Rare Sapphire Colors – Composition, Color Range and Other Important Information
Sapphires are one of the most expensive and rarest gemstones in the world. But certain colors of sapphires are even rarer and can attract very high prices. The full range of sapphire colors were discussed in an earlier post which you can find here, and in this article, I will discuss specifically about the rare sapphire colors.
There are certain rare colors such as brown in sapphires which are not very valuable. Such colors will not be discussed in this article and I will only focus on the rare and valuable sapphires.
Color is not the only factor which will make a sapphire rare. The carat weight, clarity and cut can also make a sapphire rare and valuable. All these factors which affects the value and rarity of a sapphire were also discussed in this article here.
Certain popular sapphire colors such as royal blue or cornflower blue are not considered rare but sapphires over 15 carats can be considered rare regardless of its color.
But this article is dedicated specifically to introduce some rare color tones and color mixes of natural sapphires.
Rare Sapphire Colors
Following is the list of rare sapphire colors which will be introduced in this post.
- Padparadscha Sapphire
- Peach Sapphire
- Color Change Sapphire
- Montana Sapphire (Yogo Sapphire)
- Green Sapphire
- Bi-Color Sapphire
I will discuss the details of each, one by one.
Padparadscha sapphire is probably the most valued rare sapphire. Its unique and rare color is the reason for the high price tag of this sapphire. The name Padparadscha derives from the Sinhalese word (Main language in Sri Lanka) for the Lotus flower as the best color Padparadscha resembles the color of this flower.
But, there is a range of colors which falls into the category of “Padparadscha”. The sapphire to be categorized as a “Padparadscha”, it should have mix of pink and orange colors. This can be a mix of light pink – orange tone to medium pink-orange tone.
When the stone is pure pink, it becomes a pink sapphire and when it is pure orange, it is an orange sapphire.
Padparadscha stone gets its color from both iron and chromium as trace elements. The pink color is from chromium and the orange color is from iron. The rare mix of these trace elements during the formation process gives the unique color.
For many gemstones, the price will increase with the saturation of the color. But for Padparadscha sapphire, a medium saturation mostly preferred as this is a stone popular for its remarkable soft tone.
Sri Lanka was the only producer of Padparadscha sapphire for a while, but the same color sapphires have reached the market from some African countries like Tanzania and Madagascar. Some gemologists are still in the opinion that the real Padparadscha sapphire comes only from Sri Lanka.
A term coined relatively recently, Peach sapphire refers to lighter colors of Padparadscha. The stone consist of a light pink and light orange mix which cannot be categorized as Padparadscha. The color can range from a stronger orange to a stronger pink. This can be a more economical option to Padparadscha and some will even prefer peach sapphires over Padparadscha depending on their personal choice.
The coloring agents for this sapphire are the same as for Padparadscha – chromium and iron.
Not many would have heard about or seen these sapphires. This color changing effect can be seen in some purple sapphires.
Purple sapphire gets it color from either vanadium as the trace element or in the presence of chromium, iron and titanium. When the coloring agent is vanadium, the color change will be comparatively strong. If there are uniform amounts of vanadium throughout the stone, color change will also be visible uniformly. If there are only patches of vanadium, color change will only be visible in those areas.
Purple sapphires with chromium, iron and titanium can sometimes demonstrate color changing effect but it is usually less strong.
These sapphires were found in 1894 in the Montana region in USA and it is still the only source of this sapphire. It is a stone which has gained in popularity recently. These sapphires get their color from iron and titanium as trace elements.
Although similar color sapphire maybe found from other parts of the world, Montana or Yogo sapphires specifically refers to sapphires found in from this region.
Green sapphires with a uniform and saturated color is a rare sapphire and it is considered as a collector’s stone. Green sapphire get its green color from the presence of iron as the only trace element.
Bi-color sapphires have two colors and demonstrate color zoning (two colors can be seen separately). The bi-color sapphires are a result of how the trace elements are mixed during the formation process of gemstones.
Natural corundum (Al2O3), the main mineral of sapphire is a colorless material. During the formation, if iron and titanium starts to get mixed with Al2O3 after the formation of one part, the stone will have two colors. The first formed section without trace elements will be colorless and the next section will be blue.
Similarly, if chromium acts as the trace element in formation of corundum initially and iron and titanium get mixed after a certain period, the final stone can become a mix of red and blue.
Green-yellow is another color mix found in bi-color sapphires.
Depending on the mix of colors and the color zoning pattern, these bi-color sapphires can be very rare and collectors will have a high interest in such stones.
Sapphire is a very famous gemstone for jewelry and there are many who loves to collect sapphires as well. Rare sapphires can be a great choice to make a unique piece of jewelry as well as a valuable addition to a sapphire collection. Hence, the objective of this article was to introduce a list of rare sapphire colors.
I hope you found it useful and it will be great if you can leave your thoughts down here. Please also feel free to let me know any questions you may have.