From sapphires to lapis lazuli, blue gemstones are some of the most sought-after materials in the world of jewelry. With their vibrant and unique hues, these stones make any piece of jewelry stand out from the crowd. From a subtle elegance to a bold statement, blue gemstones add a touch of sophistication to any look. Whether you’re looking for a new engagement ring or a pair of earrings, blue gemstones are sure to make any piece of jewelry shine.
In this article we will go over 17 most popular blue gemstones to fit any style or occasion.
Read on to learn how to assess quality in blue gemstones, from popular and well-known species to rarely seen specimens.
Assessing Color and Quality in Blue Gemstones
Gemologists assess color by considering hue, tone, and saturation.
Gemstones often have a secondary hue in addition to a primary hue.
For blue gemstones, common secondary hues are green and violet. In general, a more pure blue hue is desirable, and when a stone strays further from blue, it’s less valuable. Still, greenish blue and violetish blue gems are quite attractive!
Blue sapphires with slight violet hues are still top color. Other gems, such as paraíba tourmaline, more commonly exhibit green secondary hues.
Blue hues reach top saturation, or intensity, at medium-dark tones, about 85%. This is called the gamut limit. Vivid saturation is an eye-popping color.
Darker tones will appear inky or steely, while lighter tones may appear washed out or gray. Nevertheless, beautiful blue gemstones occur in a wide range of tones, from light, sky blues to deep, dark colors.
Clarity grades have much less importance in blue gemstones than in colorless stones. Since the color can mask inclusions, it makes them less noticeable. However, avoid large inclusions or fractures, as these can still make the stone more breakable.
For lighter toned blue gemstones, a somewhat better clarity grade will improve the gem’s appearance. In such cases, avoid dark inclusions, as these will be readily apparent in a light gem.
Blue Gemstones Ideal for Everyday Wear
If you’re looking for a blue gem for a ring, the following types are your best bets.
Each of these blue gemstones rates at least a 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, making them resistant to scratches. Better yet, they’re less likely to break when accidentally dropped or knocked against a table.
These tough blue gemstones will hold up to everyday wear, making them ideal for engagement rings. With regular cleaning, they’ll also keep looking as good as the day you bought them.
What Gemstones Are Blue
By far the most popular blue gem for faceting, a blue sapphire can have very high saturation.
Royal engagements have also made it one of the most popular choices for engagement rings!
This September birthstone can occur in any color except red (which is ruby), but its classic and most well-known hues are blue to violet.
These hues arise from trace amounts of titanium and iron in the gem’s crystal structure. Sapphires often undergo a heat treatment, which improves their clarity and color.
If a natural sapphire is out of your price range, consider a lab-created stone. These have the same durability and beauty as natural stones, but at a fraction of the price.
A modern option for the October birthstone, Tourmalines have recently increased in popularity and price. Tourmalines occur in every color, but blue specimens, called indicolites, are rare and highly prized.
Due to their rarity, finished indicolite gems will contain inclusions and fractures more frequently than other color varieties of tourmaline.
Most blue tourmaline contains tiny amounts of iron, which give it color. Some indicolites undergo heat treatment. This undetectable process creates a lighter but stable color.
Known for watery blues and blue-greens, aquamarine never reaches the dark tones and high saturation of sapphires and Tourmalines.
Nevertheless, darker tones hold more value, even if the stone is somewhat gray. In the past, the beloved modern March birthstone was used as a talisman to keep sailors safe at sea.
These stones routinely undergo heat treatment to lessen green hues, resulting in a more pure blue.
However, some aquamarines don’t alter with this treatment and remain an unusual yet attractive sea-foam blue-green.
Long overlooked by the public but a favorite among gemologists, spinel is slowly gaining the recognition it deserves. Recently declared a modern option for the August birthstone, spinel occurs in a wide variety of colors, including blue.
Though many are too dark to properly see the color, medium tones of intense saturation are beautiful to behold. Cobalt-colored spinels are particularly prized for their bright, intense blue colors.
Synthetic spinels, common and inexpensive, are frequently used as simulants or imitations for many gems.
Widespread in both inexpensive jewelry and designer pieces, turquoise is the most popular of blue gemstones. It ranges in hardness from 3 to 7.5, depending on the mineralogy of its host rock.
Thus, some turquoise is highly resistant to scratching, but most will scratch easily.
A December birthstone with ancient symbolism, turquoise is beloved by many.
However, low-grade turquoise often undergoes stabilization or receives dye to intensify its color. Some imitations are even sold as reconstituted turquoise. Buyer beware.
On the more expensive side, fancy colored blue diamonds are quite rare but have a beautiful brilliance and dispersion, or fire.
Though naturally colored gems rarely reach high saturation, gems treated with irradiation and heat, or through the HPHT process, can have strong color with little gray. Lab-created diamonds may also be blue.
Once a favorite of the ancient Mayans, blue jadeite is very rare. This stone, which occurs only in Guatemala, is often somewhat gray. Nonetheless, jadeite is one of the toughest gems and is even known for its musical qualities. If you hit jade with a hammer, it will ring like a bell!
Blue Gemstones for Occasional Wear
Not all blue gemstones are tough enough to wear on a daily basis. Some blue gemstones are soft or prone to chipping. The following blue gems are best suited for earrings, pendants, and brooches.
If you’re creating a ring with one of these blue gemstones, use a protective setting to minimize wear and tear.
Found only in a small area of Tanzania, this stone’s popularity has skyrocketed in recent years. Intense blue and violet hues, the result of heat treatment, mimic fine sapphire at a fraction of the price.
However, Tanzanite can easily chip or break if knocked against a surface. Still, this rare stone makes a beautiful alternative to sapphire.
This June birthstone option has an unusual sheen called adularescence. In many specimens, this appears as a cloud of blue floating within a milky white stone.
Top-quality moonstone has a bright, medium blue adularescence on a colorless body.
Lapidaries usually carve such stones or cab them with high domes. This variety of feldspar is somewhat soft and prone to chipping, so be sure to store it away from other stones.
Though it never reaches the saturation of fine sapphire, iolite can serve as an excellent and inexpensive alternative. With low prices and a lack of known gem treatments, some gemologists consider iolite an underappreciated stone.
This gem’s intense pleochroism, appearing dark blue from one angle but light yellow from another, is wonderful to behold.
Furthermore, this mineral may have some historical importance. Some historians suspect this was the “Viking Sunstone,” used for navigation at sea. Nevertheless, this stone can break in two if improperly handled.
Another underappreciated gem, zircon has dazzling brilliance and fire. Often confused with the synthetic material cubic zirconia, buyers may overlook this natural stone in favor of another gem.
Still, bright blue hues in this modern December birthstone are attractive and often have a strong green component. While this stone may chip, its beautiful sparkle makes it an attractive and affordable choice for jewelry.
With symbolism thousands of years old and bold royal blue hues, lapis lazuli is one of the most popular blue gemstones.
While somewhat prone to scratching, lapis is tough and, due to its abundance and low cost, can be easily replaced if damaged.
While most of the world prefers a solid, even blue color, some American connoisseurs prefer a smattering of pyrite inclusions, which appear in the dark blue stone like stars in the night sky.
This November birthstone is best known for reddish and yellow hues, but the advent of irradiation and heat treatment has given rise to inexpensive and attractive blue topaz stones.
Treatment produces stable colors in gems that remain perfectly safe for wear. While topaz is somewhat prone to chipping, proper cutting angles should reduce this risk.
Bold blue colors in azurite make it a popular stone for collectors and hobbyists.
Often confused with lapis lazuli, this gem often forms with malachite, and lapidaries cut opaque blue and green cabochons from this material.
Facetable crystalline material is rare, and cut gems above a carat would be too dark.
Still, the intense color lends itself well to cabochons. As with any soft material, store azurite jewelry away from harder stones.
Kyanite is an unusual gem. Its hardness varies from 4 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, depending on the crystal axis.
Often a grayish blue, it also usually contains inclusions. Still, some lapidaries have managed to facet kyanite, in spite of its cleavage and designation as a brittle stone.
Certain specimens of labradorite feldspar exhibit a delightful blue sheen when properly oriented.
This effect, called labradorescence, arises from twinned mineral planes.
When this phenomenon covers the entire stone, the result is spectacular. With low costs and relative abundance, labradorite can be a part of any gem collection.
Sodalite is another opaque blue option for jewelry. Lapidaries often use this material for carvings, cabochons, and beads.
A component of lapis lazuli, sodalite has long been treasured for its lovely color.
However, it remains inexpensive, even in large sizes. With a relatively low hardness, it may scratch easily but is unlikely to break.
- Types of Gemstones from A to Z
- Birthstones By Month
- Gemstone Enhancement and Treatment Guide
- Gemstone Jewelry Buying Guide
- Guide to Diamond Alternatives
- Guide to Diamond Carat Weight
- Diamond Jewelry Buying Guide
- The 4 Cs of Diamonds
Last Updated on December 6, 2022 by JewelryNStyle