HomeGemThe Colors of Sapphire: A Corundum Rainbow

The Colors of Sapphire: A Corundum Rainbow


For many individuals, the phrase “sapphire” is synonymous with “blue”, however sapphires really are available a mess of different enchanting colors. This may occasionally come as a shock to those that are solely accustomed to the azure number of this gemstone, and a few might surprise the place these different colors of sapphire come from. To know the varied colors of sapphire, one should first perceive the place blue sapphires come from.

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A deep blue sapphire. Picture: Skyjems

Actually, the phrase “sapphire” isn’t the identify of the mineral from which these alluring gems are lower, however is the identify for the gemstone number of corundum: the mineral type of aluminum dioxide (Al2O3). Like many minerals, corundum is white or colourless in its pure type, and slight structural impurities produce the color facilities answerable for the attractive hues seen in sapphires. Within the case of blue sapphires, these impurities include ferrous iron (Fe2+) and titanium (Ti4+), which work together with each other to type sapphire’s well-known blue hue (particularly, the blue outcomes from a cost switch, producing Fe3+ and Ti3+). 

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A white sapphire. Picture: Skyjems

Past this, there are a variety of different components which can be discovered as impurities inside sapphire which can be behind the polychromatic nature of this gemstone. Impurities of ferric iron (Fe3+) might produce a yellow color, and when blended with ferrous iron (Fe2+) may additionally produce a inexperienced color. Small impurities of chromium (Cr3+) could cause a pink color. A combination of chromium (Cr3+) with ferrous iron (Fe2+) and/or titanium (Ti4+) could cause a purple color, however some shades of violet may additionally be brought on by vanadium (V3+). A combination of chromium (Cr3+) and ferric iron (Fe3+) can produce an orange color, however in some circumstances vanadium (V3+) may additionally play a task. As talked about beforehand, corundum gems could also be colourless if no vital impurities are current; this is named “white sapphire”.

Skyjems 2.52 ct Yellow Sapphire Cushion IGI Certified Sri LankanA yellow sapphire. Picture: Skyjems

Skyjems 1.23ct Vivid Pinkish Purple Sapphire Oval IGI Certified
A pinkish purple sapphire. Picture: Skyjems

Uncommon mixtures of impurities may also produce generally recognizable colors in sapphires, or might even change hues relying on the lighting situations beneath which the gemstone is considered. That is the case with colour-change sapphires (through which Cr3+ and/or V3+ is often current); essentially the most beneficial color of sapphire apart from blue is a definite orangish-pink color generally known as “padparadscha”, loosely that means “lotus blossom” in Sinhalese, ensuing from a uniquely proportioned combination of chromium (Cr3+) and ferric iron (Fe3+). 

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An orangy pink padparadscha sapphire. Picture: Skyjems

Skyjems Vivid 'Trade Ideal' Teal Greenish-Blue Sapphire 2.82ct GIA Certified Unheated Montana
A teal greenish blue sapphire. Picture: Skyjems


Additionally it is attainable for the impurities current in a sapphire to vary throughout a number of color zones producing bi-colour, tri-colour, and in some circumstances varicoloured gems; when there’s a clear distinction between these various color zones upon gazing into the gem, this is named “parti colored” sapphire, a time period which derives from the French phrase “partir” that means “to half or separate”.

Skyjems Multi-Coloured Sapphires
Multi-coloured sapphires. Picture: Skyjems

Sapphires may additionally be so closely included that they seem like black, a color not typically seen in faceted sapphires however extra generally encountered in star sapphires, the place the darkish physique color of the stone supplies distinctive distinction behind the gem’s asterism. 


Sapphires primarily are available each color of the rainbow save for a single exception: crimson. Corundum does exhibit a crimson color when the chromium (Cr3+) content material is excessive sufficient, however this number of corundum possesses its personal identify: ruby. Ruby is the one stone separated from the remainder, whereas all different colors of corundum are generally known as sapphire. This distinction has its roots within the practices that have been used to determine gems within the historic world, the place color was initially probably the most vital distinguishing components. Equally, emerald and aquamarine have been considered two distinct stones within the historic world based mostly upon variations in color, however it’s now recognized that they’re merely two forms of the identical mineral which we now name “beryl”.

With so many variations in color, there may be really no restrict to the fantastic thing about sapphires and their versatility in jewelry. If deciding on a gemstone as a memento, let the variegated character of sapphire present ample choices from which to decide on or design that particular treasure.

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