Fancy a Sapphire?

Updated: Sep 9

When an opportunity for an exciting new project came along I had an idea in mind. I have always like the colour purple and have seen some gorgeous purple sapphires over the years in the gemstone industry. This rare gem can range in colour from a reddish purple to lavender to a rich deep purple. As every natural sapphire can drastically vary in colour, each stone truly is unique and no two sapphires look alike. After considering several options, I decided on this striking beauty.


It is now set in a Rose Gold ring and is available for purchase. Keep reading for more details!


round cut purple sapphire on a peach background next to a dry white flower

As I had several options to choose from I paid close attention to different qualities of each stone, but at the end of the day, it was this vibrant colour that won me over.

Although diamonds are graded on their 4Cs (colour, cut, clarity, carat weight), when selecting coloured gemstones, the rules apply quite differently.


Let’s take a closer look at fancy sapphires and their properties.


Colour


When the word “sapphire” is used alone it refers to blue sapphire. But did you know that sapphires exist in every colour imaginable? Any colour other than blue falls into the “fancy” sapphire category and is called by its colour, eg. purple sapphire, yellow sapphire, green sapphire, etc.



a selection of cushion cut fancy coloured sapphires in rainbow colours on white background


The colour depends on the trace elements present, here are some examples:

  • Yellow and orange sapphires - iron and possibly chromium

Colours range between light yellow or bright lemon, soft peach and vivid orange. Perfect shades for fall!


  • Purple sapphires - iron, titanium and chromium


round cut purple sapphire on a peach background next to a dry white flower rose gold semi mount ring and tweezers

Rose gold is the perfect metal colour to make the purple colour of the centre stone pop. A diamond halo and a touch of diamonds on the shoulders will give extra sparkle to the finished piece.


Although the colour range of purple sapphire overlaps with that of amethyst, purple sapphire is a more durable option, suitable for everyday wear. In case of this particular gem, it is a darker, more violet colour than that of amethyst.


The colour of gemstones is of absolute importance, not only it’s main hue but also any secondary colours as well as the intensity of colour.


Due to its better durability, it is an excellent choice for one-of-a-kind engagement ring, if you are looking to treat yourself or for those born in September. Find out more about your birthstone and its power here!


  • Green sapphires - iron and titanium

round cut green sapphire on white background

Like many gemstones, green sapphires have their own meaning, typically known as the stone of tranquility ranging in colour from light yellowish green to olive and forest green shades.



Exciting news! A green sapphire ring is the next piece that will be joining Tsarina Gems collection and will be available for purchase!


oval cut blue sapphire on white background showing colour zoning

Colour zoning, which show areas of uneven colour in a stone, is a common sapphire characteristic and does not take away from the beauty of the stone, in my opinion. Interestingly, stones that show colour banding have gained popularity in the last few years, especially among customers looking for an interesting new look, along with Parti-sapphires, which show two different colours such as blue and yellow in one stone.


Cut


Although sapphires of all colours are cut into a variety of shapes, the shape of a rough sapphire crystal influences the finished stone’s shape and size. 

blue sapphire long rough crystal next to faceted cushion cut sapphire on white background

As the rough crystal is elongated, sapphires are typically cut into elongated shapes such as oval and elongated cushion to save as much weight as possible. The process of cutting sapphires in round shapes loses the most weight, which is why large round stones are very rare.

The cut can also affect the colour of the gemstone. A well proportioned stone will show off the colour, a shallower stone can look lighter and a deeper stone, darker.




Clarity


oval cut yellowish orange sapphire showing inclusion held in tweezers on a grey background

As most gemstones, sapphires typically have some inclusions. Regardless of their colour, common sapphire inclusions are crystals, needles, fingerprints and colour zoning.


A sapphire can still be considered extremely valuable even if it has noticeable inclusions!






Carat


round purple sapphire held in tweezers under loupe magnification showing stone pavilion

Did you know that gemstone density affects its carat weight?


In this case, the purple sapphire is 5mm in diameter and weights 0.49ct. Depending on the depth of the stone, a sapphire in the 5mm range will typically weigh around half a carat. After examining the stone under magnification using a loupe, I decided that this purple sapphire is well cut and does not hold any extra weight in the pavilion (bottom half of the stone).


Amethyst, for example, is a less dense material, therefore a 5mm amethyst will weigh less than a 5mm purple sapphire.



This is why gemstones are often described by their diameter size rather than the carat weight. When choosing a setting for a ring, keep in mind the millimetre size, for example a ring made to hold a 5mm stone can hold a 5mm purple sapphire or any gemstone that measures approximately 5mm.

Origin


The purple sapphire featured in this ring is from Sri Lanka, which is a major source of blue sapphires, fancy sapphires as well as rubies. No wonder it is known as the “island of gems”. It is also considered the only source of Padparadscha sapphires, these show a unique combination of pinkish orange to orange-pink colour and are named after a lotus flower.

A gorgeous Padparadscha sapphire will be joining Tsarina Gems collection soon, stay tuned!


a world map showing fancy sapphire sources indicated by red crystals

Other sources of fancy sapphires around the globe include Madagascar, Tanzania, Kenya, Thailand, Vietnam and USA. Blue-green sapphires from Montana have become extremely popular in the last couple of years, although they are also mined in other sources around the world.

You can read more about fancy sapphires here.


Treatment


Heat treatment is an industry standard, in fact, almost 99% of sapphires are heat treated to enhance and stabilise the colour, it is a permanent process. Non-treated sapphires are more rare and difficult to find, typically they are also more expensive.

If the gemstone has undergone any treatment, it should always be disclosed.


The purple sapphire I chose for this project has been heat treated and was disclosed as such by the supplier.


As most sapphires undergo heat treatment, do not be surprised if you do not see a mention of it in your appraisal or grading report. Typically, appraisals and grading reports will only state “no treatment detected” in case of unheated stones.

Final result


I am delighted to announce that this exquisite ring featuring a dazzling Purple Sapphire is now ready and available for purchase. The round cut purple sapphire weighing 0.49ct is set in 14K rose gold and is surrounded by thirty two perfectly matched round brilliant cut natural diamonds.


round purple sapphire set in a 14K rose gold ring surrounded by round diamond halo and diamond on shoulders on peach and white background by Tsarina Gems

For your peace of mind, our stunning Purple Sapphire Ring comes with a complementary, third party appraisal.


With a wide variety of colours available, Sapphires are among the most exciting gems to add to your collection.


Please contact Tsarina Gems for further information on this Purple Sapphire rose gold halo ring or any new projects you have in mind.


Check out our Instagram page for more inspiration!