Sapphire color

Sapphire color? Sapphire occur in colors, including gray and black, and they can be colorless. A pinkish orange variety of sapphire is called padparadscha. It is one of the two gem-varieties of corundum, the other being ruby (defined as corundum in a shade of red). Although blue is the best-known sapphire color.

What is sapphire?

Sapphire is a precious gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum, consisting of aluminium oxide (α-Al2O3) with trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, vanadium, or magnesium.

It is typically blue, but natural “fancy” sapphires also occur in yellow, purple, orange, and green colors; “parti sapphires” show two or more colors. Red corundum stones also occur but are called rubies not sapphires Pink colored corundum may be classified either as ruby or sapphire depending on locale.

Commonly, natural sapphires are cut and polished into gemstones and worn in jewelry. They also may be created synthetically in laboratories for industrial or decorative purposes in large crystal boules. Because of the remarkable hardness of sapphires – 9 on the Mohs scale (the third hardest mineral, after diamond at 10 and moissanite at 9.5) – sapphires are also used in some non-ornamental applications, such as infrared optical components, high-durability windows, wristwatch crystals and movement bearings, and very thin electronic wafers, which are used as the insulating substrates of special-purpose solid-state electronics such as integrated circuits and GaN-based blue LEDs. Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the gem of the 45th anniversary. A sapphire jubilee occurs after 65 years.


Sapphires have a wealth of historical meaning, which is part of what makes them so cherished. Throughout time, the sapphire has been known as a prized and valuable gemstone, with their deep blue allure reaching out to many people in history.

The word itself is generally accepted to be derived from the Latin and Greek terms for “blue”, though some believe it comes from the Sanskrit word for Saturn. In fact, in many languages the term sapphire can be loosely translated to mean “dear to Saturn”.

The word sapphire may also come from the Hebrew “sapir,” as it is understood in the Hebrew Bible to refer to blue sapphires.

What Does Sapphire Mean in the Bible?

Sapphires appear frequently in the Bible. The stone is mentioned in many chapters, representing something beautiful or precious, with significant value. Most notably, a legend holds that the tablets of the Ten Commandments were made of sapphire and were so strong that they could withstand a hammer’s swing but would smash the hammer to pieces if struck.

Lab-Created Sapphires

While natural sapphires take thousands of years to properly form, scientists have been able to hack the process to create man-made sapphires in much less time.

Lab-created sapphires come from synthetic forms of corundum, used to make synthetic sapphires, and rubies (the other precious gem made from corundum). Since both natural and synthetic sapphires come from the same mineral, lab-created gems are essentially the same as their natural counterpart, with the same visual qualities and hardness. Lab-created sapphires are less expensive, however, due to the reduced rarity and faster creation process.

The easiest way to tell between a natural and lab-created sapphire is the flawlessness. Natural sapphires will have small inclusions or flaws throughout the stone if you look closely. However, lab-created gems are designed without any of nature’s unpredictability and are therefore clean and flawless.

Despite lab-created stones containing no visual flaws, natural sapphires are more sought-after, and thus more expensive (especially rare or high-quality natural sapphires, such as Kashmir sapphires).

What Does a Sapphire Look Like?

When many people think of a sapphire, they think of a gem with a seductive deep-blue color. While blue sapphires are most popular, they can actually come in a range of colors. Along with blue sapphires, you can also find them in pink, purple, yellow, green, white and more.

As a naturally-formed gemstone, sapphires almost always have slight flaws and inclusions. This isn’t a drawback — it actually proves that a sapphire is genuine and makes it unique. If a sapphire appears flawless, it’s most likely a lab-created sapphire.

What color sapphire is the most expensive?

In terms of color, pure blue sapphires are the most highly prized, and therefore tend to be the most expensive. This is one of the qualities of the Kashmir sapphire, said to be like “blue velvet” in their appearance.


Sapphire is generally known as a blue gemstone but surprisingly it comes in a wide range of colors and quality variations. In general, the more intense and uniform the color is, the more valuable the stone.

Sapphires that are not blue are known as fancy sapphires, and may be any color—except red (which is a ruby). The fancy sapphire colors are: pink, orange, yellow, green, purple, and violet. There truly is a different color of sapphire to suit anyone’s taste!

Blue Sapphires

Color has the greatest influence on a sapphire’s value, and preferred sapphires have strong to vivid color saturation. The most valued blue sapphires are velvety blue to violate blue, in medium to medium-dark tones. Sapphires with these qualities command the highest prices per carat. Less valuable blue sapphires might also be grayish, too light, or too dark. Blue is the most popular and well known color in sapphires. It is a constant favorite for sapphire engagement rings, earrings, and pendant necklaces.

Pink Sapphires

Pink sapphires have been growing in popularity for years and are especially on trend to fill many sapphire engagement rings in 2020.

Purple sapphires always have purple as the dominant color. They range from medium to dark reddish purple to violate purple with weak to vivid color saturation. The major fancy sapphire color categories are padparadscha, pink and purple, orange and yellow, green, and colorless and black. Each category has its own color range, causes of color, and market.

Yellow Sapphires

Still considered one of the most popular gemstone colors, yellow sapphire engagement rings have been growing in popularity since the early 2000s.

Yellow sapphires may be affected by other colors within the same gem and can range from light to dark greenish yellow to orange yellow with weak to intense color saturation. The finest yellow sapphire is yellow to orange yellow with vivid saturation.

Orange sapphires range from yellowish orange to reddish orange. The finest orange sapphires are strong, pure orange to red-orange with medium tone and vivid saturation.

Padparadscha Sapphires

An extremely rare and collectible variety that is a mix of pink and orange is known in the trade as padparadscha. Such gems typically have a high value—much higher than many other types of fancy sapphires. Their color can be hard to describe. Some people say padparadscha sapphire colors should be called salmon or sunset. But the word padparadscha itself derives from the Sanskrit language and refers to the rich color of a lotus blossom.

Those who deal in these gemstones usually agree that padparadscha sapphires should range from light to medium pinkish orange to orange-pink. Padparadscha is one of the rarest sapphire hues and has been seen on the hands of some very famous women as incredible engagement rings.

White Sapphires

White sapphires have become something of a phenomenon over the last few years, and they are set to be even more widely coveted in 2020.

Green Sapphires

Commercial-grade sapphires may contain a less desirable greenish blue color or strong greenish blue that is visible as you view the gem. Uniformly green sapphires that are saturated in color are actually rare and many collectors prize them. In green sapphires, a mix of yellow and blue sapphire accounts for the color a person sees.

Star Sapphires

Star sapphires and star rubies belong to the phenomenal corundum category. The star effect is called asterism. It’s caused by reflections from tiny, needle-like inclusions that are oriented in several specific directions. Stars are usually made up of 2, 3, or 6 intersecting bands, resulting in 4, 6, or (rarely) 12 rays.

Star sapphires usually have stars have 6 rays, and 12-rayed stars are quite rare. Two different sets of inclusions—one of rutile and one of hematite—oriented in slightly different directions can cause a 12-rayed star.

Hematite inclusions cause asterism in black star sapphires. The sapphire’s color is actually yellow, green, or blue, but the inclusions make it appear dark brown or black.

The finest star is distinct, centered on the top of the stone, and visible from a reasonable distance, about arm’s length. The star’s quality should be the same when viewed from all directions.

Ideally, the rays should be uniform in strength, reach from girdle to girdle on the cabochon, and intersect at the top center of the stone. The best stars are straight, not fuzzy, wavy, or broken. The reflective stars should contrast strongly against the gemstone’s bodycolor. The star should also have elegant “movement.” This means that, as you rock the stone, the star should appear to move smoothly across the surface.

The best and most expensive star corundum is semi-transparent, with just enough silk to create a well-defined star. Too much silk can harm transparency and also lead to poor color, lowering the value of the stone considerably.

Cabochon Sapphires

Using the oldest way of cutting crystals, cabochon crystals exhibit a raw beauty and a truly timeless appeal in any color. Learn how these stones have a classic and timeless feel in any piece of jewelry and what colors are common.

Crystal Sapphires

Exactly as they come out of the ground, sapphire crystals maintain all of their natural beauty, elements of earthy minerals, and as many believe, they carry special energies for healing and spiritual soothing.

Rubies Are Sapphires?

Rubies and sapphires are related, both coming from the mineral species corundum. Discover how rubies differ and learn exactly what the standards are for these red beauties to find a special and high-quality stone.

Meaning of different colors of sapphire:

Black Sapphire brings the wisdom of confidence in one’s own intuition. It is protective and grounding, relieves anxiety and sorrow, and is a talisman for seeking and maintaining employment
Green Sapphire brings the wisdom of fidelity and integrity. It encourages compassion for others, stimulates vision, and improves dream recall
Orange or Padparadsha Sapphire brings the wisdom of loving creation from the heart to the world. It unites one’s creativity, sensuality and spirituality, and is a talisman of artists, writers and singers.
Pink Sapphire brings the wisdom of resilience. It stimulates emotions and encourages love, forgiveness, and release of the past. It honors acceptance and strength of heart.
Violet Sapphire brings the wisdom of spiritual awakening. It stimulates meditation, opens the Crown Chakra and allows the kundalini to rise unimpeded. It initiates oneness and peace
White Sapphire brings wisdom and strength of spirit, providing the inner resolve needed in overcoming difficult obstacles to one’s spiritual path. It brings clarity to the mind, and communication with higher guidance
Yellow Sapphire brings wisdom and prosperity. It not only assists in bringing financial abundance, but stimulates the inner will through the solar plexus to creatively focus and manifest one’s goals and ambitions

Color Changing Sapphires

Color-change sapphires are corundum’s chameleons—stones that change color under different lighting. Under daylight equivalent (fluorescent or LED daylight-balanced) light, the typical color-change sapphire’s basic color ranges from blue to violet. Under incandescent light, it ranges from violet purple to strongly reddish purple. Some rare color-change sapphires change from green in daylight to reddish brown in incandescent light.

When gem experts judge color-change sapphires, they describe the color change as weak, moderate, or strong. The strength of the stone’s color change is the most important quality factor affecting its value.

The color of star corundum has a great effect on its value, though it is understood that miniscule inclusions are the cause of the asterism. They can affect transparency and color, and only very rare, exceptional gems exhibit transparency, depth of color and asterism. As such, the best star corundum has a crisp, distinct star against strongly saturated color. If the color is too light, it doesn’t provide enough contrast for the star’s rays, and the star will be less visible.

Star corundum can be red, pink, blue, black, gray, brown, purple, or yellow—practically every color under the sun. The term “star sapphire” encompasses all colors of star corundum except red, which is called star ruby.

Naturally, some colors of star corundum are valued more highly than others. In general, the most prized colors are the same as the colors most valued in non-phenomenal corundum: red and blue.

Trade terms based on sources can represent certain colors and qualities that are associated with a stone’s source, generally they refer to the finest stones from that source. But a single source never consistently yields gems that are all the same color and quality. In fact, the descriptive term might represent only a small percentage of its production.

New sources can produce material that is very similar to gems from classical sources or with a slightly different, but just as beautiful, appearance.


Blue sapphires typically have some inclusions, but they generally have better clarity than rubies. Blue sapphires with extremely high clarity are rare, and very valuable.

Several types of inclusions are found in sapphires. Among these are long thin mineral inclusions called needles. Fine needles are called silk when they occur as the mineral rutile in intersecting groups. Other clarity characteristics in sapphire are included mineral crystals, partially healed breaks that look like fingerprints, color zoning, and color banding.

Generally, inclusions make a stone less valuable. Price can drop substantially if the inclusions threaten the stone’s durability. Even so, inclusions can actually increase the value of some sapphires. Many of the most valuable Kashmir sapphires contain tiny inclusions that give them a velvety appearance. They scatter light, causing the coveted visual effect without negatively affecting the gem’s transparency.


The shape of a rough sapphire crystal influences the finished stone’s shape and size. Rough sapphire’s most common crystal form is a barrel- or spindle-shaped hexagonal pyramid. To achieve the best overall color, maintain the best proportions, and retain the most weight possible, cutters focus on factors like color zoning, pleochroism, and the lightness or darkness of a crystal to best determine how to orient the gem during cutting.

Color zoning—areas of different colors in a stone—is a common sapphire characteristic. Blue sapphire often has angular zones of blue and lighter blue. To accommodate color zoning in some sapphires, cutters orient the concentrated color in a location that offers the best visible color in the cut stone.

In Sri Lankan sapphires, the color is often concentrated close to the surface of the crystal. If a cutter can orient the culet within the concentrated area of color, the stone will appear entirely blue in the face-up position.

Pleochroism refers to different body colors in different crystal viewing directions. Blue sapphires often have greenish blue and violet blue pleochroism. It’s most desirable to orient the cut so the stone shows the violet blue color when it is set in jewelry.

Star Sapphire Cut

Star corundum must be cut as a cabochon to display asterism. A finished stone’s attractiveness depends on the star’s orientation and the cabochon’s symmetry, proportions, and finish.

The cabochon must have an appealing appearance, with the star properly centered when the gem rests on its base. The stone’s outline should be symmetrical.

For most stones, the dome should be fairly high—about two-thirds of the stone’s width—to focus the star sharply. If it’s too high, the phenomenon loses its graceful motion when the stone is tilted. Excessive height also makes the stone difficult to mount.

If the dome is cut too shallow, the star will be visible only from directly above. Black star sapphires, however, are prone to parallel breaks, so they’re usually cut very flat to reduce the risk of damage.

A stone should not have excess weight below the girdle that doesn’t contribute to the optical effect or reinforce color.


Blue sapphires can range in size anywhere from a few points to hundreds of carats, and large blue sapphires are more readily available than large rubies. However, most commercial-quality blue sapphires weigh less than 5.00 carats.

Large commercial-quality blue sapphires are rare, but more available than large fine-quality ones. As a result, size makes more of a difference in the price of fine-quality sapphire.

When buying sapphires?

  1. Focus on color. The color is the main attraction of a sapphire. Cut and clarity can take a backseat, as long as you ensure the gem has an attention-grabbing color. Look at the hue and saturation closely before deciding.

  2. Check the treatment. Sapphire treatment is something that will affect the price and quality of your gem. It’s most common to find heat treated sapphires. Untreated sapphires command the highest price, while cheaper sapphires may be Beryllium treated or surface diffused. Don’t get caught paying a high price for a heavily treated sapphire.

  3. Look at different colors. The classic blue sapphire is the most popular, but other variants, such as pink or yellow sapphires, can make for beautiful, unique pieces of jewelry.

  4. Don’t be afraid of inclusions. While slight flaws in the gem might be cause for concern with a diamond, these are natural for sapphires. Don’t look for a flawless sapphire, as this is likely to be lab-created, and less valuable than a natural one.


Sapphire prices can range greatly, depending on many factors. Sapphires can come as cheap as $25 per carat, to over $11,000 per carat. A blue sapphire around 1 carat is likely to cost from as little as $450 to $1,600, depending on quality.

Cause of color

Rubies are corundum with a dominant red body color. This is generally caused by traces of chromium (Cr3+) substituting for the (Al3+) ion in the corundum structure. The color can be modified by both iron and trapped whole color centers.

Unlike localized (“intra-atomic”) absorption of light which causes color for chromium and vanadium impurities, blue color in sapphires comes from intervalence charge transfer, which is the transfer of an electron from one transition-metal ion to another via the conduction or valence band.

The iron can take the form Fe2+ or Fe3+, while titanium generally takes the form Ti4+. If Fe2+ and Ti4+ ions are substituted for Al3+, localized areas of charge imbalance are created. An electron transfer from Fe2+ and Ti4+ can cause a change in the valence state of both. Because of the valence change there is a specific change in energy for the electron, and electromagnetic energy is absorbed. The wavelength of the energy absorbed corresponds to yellow light. When this light is subtracted from incident white light, the complementary color blue results. Sometimes when atomic spacing is different in different directions there is resulting blue-green dichroism.

Purple sapphires contain trace amounts of chromium and iron plus titanium and come in a variety of shades. Corundum that contains extremely low levels of chromophores is near colorless. Completely colorless corundum generally does not exist in nature. If trace amounts of iron are present, a very pale yellow to green color may be seen. However, if both titanium and iron impurities are present together, and in the correct valence states, the result is a blue color.

Intervalence charge transfer is a process that produces a strong colored appearance at a low percentage of impurity. While at least 1% chromium must be present in corundum before the deep red ruby color is seen, sapphire blue is apparent with the presence of only 0.01% of titanium and iron.


While diamonds are the go-to stone for engagement rings and fine jewelry, the sapphire is growing in popularity. The color of a sapphire offers an interesting alternative to the classic, clear diamond. You can also save quite a significant amount by purchasing a sapphire rather than a diamond.

Sapphire necklaces and pendants are very popular, and sapphire engagement rings are coming up more often as well. A common setting for sapphire jewelry is a halo or pave setting. The deep blue sapphire in the middle of the piece is beautifully complemented by a ring of diamonds surrounding it. See this sapphire and diamond double halo pendant and this sapphire and diamond three stone engagement ring which is another great example of style that goes well with the sapphire/diamond combination.

Head to head, diamonds are higher quality gems. While sapphires are hard and durable, they aren’t as hard as diamonds. Because of this, a piece of diamond jewelry will be more resistant to scratches and less likely to wear down or become damaged.

Another pro for diamonds is how they refract light, resulting in the stunning brilliance diamonds are known for. A high-quality diamond will have a clear, brilliant sparkle all the time, while most sapphires won’t quite be so radiant. This is especially noticeable with white sapphires, which at first glance look just like diamonds, but don’t shine quite the same.

This is reflected in the price, so if you want a beautiful piece of jewelry for less, a sapphire can make a great alternative. A beautifully colored sapphire can catch attention as well as a diamond.

Sapphire vs. Diamond Price

Carat for carat, sapphires are almost always cheaper than diamonds. As an example, here is a 1.05 carat blue sapphire which costs $700. In comparison, a 1 carat diamond costs over $4,000. Even sapphires on the high end price-wise won’t match a diamond’s price, such as this 1.13 carat blue sapphire for $2,610.

Frequently Asked Questions

1- What is the best color for a sapphire?

The best color for a natural blue sapphire is an intense, velvety, deep royal blue. This color of sapphire would be considered AAA quality, the rarest and most valuable. The second best color is a medium rich blue, or AA quality. Any blue sapphires that have a slight gray undertone fit into the A category.

2- What is the rarest color of sapphire?

This is a collectors dream! This Padparadscha is deep intense orange. Most of them are deep orange with highlights of intense pink.

3-How many colors of sapphire are there?

Sapphires exist as blue, pink, green, yellow, orange, purple, colourless and black gems.

4-What does the color sapphire mean?

The magnificent and holy Sapphire, in all its celestial hues, is a stone of wisdom and royalty, of prophecy and Divine favor. It was a symbol of power and strength, but also of kindness and wise judgment.

5-What color of sapphire is most expensive?

In terms of color, pure blue sapphires are the most highly prized, and therefore tend to be the most expensive. This is one of the qualities of the Kashmir sapphire, said to be like “blue velvet” in their appearance.

6- Are dark blue sapphires valuable?

Color has the greatest influence on a sapphire’s value, and preferred sapphires have strong to vivid color saturation. The most valued blue sapphires are velvety blue to violetish blue, in medium to medium-dark tones. Sapphires with these qualities command the highest prices per carat.

7- Why does my blue sapphire ring look black?

Sapphires that look so dark blue that they appear black are cheap and low grade. Steer away from these stones.

8- Who can wear blue sapphire?

Individuals for whom Saturn is placed in the 2nd, 7th, 10th, and 11th house can try and wear this gemstone. 2. A Taurus ascendant in whose charts Saturn is placed in the 1st, 2nd, 5th, 9th, 10th, or 11th house can wear the Neelam stone with confidence.

9- Are purple sapphires rare?

These sapphires appear more blue than pink, they range from medium purple, to dark reddish purple, to violet purple with weak to vivid color saturation. The color is certainly rare, we include them, fittingly with our Unique Sapphires.

10- How do I recharge my blue sapphire?

Step 1: Take some holy water in a bowl and add some rock salt or black salt into it.

Step 2: Dip the blue sapphire ring in it and place it in your temple overnight.

Step 3: Next Morning, take the ring out, wash it and wear the blue sapphire ring.


Sapphire occur in colors, including gray and black, and they can be colorless. A pinkish orange variety of sapphire is called padparadscha. It is one of the two gem-varieties of corundum, the other being ruby (defined as corundum in a shade of red). Although blue is the best-known sapphire color. Commonly, natural sapphires are cut and polished into gemstones and worn in jewelry. They also may be created synthetically in laboratories for industrial or decorative purposes in large crystal boules.

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