September 2017 Newsletter: The World of Blue Gemstones


The color blue has many rich cultural associations. Blue is the color of the sky and the sea. It is often associated with depth and stability. Blue has symbolized trust, loyalty, wisdom, confidence, intelligence, faith, truth, and heaven.

A light blue color is associated with health, healing, tranquility, understanding and softness. Dark blue represents knowledge, power, integrity, and seriousness.

In the gemstone world, a pure saturated blue is one of the rarest and most treasured of all colors.

Though there are a number of gem varieties found in blue, really only sapphire is found in a pure saturated blue. It is fair to say that blue sapphire is the finest of all blue gemstones, combining excellent color saturation with superior hardness (9 on the Mohs scale) and luster.

Blue Star Sapphire Tanzanite Ring Rare Benitoite from California

Especially fine examples of tanzanite can rival top blue sapphire for color. But even the finest Tanzanite tends to have a tinge of violet. Since Tanzanite is a much softer gem than sapphire, with a hardness rating of 6.5, it is significantly less expensive.

Most blue gemstones occur in lighter shades of blue, such as the sea blue of aquamarine. Deeper blues may be found in zircon, spinel and tourmaline, but the color is rarely pure. Some commercial-grade blue gems, such as blue topaz, have been treated with radiation to produce the blue color.

A number of blue gems occur in a turquoise or greenish-blue hue. These include the very rare paraiba tourmaline, the rare quartz known as gem silica, and the vivid (but soft) blue apatite. Other gems that occur in blue include iolite, fluorite and kyanite.

Benitoite is the rarest of all the blue gems, with a color that can rivial sapphire. Thus far gem quality material, in small sizes only, has only been found in San Benito, California.



Notable Gems from the AJS Collection

This month we feature fine blue gemstones from our collection, including sapphire, tanzanite, aquamarine, tanzanite, apatite and gem silica.

Click on a photo to see the details for the item.

5.35 ct Blue Sapphire, Madagascar
5.35 ct Royal Blue Sapphire from Madagascar
This 5.35 ct Sapphire pear displays one of the purest saturated blues we have seen. The color is a vivid royal blue with excellent luster and brilliance. A certificate From GemResearch Swisslab (GRS) stating the color as vivid blue (GRS type "royal blue") is included with the purchase of this rare gemstone. This gorgeous gem will make a stunning ring or pendant.

8.50 ct Aquamarine from Brazil

8.50 ct Aquamarine from Brazil  [SOLD]
The most popular of the natural sky blue gems is Aquamarine. This 8.50 ct Aquamarine oval from Brazil has excellent color saturation and sparkle. This very clean material has been fashioned in a portuguese cut for maximum brilliance. Guranteed natural and untreated.
4.70 ct Tanzanite from Tanzania
4.70 ct Tanzanite from Tanzania  [SOLD]

A superb Tanzanite with a bright and vibrant color. This lovely oval displays a rich sapphire-blue with just a hint of violet. This gem has been precision cut to bring out the full potential of this beautifully clean material. Guaranteed natural.

6.09 ct Apatite from Madagascar

6.09 ct Apatite from Madagascar  [SOLD]

Apatite has a vivid turquoise blue color that is unique in the world of faceted gems (with the exception of Paraiba Tourmaline selling for thousands of dollars per carat!). This 6.09 ct specimen from Madagascar is an impressive example with wonderful color saturation and excellent clarity. Guaranteed natural.

6.82 ct Blue Zircon from Cambodia

A very fine natural Zircon from Cambodia in a unusually deep blue. You will rarely find this intense saturation in a gem Zircon, which are usually a light to medium blue with a greenish tinge. This fine gem is perfectly clean and well cut to maximize the rich color. Guaranteed natural.

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Ask the Gem Experts

Each month we answer questions from our customers. We welcome your questions and you can submit a question from our contact page.


Apart from diamond, which colorless gems have the purest white color? Thanks for your advice. KY, Singapore

We recently did some side by side comparisons of a number of gem varieties that occur in white -- sapphire, zircon, goshenite beryl, danburite and petalite.

Though examples of each of these varieties can occur in a pure white, we found that that high quality danburite and petalite consistently displayed a pure white with no tinge of a secondary hue. Though not well known, these are both reasonably hard gems that are completely natural and untreated (and inexpensive as well!)


I love pear shape gems, but I mostly see  them in earrings and pendants. Can a pear gem look nice in a ring? DR, Canada

Pear-shaped gemstones make very elegant rings. Though they are not nearly as common as oval, round or cushion cuts, a well-shaped pear surrounded by a halo of small diamonds displays graceful curves that are both feminine and sophisticated. A pear-shaped gem is usually set with the point facing down the finger, but occasionally the orientation is reversed. You may also see unique designs where a pear-shaped stone is set east-west.



All the best in gems,

Arnold, Rung & Ron