Sapphire in All Colours of a Rainbow

Colour Spectrum of Sapphires

Sapphires are available in all three basic colours: blue, yellow, red. In addition, they are available in many other colours in all shades from light to dark. Sapphires get their colour from trace elements in the mineral corundum. Classic blue sapphires contain iron and titanium, the additional element chrome gives corundum the colour pink, more chrome makes a sapphire redder and thus a ruby.

 When you think of sapphires, you probably think of a rich blue color, but sapphires actually come in almost every color of the rainbow – including pink, peach, purple, yellow, orange, green, teal or white (colorless) as well as brown, grey and even black.

Special colour combinations such as pink-orange known as Padparadscha sapphire or "colour changing" as well as "bi-color" sapphires are rare but sourceable. 

Sapphire in All Colours of a Rainbow - Colored gemstones
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Variety of Ceylon Sapphire Colours – Colourful and Individual

Besides the finest sapphire qualities, Sri Lanka stands for the greatest variety of sapphire colours. It is a true splendour of colour, if you know which different colour nuances the Ceylon sapphire has. Apart from green and green-blue or teal sapphires, which mostly come from Africa especially Madagascar and Tanzania or Australia, as well as grey, brown and black sapphires, all other colours, especially the rare and precious ones, come from the deposits in Sri Lanka. In the following, we would like to introduce the colour nuances from Sri Lanka and give them a name for classification. 

In the following we would like to introduce the Ceylon Sapphire colour nuances from our refills in the five categories blue, yellow, pink, purple and white and give them a name for classification.

Ceylon Blue Sapphires
Available in pastel blue tones, very light blue "light" often referred to as silver-blue and "medium" tone lovingly named Ceylon-Blue with strong brilliance and a calm water-blue hue. The more saturated and popular “cornflower” blue” in a delicate violetish-blue hue and a velvety even more intense blue "vivid" and the classic “royal” blue, which is nevertheless vibrant with all its magic.

Ceylon yellow sapphires
Range from a "light" pastel to "medium" yellow tones, which can be called canary yellow, derived from diamonds. The even more intense yellow tone "vivid" is a gold-yellow sapphire. With more colour intensity follows a dark yellow tone "yellowish-orange", which combines yellow and orange hues. Even rarer is a pure “orange” sapphire, bright and splendid in its intense colour. 

Ceylon pink sapphires
Occur in an almost infinite number of colour shades, so exact calibration is difficult, also because the human eye sometimes perceives pink fab tones differently. Light pink as a pastel shade called "light", a delicate pink colour "rosé", which resembles a “peach” with a slight yellow shimmer. Stronger in its intensity are “medium” pinks, and with even more saturation there are the very rare "hot pink" sapphires, which are often already called ruby.

 Ceylon purple sapphires
Have approximately the same color gradation as pink sapphires. From a bright "light" to a more intense "medium" to an intense "vivid" shade of violet. The rarest are “deep purple” shades which remind of a lilac or lavender shade. There are also a number of colour combinations of pink and violet "purplish pink" or "pinkish purple", which are also very attractive.  

Ceylon white sapphires
A real alternative to colourless diamonds. Pure “white” sapphires have a different refraction, but can also be very pure and are much cheaper in larger carat numbers. Very attractive are white sapphires with a delicate hue, which we call "champagne". These white sapphires are found in nature with a delicate shade of blueish, yellowish and pinkish tint. They are much rarer, have a special charisma with a unique colour shine. Somewhat special depending on shape and cut and there are few mines in which these are found. We are grateful that we can source "white" and "champagne" coloured sapphires from our mines.

CEYLONS Color Scale

We have developed our own colour scale based on our colour grading for our Ceylon sapphires. This is for our partner goldsmiths and jewellers, who create unique pieces of jewellery according to individual customer requirements. We grind the desired shapes and dimensions from the rough stone of our fine and fair Ceylon Sapphires after consultation. With these colours we concentrate on the colours which are available in the long term in terms of volume. In addition, there are of course special colours and colour combinations which are so rare and precious, which are only available as one of a kind sapphires.

Sapphire in All Colours of a Rainbow - Ceylons gemstone color scale
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Some Scientific Aspects of Sapphires

Characteristics of Sapphires

Hardness (or Mohs Hardness) : 9
RI (Refractive Index) : 1.76 to 1.780 Birefringence from 0.008 to 0.009
SG (Specific Gravity) : 4

Chemical Properties

Chemical formula: Al2O3

Varieties & colour causes:

Leuco-Sapphire  Colourless  -
Ruby  Red  Cr3+
Pink Sapphire  Pink  Cr3+
Sapphire  Blue  Fe2+ /Ti4+
Violet Sapphire  Violet  Cr3+ + Fe2+/Ti4+
Green Sapphire  Green  Fe3+ + Fe2+/Ti4+
Yellow Sapphire  Yellow  Fe3+ or colour centres (Fe-O-Mg/Be)
Orange Sapphire  Orange  Cr3+ + Fe3+
Padparadscha  Pink-Orange  Cr3+ + colour centres (Fe-O-Mg/Be)
Colour-Change Sapphire  Colour-Change Blue-Violet  Cr3+ + Fe3+ + Fe2+/Ti4+
 Brown resp. Black Sapphire  Dark Brown to Black  haematite inclusions

Optical Effects

Asterism (Star effect)  mostly 6-rayed, rarely 12-rayed
Chatoyancy (Cats-eye effect)  -
Colour-change   Daylight:blue to reddish-blue
Colour-change  Artificial light: bluish-red to violet

Size Table of Sapphires

Size guide for buying sapphires – estimating carat weight and dimensions based on shape

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