Gemstone Color Chart

The standard way to organize gemstones is by gem species (corundum, beryl, quartz, etc.) and variety (ruby, sapphire, topaz, spinel, etc.).
 
But for gemstone and jewelry collectors it is sometimes useful to organize gems by color. It provides a different overview of the gemstone world, and can be a timely reminder of the rarity of certain colors, such as red and blue.

Since there is enormous variation in color across the many gem varieties, we have organized this chart around color families. We have also included sections for multicolor, color change and star/cat's eye gems.

 

Red Gems

Red is one of the rarest colors in the gems world, and a pure red, such as the famed pigeon's blood ruby, is exceptionally rare. Most red gems are orangey-red (spinel), pink-red (spinel, garnet) or purplish-red (rubellite tourmaline). 

Burma Ruby Red Spinel Rhodolite Garnet
Burma
Ruby
Red
Spinel
Rhodolite
Garnet

Rubellite Tourmaline Rhodonite Red Zircon
Rubellite
Tourmaline
Rhodonite Red
Zircon

Cuprite
Cuprite

 

Blue Gems

Though blue is a more common gem color than red, very few gems occur in a pure saturated blue. Sapphire is really the only example, though tanzanite sometimes comes close. Other blue gems tend to be a grayish-blue (spinel, benitoite), greenish-blue (blue zircon, apatite, tourmaline, gem silica) or a pastel blue (aquamarine, topaz).

Blue Sapphire Tanzanite Blue Spinel
Blue Sapphire Tanzanite Blue Spinel

Aquamarine Blue Zircon Blue Apatite
Aquamarine Blue
Zircon
Blue
Apatite

Color Change Fluorite Benitoite Blue Topaz
Color Change
Fluorite
Benitoite Blue Topaz

Paraiba Tourmaline Gem Silica Blue Tourmaline
Paraiba
Tourmaline
Gem
Silica
Blue
Tourmaline

Natural Iolite
Iolite


Green Gems

Green presents the most choices in the gems world, but many of the finest green gems, such as emerald, jadeite, tsavorite garnet and demantoid garnet, are quite rare. Green hues are mainly due to traces of chromium and vanadium or iron.

Emerald Tsavorite Garnet Chrome Tourmaline
Emerald Tsavorite
Garnet
Chrome 
Tourmaline

Demantoid Garnet Chrome Diopside Peridot
Demantoid
Garnet
Chrome
Diopside
Peridot

Sphene Idocrase Prehnite
Sphene Idocrase Prehnite

Green Tourmaline Jadeite Jade Green Sapphire
Green
Tourmaline
Jadeite Jade Green
Sapphire

Mali Garnet Chrysoberyl Actinolite Cat's Eye
Mali Garnet Chrysoberyl Actinolite
Cat's Eye

Chrysoprase Chrome Chalcedony Amblygonite
Chyrsoprase Chrome
Chalcedony
Amblygonite

Green Quartz Green Fluorite Natural Oligoclase
Green Quartz Green Fluorite
Oligoclase

Apatite Natural Williamsite
Apatite Williamsite

 

Pink Gems

The finest pink gems are sapphire, spinel and tourmaline, with tourmaline exhibiting the widest range of pink hues. Kunzite and morganite are popular because they are relatively inexpensive and can be found in large sizes.

Pink Sapphire Pink Spinel Pink Tourmaline
Pink Sapphire Pink Spinel Pink 
Tourmaline

Kunzite Morganite Pezzottaite
Kunzite Morganite Pezzottaite

Padparadscha Sapphire Rhodochrosite
Padparadscha
Sapphire
Rhodochrosite

 

Yellow/Gold/Bronze Gems

The most valuable yellow or gold gems are sapphire and imperial topaz. Citrine and yellow beryl are quite attractive, but relatively common. Yellow tourmaline is rare.

Yellow Sapphire Yellow Beryl Yellow Tourmaline
Yellow
Sapphire
Yellow Beryl Yellow
Tourmaline

Honey Zircon Citrine Yellow Fluorite
Honey
Zircon
Citrine Yellow
Fluorite

Scapolite Sphene Imperial Topaz
Scapolite Sphene Imperial
Topaz

Natural Kornerupine
Kornerupine

 

Orange Gems

Spessartite garnet is considered the finest of the vivid orange gems, but a number of other gems can be found in shades of orange, including sapphire, spinel, tourmaline and mexican fire opal.

Orange Sapphire Spessartite Garnet Orange Tourmaline
Orange
Sapphire
Spessartite
Garnet
Orange
Tourmaline

Imperial Topaz Citrine Orange Spinel
Imperial
Topaz
Citrine Orange
Spinel

Mexican Opal Sphalerite Padparadscha Sapphire
Mexican Opal Sphalerite Padparadscha
Sapphire

Rhodochrosite
Rhodochrosite

 

 

Violet/Purple Gems

There are relatively few violet or purple gems. Amethyst is the most famous and by far the most popular for jewelry. Sapphire and spinel can sometimes be found in violet, while chalcedony typically occurs in a greyish-lilac color.

Amethyst Purple Fluorite Chalcedony
Amethyst Purple
Fluorite
Chalcedony

Scapolite Violet Sapphire Purple Spinel
Scapolite Violet Sapphire Purple
Spinel

Jeremejevite Natural Iolite
Jeremejevite Iolite

 

White/Colorless Gems

Diamond is the hardest and most valuable of the colorless gems, but a number of other gems have been popular over the years as alternatives, particularly white sapphire, white zircon, goshenite (white beryl), petalite and danburite.

Diamond White Sapphire White Zircon
Diamond White Sapphire White Zircon

Danburite White Tourmaline Moonstone
Danburite White
Tourmaline
Moonstone

Goshenite Beryl Petalite
Goshenite
Beryl
Petalite

 

Multicolor Gems

Some unusual gems displays regions of different color, notably the bi-color and tri-color tourmalines and the purple/gold quartz known as ametrine. Opal is famous for its play of color.

Bi-Color Tourmaline Ametrine Opal
Bi-Color
Tourmaline
Ametrine Precious
Opal

Multicolor Fluorite
Multicolor
Fluorite

 

Color Change Gems

Some rare gems change color under varying lighting conditions. Alexandrite is the most famous example of a color change gem, displaying green or brown under daylight and a purplish-red under incandescent light. 

Color Change Alexandrite Color Change Sapphire Color Change Garnet
Color-Change
Alexandrite
Color-Change
Sapphire
Color-Change
Garnet

Color-Change Diaspore Color Change Fluorite
Color-Change
Diaspore
Color-Change
Fluorite

 

Star and Cat's Eye Gems

The phenomena of asterism (the star effect) and chatoyancy (the cat's eye effect) have been known for centures, and these rare gems are coveted by collectors. Star sapphires and star rubies are the best known gems that can display a star, while cat's eye chrysoberyl is the most famous cat's eye gem.

Star Sapphire Black Star Sapphire Star Ruby
Blue
Star Sapphire
Black
Star Sapphire
Star Ruby

Cat's Eye Chrysoberyl Cat's Eye Apatite Actinolite Cat's Eye
Cat's Eye
Chrysoberyl
Cat's Eye
Apatite
Actinolite
Cat's Eye

Pezzottaite Cat's Eye Cat's Eye Tourmaline Cat's Eye Opal
Pezzottaite
Cat's Eye
Cat's Eye
Tourmaline
Cat's Eye
Opal

 

 
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