Sapphire Beyond Shades of Blue

Are you aware that blue sapphires are not the sole variation of sapphires in existence?

Colors of Sapphire Beyond Shades of Blue

Within this comprehensive educational manual, we will delve into the diverse spectrum of sapphire hues accessible in the market, while also addressing inquiries such as:

  • Are sapphires suitable for engagement rings?
  • Where can one acquire purple sapphires?
  • Is it possible for sapphires to undergo color transformations?

The Origins of Sapphire Color Unveiled

For those familiar with the realm of sapphire engagement rings, it is common knowledge that the genesis of sapphire lies within the corundum mineral.

Blue Corundum aka Blue Sapphire in the Rough

Corundum, an allochromatic gemstone, exhibits an intriguing ability to manifest diverse color variations, contingent upon the introduction of impurities into what is known as colorless sapphires. It is noteworthy to mention that colorless sapphires are often referred to as white sapphires.

During the formation of corundum crystals in the depths of the Earth, they encounter an assortment of minerals and elements. Certain minerals give rise to inclusions, which become ensnared within the stone. These inclusions, in conjunction with various trace elements, induce a transformation in color for what initially were colorless crystals.

The Diverse Spectrum of Sapphire Hues Unveiled

In the realm of jewelry stores, blue sapphires reign supreme as the most prevalent color variant. It is a common association for individuals to immediately conjure images of the classic blue September birthstone when envisioning a sapphire. Consequently, any sapphire hues beyond blue are collectively termed as fancy sapphires, as blue takes precedence as the primary and highly coveted shade.


The realm of sapphire colors encompasses a vast array, spanning a multitude of shades and nuances in between. Each distinct sapphire hue may exhibit a spectrum of secondary hues, each possessing its own distinct designation. Regrettably, there exists no standardized system governing sapphire colorations, leading to considerable subjectivity and debate within this realm.

Blue Sapphires

Blue sapphires form when minute quantities of iron and titanium mix with a transparent sapphire beneath the surface of the planet. Various shades of blue sapphires exist, some exhibiting distinct secondary tints such as green or purple.

You can find blue sapphires in different countries. However, the highest quality of blue sapphire stones are available in:

  • Australia
  • Madagascar
  • United States
  • Thailand
  • Sri Lanka
  • Myanmar
  • Kashmir

Distinct variations in hues contribute to the varying prices and worth of blue sapphires. The majority of jewelry stores hold inventories consisting of royal blue or nearly ebony sapphires. Among the most coveted blue sapphire shades are those reminiscent of Ceylon, the former designation for Sri Lanka. The alluring allure of Kashmir sapphires lies in their opulent, velvety blue tone, accentuated by the presence of silk-like inclusions. Other noteworthy blue sapphire variations include:

  • Ceylonite Sapphires
  • Kashmiri Sapphires
  • Cornflower Blue Sapphire
  • Montana Teal Sapphire
  • Majestic Blue Sapphires
  • Bluish Green Sapphires
  • Violet-tinged Blue Sapphires

For those seeking to acquire blue sapphires, reputable vendors such as James Allen, Brilliant Earth, Blue Nile, and Leibish & Co. are recommended sources.

White Sapphires

White sapphires represent the epitome of corundum’s purity, also acknowledged as colorless sapphire. This exquisite variant materializes when the corundum crystal undergoes formation undisturbed by any trace elements.

Red (Ruby), Colorless (White),  and Blue Corundum

Compared to their colored counterparts, white sapphires lack substantial appreciation and demand. They are frequently acquired as a captivating substitute for diamonds, owing to their enchanting radiance and durability. Numerous white sapphires found in jewelry stores are synthetically crafted, requiring minimal resources to achieve substantial carat weights. Interestingly, a sterling silver setting often commands a higher price than the lab-grown white sapphire serving as its centerpiece.

Natural white sapphires hold a place among rarities. Although it is reasonable to assume that the majority of white sapphires are artificially created, this is not to imply that natural specimens are nonexistent. Nevertheless, one is more likely to encounter them through online sources.

Despite the name “white sapphire,” no completely colorless variations exist. In truth, the shimmer emitted by a white sapphire is reminiscent of silver rather than the radiant sparkle of white light exhibited by a diamond.

The principal regions where white sapphires are typically unearthed include Sri Lanka, while additional discoveries have been made in:

  • Malawi
  • Australia
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Kenya

For those seeking to purchase natural white sapphires, Brilliant Earth is a recommended destination.

Fancy Sapphire Colors

A splendid hue of sapphire encompasses all shades, excluding the familiar blue, pure white, and vibrant red that manifests as ruby. The realm of sapphires encompasses an extensive spectrum, embracing an array of colors akin to the captivating hues of the rainbow, unveiling a multitude of delightful gradients.

Red Corundum aka Ruby

Pink Sapphires

The fancy sapphires you’ll commonly encounter in local jewelry stores are of a delightful pink hue, serving as an excellent and more affordable substitute for the exceedingly costly pink diamonds. Both natural and lab-created variations of pink sapphires exist, displaying a captivating spectrum of pink tones ranging from the faintest blush to the deepest rosy shades.

Most pink sapphires possess a pure pink coloration, there exist additional captivating shades that enhance their allure. Notably, pink sapphires exhibiting a subtle tinge of orange are referred to as padparadscha sapphires. However, the classification of a pink-orange sapphire as a genuine padparadscha sapphire remains a subject of debate among experts.

The range of pink sapphire shades encompasses:

  • Subtle and delicate pale pink
  • Peachy pink tones
  • Enchanting rose pink (reminiscent of pastel pink)
  • Padparadscha sapphires, boasting an intriguing orange-pink fusion
  • Raspberry pink sapphires, which emanate a charming pinkish-purple essence
  • Bubble gum pink sapphires, showcasing an immaculate and vibrant pink hue
  • Striking and vibrant hot pink sapphires

Locally, it is more probable to come across affordable lab-created pink sapphires, whereas natural pink sapphires are more commonly found online. It is important to note that all shades of pink sapphires are desirable, and unlike Ceylon sapphires, they do not possess any distinctive origin that commands elevated prices.


Pink sapphires are extracted from the following locations:

  • Madagascar
  • Myanmar
  • Eastern Africa

Places to purchase pink sapphires include James Allen, Blue Nile, and Brilliant Earth.

Yellow Sapphires

The demand for yellow sapphires is relatively low, primarily due to the popularity of yellow diamonds. Nevertheless, there has been a surge in interest as an increasing number of individuals opt for colored gemstones instead of diamonds when purchasing engagement rings.


While fancy diamond hues are typically scarce and come with hefty price tags, yellow diamonds offer a more affordable alternative, attracting numerous individuals who aspire to possess a vibrant canary yellow diamond. The fact that sapphires can also occur in this particular shade of yellow remains largely unknown since it is uncommon for most stores to stock them.

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Yellow sapphires exhibit a diverse array of yellow tones and can exhibit secondary nuances of orange, green, or brown. Various names are assigned to different shades of yellow sapphires, including:

  • Radiant Canary Yellow Sapphires (displaying a vibrant yellow hue)
  • Sunflower Yellow Sapphires
  • Honey Yellow Sapphires (resembling a tinge of yellowish brown)
  • Greenish Yellow Sapphires
  • Yellowish Orange Sapphires

The manifestation of yellow color in sapphires occurs when iron infiltrates the crystalline structure during the formation of white sapphires. Greater concentrations of iron within the crystal result in a more pronounced and saturated hue for the stone. Furthermore, compared to sapphires of alternative colors, yellow sapphires generally possess fewer internal flaws and imperfections.

The extraction of yellow sapphires takes place in several locations across the globe, including: Sri Lanka, Australia, Thailand, Madagascar and Tanzania.

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Orange Sapphires

Orange sapphires have garnered attention primarily due to their secondary tones encompassing hues of pink, peach, and padparadscha-like shades. These captivating variations result from the infusion of iron and chromium elements during the formation of colorless corundum.

Among the secondary nuances present in orange sapphires are shades of orangy brown and orangy yellow. While orangy yellow sapphires stand as the prevailing variety, the rarest of them all are the delicately tinged orangy pink gems. These exquisite specimens are infrequently encountered in physical stores and do not witness substantial online demand, except in the case of the highly sought-after padparadscha shades.

Unheated orange sapphires are exceptionally scarce, making their discovery even more extraordinary. Nearly all orange sapphires encountered have undergone color enhancement processes to enhance their allure. These modifications are enduring and considerably more affordable compared to their unheated counterparts.

Padparadscha Sapphire

While numerous sapphires undergo heat treatment, there exists a plethora that remains in their natural state. Unfortunately, orange sapphires are not among the range of colors that can be found unaltered.

The origins of orange sapphires can be traced back to various locations, including Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Australia.

Green Sapphires

Emerald-hued sapphires, a variety of sapphires that often fly under the radar, are garnering attention for their captivating interplay of green and blue tones. Teal sapphires, in particular, have captured the hearts of many enthusiasts. While originating from Montana, these sapphires have undergone heat treatment to achieve their stunning colors.


Exhibiting a captivating allure, green sapphires come in various shades, with light green and bright green varieties commanding high demand. These sapphires possess a mesmerizing brilliance and are relatively affordable due to their limited popularity.

The green tint in sapphires can be attributed to the presence of iron within corundum. As a result, these green and blue-green sapphires boast a higher density compared to their counterparts.

Green sapphires with diverse hues can be found in a range of locations, including United States (Montana), Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Australia.

Similar to emeralds, green sapphires possess the ability to exhibit secondary tones. The prevailing inclination within the realm of sapphire adornments revolves around the captivating teal sapphire. These particular sapphires showcase vibrant or profound bluish green tinges, and they are commonly unearthed in the state of Montana. Aside from shades of blue and green, green sapphires are known to manifest yellow-green hues and even delicate, reminiscent seafoam green shades akin to those found in green beryl.


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Purple Sapphires

Purple sapphires offer a superb alternative to the exceedingly scarce purple diamond, exhibiting a vibrant purple hue unlike the pinkish or reddish tones found in purple diamonds.

The existence of purple sapphires often eludes public awareness, much like their counterparts in brown, yellow, black, and orange. Due to low demand, treated variants of purple sapphires are remarkably affordable, with even greater affordability in lab-created options.


Distinct from purple diamonds and violet diamonds, purple sapphires encompass a spectrum of captivating hues. While pure purple sapphires are exceptionally rare, it is common to discover violet shades accompanied by secondary blue undertones. Personally, I hold a deep appreciation for these violet-colored sapphires, reminiscent of the allure of tanzanite.

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A purple sapphire frequently showcases undertones of blue, pink, or red, encompassing a spectrum that ranges from gentle lavender shades to deep, rich purples. The alluring hue of purple sapphires is attributed to the infusion of vanadium impurities within the corundum crystal, responsible for their mesmerizing coloration.

These captivating gemstones are unearthed in various regions, including:

  • Sri Lanka
  • Myanmar
  • Tanzania
  • Madagascar
  • Kenya

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Brown Sapphires

Rare are the brown sapphires, seldom encountered and often overlooked due to the widespread popularity of “chocolate diamonds” in the realm of exquisite jewelry. It is only when seeking gemstones for the purpose of crystal healing that individuals tend to consider alternative brown precious stones.

However, it is essential to acknowledge the existence of brown sapphires, which offer a more reasonably priced option compared to the exorbitantly priced Le’Vian chocolate diamonds. Typically displaying hues of reddish brown, orangish brown, or brownish yellow, they present an appealing alternative.

While brown sapphires can be found in regions where corundum is present, only a limited number possess the captivating richness, intense color, and remarkable clarity necessary to create splendid cognac, chocolate, and champagne-colored gemstones.

Among the newer and rarer variations of brown sapphires, one encounters the captivating gold sheen sapphire. These extraordinary gems exhibit such fascinating characteristics that they almost defy belief, resembling the enchanting appearance of labradorite.

You can find premium grade brown sapphires in different countries including Sri Lanka, Australia, Thailand, Madagascar, and Tanzania.

Black Sapphires

Black sapphires, often overlooked and underestimated, possess a distinct charm amidst the vast realm of sapphire hues. These enigmatic gemstones, veiled in obsidian darkness, embody an undeniable allure while remaining surprisingly economical.

When individuals embark on a quest for ebony treasures, their preferences frequently gravitate towards the mesmerizing allure of black diamonds, the mysterious enchantment of onyx, or the captivating splendor of spinel. Regrettably, the clandestine elegance of black sapphires often eludes the knowledge of many, overshadowed by their lesser-known brethren, the infrequently discussed brown sapphires.

However, an exceptional variant within the black sapphire family does exist—the revered black star sapphire. Although exceedingly rare, these celestial marvels are still comparatively more accessible than their radiant counterparts of diverse hues.

Venturing across the globe, black sapphires unveil themselves in a selection of exotic locales, each bearing its own unique essence. From the enchanting landscapes of Thailand and Cambodia to the breathtaking wonders of Tanzania and Australia, these captivating gems emerge as tokens of nature’s artistry. The resplendent island of Sri Lanka and the spirited lands of Sierra Leone and Laos likewise bestow upon the world the inky allure of black sapphires, enriching our lives with their clandestine beauty.

Star Sapphires

Star sapphires are formed when a sapphire is meticulously cut in a cabochon style, unveiling its fascinating rutile inclusions. The interplay between rutile and luminosity gives birth to an exquisite six-pointed star, a phenomenon aptly known as chatoyancy. The desirability and worth of a black star sapphire elevate proportionately to the prominence and precise alignment of its starry spectacle.

In addition to black star sapphires, both blue sapphires and rubies possess the potential to exhibit stellar characteristics, rendering them even more prized than their ebony counterparts.

Bi-Colored Sapphires

Regular jewelry inventories typically do not house bi-colored sapphires, which are gemstones exhibiting two distinct colors within a single stone. This peculiarity goes beyond mere secondary hues, as half of the gemstone boasts one color while the other half showcases a different hue.

Green & Yellow Bi-Colored Australian Sapphire



Yellow & Orange Bi-Colored Montana Sapphire


Bi-colored stones extend beyond sapphires. The watermelon tourmaline, coveted for its captivating blend of pink and green, stands out as a prime example. Additionally, ametrine, an esteemed gem, displays a delightful combination of amethyst and citrine, making it another popular bi-colored stone. The presence of bi-colors in gemstones arises from an intriguing phenomenon known as color zoning.

Color zoning can be intentional, where stones are intentionally crafted to feature two distinct colors. On the other hand, unintentional zoning occurs when the color fails to permeate the entire gem or reveals an unexpected shade. Such zoning characteristics significantly impact the color quality of gemstones that are ideally intended to exhibit a consistent hue throughout their entirety.

Parti Sapphires – Color Changing Sapphires

A unique variety of sapphires showcases a fascinating phenomenon of undergoing a shift in color.

Frequently Asked Questions About Sapphire Colors

What is the Most Uncommon Sapphire Hue?

The padparadscha sapphire is renowned as the rarest shade among sapphires. Its name, derived from the Sinhalese term for the lotus flower, signifies its association with a delicate and distinct color. Genuine, unaltered padparadscha sapphires are exceedingly scarce, as most specimens undergo beryllium treatment to achieve vibrant tones of orange and pink. When presented with a purportedly untreated padparadscha sapphire, it is essential to possess a gemstone certificate issued by a trustworthy laboratory affirming its authenticity.

However, the categorization of a genuine padparadscha sapphire remains a subject of debate. The Natural Sapphire Company promotes their padparadscha sapphires as exhibiting hues ranging from light to vivid pinkish orange, occasionally displaying secondary yellow undertones. Conversely, some assert that true padparadscha sapphires exclusively showcase vivid shades of orange, reddish, and yellow.

GIA considers this a padparadscha sapphire

Exquisite and uncommon, teal sapphires emerge as a captivating variant among their precious gemstone kin. Distinctively sought after, they present an alluring alternative to the classic blue hue. Teal sapphires possess an intriguing duality, displaying a commanding presence of either serene blues or vibrant greens, while some boast an enchanting fusion of both. These exceptional treasures exclusively grace the sapphire mines nestled within the depths of Montana’s rugged terrain.

Delving into the realm of rarity, an even more extraordinary jewel takes center stage—the color change sapphire. This elusive variety transcends the boundaries of ordinary gemstones, occupying a realm inaccessible to most. These precious gems, of diminutive stature, are seldom encountered in commercial markets, confining their discovery to the realm of limited quantities and extraordinary allure.

Unheated Kashmir Sapphire and Diamond Engagement Ring $100,000


Which Fancy Colored Sapphire Holds the Highest Price Tag?

The sapphires with a lustrous blue hue are highly sought after and command the highest prices. Among them, Kashmir sapphires are known to be the most expensive. A top-notch Kashmir sapphire can cost anywhere from $15,0000 up to $100,000 and beyond per carat!

However, when it comes to fancy colored gemstones, the most valuable sapphires are the color change ones, owing to their exceptional scarcity and distinct color transformation. These remarkable gems can be priced at approximately $3000 per carat.

Is Fancy Sapphire Suitable for an Engagement Ring?

Fancy sapphires are known for their exceptional durability and can withstand regular use, making them an ideal choice for unique engagement rings. In fact, sapphires are even more durable than diamonds overall.

Nevertheless, it’s worth noting that over time, a sapphire engagement ring may develop scratches, especially in terms of scratch resistance. On the Mohs hardness scale, diamonds score a perfect 10, indicating their high resistance to scratches. This scale is significant because everyday exposure to airborne dust and dirt particles can result in friction against the stone, leading to scratches.

In the atmosphere, there exists airborne quartz particles possessing a hardness level measuring 6. Traditionally, a gemstone’s remarkable resistance against scratches is acknowledged when it surpasses quartz on the hardness scale. While sapphires achieve a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale, they remain approximately four times less prone to scratching compared to diamonds, which obtain a perfect score of 10.

In the event that your sapphire is utilized on a daily basis without proper care, it may endure damage and acquire scratches over the course of many years. Neglected white sapphires have a tendency to exhibit a cloudy appearance upon being scratched.

Diamonds possess a susceptibility to chipping due to the presence of gemstone cleavage. Conversely, sapphires are highly regarded for their durability in terms of chipping, as they lack the cleaving issues commonly found in a number of faceted gems.

When gemologists evaluate diverse factors to assess a gemstone’s capacity to withstand wear, sapphires excel in every aspect.


The vibrant array of hues exhibited by sapphires extends far beyond the traditional blue shade. Diverse variations of these gemstones, such as color-changing sapphires and star sapphires, offer captivating alternatives. While retail chains often feature blue, pink, and white sapphires (which are likely artificially produced), discovering other sapphire colors locally can prove more challenging.

Sapphires possess an exquisite allure, making them an ideal choice for both everyday adornment and engagement rings. Companies often combine the deep blue brilliance of sapphires with dazzling diamond engagement rings, resulting in an unparalleled and remarkable aesthetic!

With this comprehensive understanding of sapphire colors, I trust you now possess the knowledge necessary to embark on your quest for the perfect sapphire jewelry. May your pursuit be fruitful and may you discover the epitome of sapphire splendor!

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