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Sapphire Colors & Varieties

Yellow Sapphires

Bright and cheery, yellow sapphires display intense sparkle in a range of hues and large carat sizes are common.

The Appeal Of Yellow Sapphires

Ceylon yellow asscher cut sapphire
A lovely yellow asscher cut sapphire.

There is nothing quite as cheerful and breathtaking as a stunning yellow sapphire. Their bright, crisp brilliance sparkles endlessly and is growing in popularity alongside pink sapphires. Yellow sapphires are recognized as being the bearers of wisdom and prosperity, and play a major role in Vedic Astrology, which proscribes good luck and good energy as flowing from a yellow sapphire.

With the increased popularity of yellow diamonds and yellow diamond engagement rings, yellow sapphires are the perfect alternative in cost without sacrificing any quality or beauty. Fine, natural yellow sapphires are actually quite rare and are usually clean and very bright with fantastic light reflection in all lighting conditions.

The Standard For Yellow Sapphires

yellow pear shape sapphire
A yellow pear-shaped Madagascar yellow sapphire.

Yellow sapphires can range in color from greenish yellow to orangish-yellow and everything in between.  The preferred yellow sapphire color is a medium, vibrant, canary yellow. These medium bright stones are still less expensive than a comparable blue or pink sapphire. Yellow sapphires are growing in value, they are a safe investment, and quite possibly the greatest “value” you will find in a colored gemstone.

Yellow sapphires are far more valuable if they have not been treated by high temperature heating. Yellow sapphires usually have “ feather ” type inclusions. If a yellow sapphire has been heated at a high temperature these feathers are destroyed and are easily identifiable by a trained gemologist . It is very unusual for natural untreated yellow sapphires to not have any internal feathers, making them so easy to identify.

How Does Cut Affect The Color?

yellow diamond sapphire three stone ring
A beautiful yellow and diamond three-stone sapphire ring.

Yellow sapphires frequently have fewer inclusions than other colors, and they are held to higher clarity standards than blue, pink, or padparadscha sapphires. Yellow sapphire’s relative clarity is quite convenient, since the medium tone at which the color shows best does little to hide inclusions. The feather type inclusions inherent in these stones are relatively easy to cut around so they are not visible to the naked eye.

Yellow sapphire rough has also traditionally been less costly than blue, pink, or padparadscha, so cutters don’t compromise brilliance in favor of weight retention.  As a result, well-cut yellow sapphires are easier to find than other sapphire colors and are more readily available in specialty cuts.

What Is The Availability Of These Gems?

Light yellow stones under 1 carat size are quite common and not very expensive. Fine intense color saturation , even in a 1 carat size is quite difficult to produce on a consistent basis. We recommend looking for a well cut and clean stone that has a medium “Canary” color.

yellow oval sapphire from Ceylon
A yellow oval cushion cut sapphire gemstone.

Yellow sapphires are mined in many of the top sapphire producing regions of the world. As a result, a wide range of colors and sizes of yellow sapphires are available to the consumer. The thing to consider about this availability is whether or not the stones have been treated. Since yellow sapphires are very attractive, the steady demand has only been increasing, making fine quality, untreated yellow sapphires still quite rare.

Where Can They Be Found?

Yellow sapphires have one primary source of fine quality: Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Almost all fine quality yellow sapphires seen today come from Sri Lanka. Other countries such as Australia, Thailand and Burma do produce some yellow sapphires, but, in most cases, with heavy secondary color tones. Madagascar has been producing some fine stones, but in smaller quantities.

yellow cushion sapphire engagement ring
A lovely yellow cushion cut sapphire and diamond engagement ring.

Insider View from the President of The Natural Sapphire Company:

For yellow, there are so many fine fine quality options available.  For whatever geological reasons, the earth has had an easier time making these gemstones; there really isn’t a supply problem like we have with other colors, like padparadscha.  

Untreated yellow sapphire prices aren’t at such a premium for an untreated sapphire. I also see heated yellow sapphires as having a somewhat unreal color reflection; I can spot a heated yellow sapphire immediately just from holding it in my hand.  In my opinion, a treated yellow sapphire has lost some of its power and beauty after coming out of the oven. I just won’t buy one for personal use.

As we continue to reveal sapphire colors, we next enter the world of rare and striking Padparadscha Sapphires.

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