Sapphire engagement rings are becoming increasingly popular. This is due, in part, to the great choice of colours available. Pure corundum is colourless but creates other colours with different trace elements. Blue sapphire is the most common shade made by a combination of iron and titanium traces. Other colours are known as fancy sapphires. The varieties of sapphire are: blue, pink, yellow, padparadscha, unique and rare sapphires.
A blue sapphire is one of the world’s favourite gemstones and has been chosen for royal engagement rings since it is more rare and unique than diamonds. In addition, there are various hues of blue sapphire, from baby blue to a deep royal blue. The more mineral traces of iron and titanium in the corundum, the more saturated the colour. Although there are various shades of blue sapphire, it must have less than15% of any secondary colour, since this would make it a fancy coloured sapphire.
A yellow sapphire is a fancy coloured sapphire and, after blue, is the most popular variety of the gemstone, since it looks very similar to a yellow diamond. The primary source of yellow sapphires is Sri Lanka, but they can also be found in other Eastern countries. Wherever they come from, yellow sapphires range in colour from greenish-yellow to orangish-yellow. The favourite though, is ‘vibrant canary yellow’ which is a deep orange or brownish-yellow (it apparently looks a bit like the colour of whisky). If it is any darker, though, the stone will be sold as a brown sapphire which is usually slightly cheaper.
Yellow sapphires generally have fewer inclusions, higher clarity standards, and are cheaper to cut than the blue, pink, or padparadscha sapphire engagement rings. Because of this, well-cut yellow sapphires are easier to find. If you are thinking of choosing a yellow sapphire, it is worth noting that the most valuable ones are titanium-free, because any trace of titanium adds an undesirable green tinge.
A pink sapphire is a rare gemstone but a popular choice for sapphire engagement rings. It is produced when there are traces of chromium in corundum. It is uncommon since very high chromium concentration actually creates a ruby instead of a pink sapphire. Pink sapphires with a purplish hue have a trace of titanium in them. The colour of pink sapphires ranges from baby pink to a bright intense pink. The problem with pink sapphires is that most of them have been heat treated, although some untreated alternatives are available on the market.
Padparadscha sapphires are unknown to a lot of people but are treasures to sapphire connoisseurs. The term ‘padparadscha’ comes from the Singhalese word for an aquatic lotus blossom, which has an unusual salmon color. Most padparadscha sapphires are salmon-pink, but some range from pink to orange and yellow. The clarity of padparadscha sapphires scores less than other varieties, because there are usually more inclusions present. But the stones are so rare that people can overlook these.
Rare and unique
Rare and unique sapphires are lime green, magenta, orange, brown, cognac, violet and all colors in between. These colours are not so common for sapphire engagement rings but are bought by collectors who purchase them because they are individual and unique.