This article is part of our Exploring Gemstones series, where we draw inspiration from the incredible world of gems.
We're obsessed with sapphire. It's one of the most durable gems, and among the most diverse in its incredible range of colors. Seriously, think of a color and there's a sapphire for you. And we're not talking about just one shade of blue or pink or yellow. Every stone is distinct, so there's a nearly endless amount of variation in hue and saturation. We're not even going to delve into the fact that there are often bi- or tri-color stones, color change sapphires, and more.
Just take a look at these incredible sapphires we showed one customer who was looking for something magenta:
There really is endless variety. With one firm exception: there are no red sapphires! Well, there are, we're just not allowed to call them sapphires. When corundum is red, we call it ruby. So there will be no red center stones on this page. But there will be at least 25 compelling reasons you should consider sapphire as your center stone of choice. Ready? Let's go.
We promised so many colors, but it seems wrong to start with anything other than classic blue. Here's a knockout in the classic, vivid shade of blue you probably think of when you hear the word "sapphire." This oval is just under 2.5 carats and is set with six claw prongs in a densely woven, intricate wirework setting.2
And one more classic blue, just to make a point about the availability of lab-created options. For those who prefer to avoid mined stones, or who might be budget-conscious, there's a range of lab-created sapphires that cover a lot of the color spectrum, including the classic blue. This one's the centerpiece of a vintage-inspired look with an elegant double-halo on a delicate gold band.3
We'll come back to blue, but let's move on for now. What better way to transition than this two-stone cluster ring. We found this gorgeous green Montana sapphire with an open, light green color (and just a hint of yellow) and had one of our trusted suppliers re-cut a medium blue sapphire to capture a matching color.
The most common colors for sapphire cluster in the spectrum from blue to green. In fact, much of the blue sapphire out there is heat-treated to bring out the coveted blue color. But if you leave these stones in their natural state, you get tons of beautiful variation. We can start our exploration of greens with this rich, vivid green sapphire ring. Set in a delicate shank that splits and makes room for two sparkling diamonds, in the very popular style of thin, elegant, modern bands.5
At the other end of the spectrum, we find this much lighter, minty green sapphire. This customer's inspiration for the look was his partner's green eyes, and this sapphire's color feels like the perfect capture of the beauty and mystery of eye color. The pear cut has a bright, minty green, with hints of yellow and hazel at the wide end, and richer blue-green tones toward the point. It's set in a delicate, tiara-inspired ring with natural and Celtic themes and moonstone accents.6
Mix in some blue and you arrive at this dusky blue-green, which pops perfectly against the white gold setting. Beaded milgrain edges and scalloped curves give this ring a hint of vintage styling.7
We'd characterize this one as a blue-green sapphire also, but setting it in gold draws out more of the warm, green tones in the gem. Anyone else think it's time to queue up Miles Davis' Blue in Green?8
And as we blend in just a bit of yellow (to segue into our next selection), we get this vibrant, open, almost grassy green. So much to love about this ring! It starts by catching your eye with that knockout green sapphire, and then you start exploring the yellow and white diamond pave, the leaf detailing along the side of the band, the mix of yellow and white gold — by the time you get to the swan framing the basket setting (it's a family symbol this customer asked us to incorporate), you're just trying to catch your breath.
No better place to start our yellow sapphire showcase than this sunflower ring. This ring features a bright, beautiful cluster of sunflowers in a mix of yellow and white gold, with black spinel and a warm yellow sapphire combining to create the colors of the flower.10
Looking for something a bit lighter? Here's a bright, canary yellow sapphire set in a beaded bezel. The accent sapphires on the split platinum shank are a richer shade of yellow to create contrast with the center stone.11
This design's theme is blending and intertwining. The platinum band features two strands vining and looping together as a symbol of the couple joining to become one. That's how we think of the vivid color contrast in the three-stone setting. We've brought together two pear blue sapphires and a sunny yellow sapphire center stone to create a vivid trilogy — assertive, but perfectly complementary, colors.12
And, finally, we have an orange-yellow sapphire. Yes, that's a golden snitch, Potterheads. What could be a more perfect color to sit between the detailed gold wings of the snitch?
This vivid orange sapphire deserves a color category all to itself. The ring design is at once a classic and something you may have never seen before! Our designers used some timeless design elements like a delicate, twisting band, diamond pave, and a prominent center stone. But what a unique, eye-catching center stone: a bold, fiery orange trillion cut sapphire.
How do we follow that intense orange sapphire? We'll have to start our pink showcase with this richly colored pear cut, and we're going to have to let you see just how it dances in the light. Set in a contemporary rose gold ring with a delicate band and a halo of sparkling diamonds, the sapphire's peachy pink is open and so, so sparkly!
Taking a similarly open, peachy pink sapphire and setting it in white gold tempers the warmth of the gem, cooling its color to a soft, blushing pink. A curvy band with just a few accent diamonds, and a hint of vintage styling in the basket and six-prong setting, complete this elegant design.16
Here's an intense pink with violet secondary hues. The gem's color is far more saturated. It's set in a bezel with a rose on its bottom edge, which she'll see every time she tips her hand forward.
If you're still thinking about those magenta sapphires from the top of the page, we're finally arriving at the purples you've been waiting for. Let's start with one that has some of that pink hue flavoring its color. It's such an unusual ring, but also so elegant. The design is inspired by the recipient's love for the anime No Game No Life, and we love the way the asymmetric elements frame the sapphire so naturally.18
For amethyst lovers, a royal purple sapphire adds durability to the regal color. This one is set in four claw prongs with a nature-inspired white gold design.19
This sapphire is far lighter, capturing an almost lavender shade of purple. In a heart shape, it's set on a wide band with Celtic rope vining and knotting elegantly around the rose gold ring.
We've shown so many sapphire colors. So what's left? We'd be remiss if we didn't touch on at least one white sapphire. We don't recommend thinking of white sapphire as an alternative to diamond because it doesn't have the same kind of sparkle. But it has its own bright elegance that can be perfect in a ring like this. In an asscher cut designed to show off its geometry and hall-of-mirrors faceting, the white sapphire pairs perfectly with dark red garnets. It's all very Art Deco, as was the inspiration our team drew from when creating this bold, platinum engagement ring.21
What else? How about a black star? Queue David Bowie's excellent farewell album: ★. We'll just wait here a moment while you change the music.
Now that we have the soundtrack right, what we're talking about is actually a star sapphire. That's a cabochon cut sapphire (a smooth, polished dome instead of the more typical faceting), and one that displays a phenomenon gemologists call asterism, which causes it to reflect light in a star pattern on its surface. You can see the effect on this stone when we took a quick photo out in the sunlight.
While blue star sapphires are far more common, this customer chose a black star sapphire, which contrasts beautifully with the delicate, leafy curves of the white gold band we designed for it.
Having started with some classic blue sapphires, it seems fitting to circle back now and show off a few more shades of blue. We showed you multiple blue-green sapphires, so it seems only fitting that we show a green-tinted blue like this teal sapphire. It's set in a vining white gold band with a, ahem, twist — one of the strands omits the diamonds but echoes the pattern with beaded edges to create visual interest.23
If you liked the dark, moody look of the black star sapphire in #21, you might also like this inky sapphire. Its midnight blue stands in relief to the sunburst halo of bright diamonds we set around it.24
And all the way at the other end of the spectrum, we find this smoky, gray-blue sapphire. It's one of the lightest blues we've ever set, but there's something quite intense and stormy in the look of this center stone. It's a Montana sapphire, and one whose natural character has been allowed to shine. We designed a branching natural setting for it in white gold.25
Well, this is it. Number 25. And, to cap things off with yet another twist, we're going with a pair of cabochon cut sapphires. This cut gives the stones a completely different look, and we designed a two stone toi-et-moi setting for them, giving them the appearance of orbiting each other. Or maybe it's the look of two glowing orbs dancing together. It's yet another of the unexpected and extraordinary faces of sapphire.
There's 25 examples of the incredible variety and beauty of sapphire. Did you see something that surprised you? Something that made you catch your breath?
If you've come this far and you're still shrugging your shoulders, I'm not sure what more we can do to sell the virtues of this gem. OK, one more shot at it. What if we bring together a perfect sapphire snowflake ring with the incredible cuteness of tiny baby fingers?