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The Nature of Sapphires

Sapphire Colors & Sizes

Natural untreated colorless corundum

Pure corundum is colorless, but most corundum contains minute amounts of chemical impurities called trace elementsBlue sapphires are colored by a combination of the trace elements iron and titanium.  Iron and chromium together result in gold or orange sapphires, and when chromium is the only trace element, it makes a sapphire pink or a ruby red.

Different combinations of trace elements are responsible for the extraordinary range of colors in sapphires, which are commonly called fancy sapphires.  This variability is what makes each sapphire unique from all others.  It can be difficult to find sapphire pairs because no two are ever exactly the same.  Rare and unusual sapphires are almost irreplaceable, even if they are only 1 or 2 carats in size.

Unique Sapphire Colors

The many colors of unique untreated sapphires

Sapphires come in all sizes (click to open a stone size PDF in a new window).  They are readily available in small sizes under 1 carat.  Fine quality stones up to 20 carats can be found, but they are exceptionally rare.

Low-grade sapphires can come in sizes up to thousands of carats, but this material has little value as gemstones.


To learn more about a specific sapphire color, please click the links below.

Blue Sapphires

Yellow Sapphires

Pink Sapphires

Padparadscha Sapphires

Unique Sapphires and Rare Colors

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