Sapphire is one of the world's most sophisticated gemstones. Since its discovery until today, it captured the attention of emperors, kings, gems collectors, and, most importantly, women. The fact that Sapphires come in too many types is marvelous because it means that all people can find a stone which satisfies their tastes, but it's also overwhelming because it's hard to choose one if they all look beautiful. This article will introduce the types of Sapphires, i.e., Sapphire colors, and provide an overview of colors' importance to make the selecting process easier for you.
1- What are Sapphires?
Sapphire is a beautiful variety of corundum, which is an aluminum oxide mineral. It is the second hardest metal after diamond. It ranks at level 9 on the Mohs Scale, which is a global, valuable measurement tool to identify minerals. Sapphires exist in a wide array of colors, ranging from blue to black, some of them could also be colorless, while others may include many colors in between. Color has the most significant impact on Sapphire's value; it is the main factor when it comes to pricing. Moreover, many gemologists classify Sapphires into types according to their colors due to their great importance. Three essential aspects refer to Sapphire's color:
- Hue: is the color that reflects into your eyes when the stone is exposed to light flashes. Usually, Sapphires have primary and secondary hues, not only one; both of them describe the color. For example, "violet Blue" note that the primary hue is always capitalized "Blue," while the secondary one is written in a small first letter "violet." It's how gemologists differentiate between both hues. The best quality Sapphires in the world have only blue as a primary hue.
- Saturation: is the amount of color within the gem. It is the most crucial factor in the process of color grading because it is the most direct determinant of Sapphire's prices. High saturation makes the stone dark, while low saturation makes it greyish. Due to the importance of this aspect, there is a particular saturation grading system:
- Weak: the stone is very light.
- Fair: the stone is pale to moderate.
- Moderate: the stone is medium bright.
- Strong: the stone is bright.
- Intense: the stone is vivid.
- Tone: is the relative lightness or darkness in the color of the Sapphire. Very dark gemstones have no brilliance, whereas very light ones can't show off the color of the stone. The perfect tone would be medium to medium-dark. It is noticeable that the three color aspects affect each other. Lots of saturation makes the tone darker, while lower saturation reduces tone and forms a grey secondary hue.
The Coloring Agents
Sapphires' different colors are caused by traces of other mineral elements that were included during the formation process. For example:
- Blue Sapphires include titanium within the stone.
- Pink Sapphires include chromium within the stone.
- Lime green or purplish-blue Sapphires include a combination of elements within the stone.
- Colorless Sapphire is a chemically-pure one.
Nature may put many ingredients within a Sapphire; whatever it puts is what makes each stone unique and beautiful.
2- What are The Different Colors of Sapphires?
Sapphires are generally blue, but they are also available in a range of color variations. Sapphires that are not blue are called "Fancy Sapphires"; they might exist in any color other than red, as red Sapphires are named "Rubies." Check the varied colors of Sapphires; they make this stone suitable for anyone's taste:
- Blue Sapphires: This color is the most sought after type of Sapphire; it has always been a prized possession of kings and queens over history. The highest-valued blue Sapphires are velvety blue to violet-blue, with medium to medium-dark tones. Sapphires of these qualities have the highest prices per carat. Less valuable variations could be greyish-blue Sapphires that are either too dark or too light.
- Padparadscha Sapphires: Padparadscha is an extremely rare type of Sapphire that is a combination of pink and orange, creating a salmon color; stones of this type are known in the industry as Padparadscha. These gems have a considerably higher value than a lot of other fancy Sapphires. The best Padparadscha Sapphires range between light to medium pinkish-orange.
- Pink and Purple Sapphires
- Pink Sapphires range between pink and light purple, with weak to intense saturation.
- Purple Sapphires range between medium to dark reddish-purple to violet purple, with weak to vivid saturation.
- Yellow and Orange Sapphires
- Yellow Sapphires exist in a variety of saturations from yellow to orangey-yellow, in light to dark tones. They could be affected by other colors within the stone, such as light to dark greenish-yellow, or orangey-yellow with weak to intense saturation.
- Orange Sapphires have deep gold, deep orange, or mandarin colors; they range between yellowish-orange to reddish-orange. The highest-quality orange Sapphires are pure, strong orange to red-orange, with vivid saturation and medium tone.
- Green Sapphires : Original saturated green Sapphires are rare and prized for many gem collectors. In these Sapphires, a mix of blue and yellow tones could result in the green color we see. However, commercial types of Sapphire sometimes contain a greenish-blue color that creates less desirable gems.
- Color-Changing Sapphires: are the corundum's chameleons, which are gems that appear in different colors under different lighting circumstances. In daylight equivalents, a color-changing Sapphire will typically take a basic color that ranges between blue to violet. While in incandescent lights, such Sapphires will be violet-purple or strongly reddish-purple. A rare kind of color-changing Sapphires turns from green to reddish-brown when lighting changes. When gemologists analyze color-changing Sapphires, they classify the color change to weak, moderate, or strong. The strongest a gem can change its color, the more valuable it gets.
3- What are the Best Sapphires?
Natural Sapphires are graded according to many aspects:
- Carat Weight.
- Country of Origin.
The Best Sapphires According to Color
All of the previously mentioned aspects are taken into account when Sapphire's quality is evaluated. Considering that color is the most effective factor in the grading system, you can confidently determine which the best types of Sapphire depending on its color are. It is now apparent that blue is the color of the highest-quality Sapphires, but you also need to know which blue Sapphires are the best:
- An intense, deep, velvet royal blue ranks first.
- A medium, rich blue is the second-best option.
If you are aiming for the best type of Sapphire, make sure to choose one of these if you can afford them.
The Best Sapphires According to the Country of Origin
You can proudly show off your Sapphire jewelry if you have bought the ones that come from the top producing countries:
- Natural Kashmir Sapphires are the best and the most valuable of all time, but they are too rare and hard to find.
- The next best Sapphires are those that come from Ceylon; they are the finest-quality Sapphires that are found relatively easy.
- If both of the previous options exceed your budget, settle for either Burmese or Australian Sapphires, they are both high-quality options.
4- What is the Rarest Type of Sapphire?
Although Sapphires are available in almost all colors, some colors are common, while others are too rare and might be hard to find. The rarest type of Sapphire nowadays is the Padparadscha Sapphires, and not all people have even heard of them, but according to gem collectors, they are priceless. These unique Padparadscha stones have a salmon color with pinkish and orange hues, as mentioned previously. They are usually not evenly colored and can have shades of yellow and pink around the salmon hue. This type of Sapphire has exceptional characteristics, which contributes to making it so rare:
- Padparadscha Sapphires have asymmetrical cuts.
- Padparadscha Sapphires' inclusions are easily revealed, that's why most of them always have high clarity.
- It is hard to find a Padparadscha stone that weighs more than 2 carats, and if one is found, it would be ranked as extremely rare and exceptional.
Where Do Padparadscha Sapphires Come from?
Another reason for Padparadscha Sapphires' rarity is that they exist in limited locations around the world. They mainly come from Sri Lanka but could also be found in Madagascar and Tanzania. The most delicate types of Padparadscha are the ones from Sri Lanka. However, the stones of Madagascar are more pinkish and less orangey, and they cost 20% less than Sri Lanka's Padparadschas. Remember that you have to own at least one Sapphire stone in your jewelry box, and once you buy one, you'll feel the need to get some more!