When someone mentions blue gemstones, everyone’s mind goes directly to the sapphire. However, there is a great variety of other beautiful options, many of which are considered excellent gemstones in their own right. We’re going to explore just a few of them.
Turquoise is a popular choice among blue gemstones. This semi precious stone is not a deep blue, but rather a light, sky blue, sometimes even a blue-green color. It has existed for ages and has been worn by people of various cultures across the globe. Its name actually means “Turkey” (like the country). That’s because it was originally discovered and brought out of Iran and Turkey to Europe. Turquoise is not usually a particularly shiny gemstone. It is prized for its unique color. However, there are treatments that have been developed for turquoise that will improve the stone’s hardness and the vibrancy of its color. On Moh’s scale of mineral hardness, turquoise gets a 6 out of 10, which is equal to that of titanium.
One of the most affordable options for a blue semi precious stone is Aquamarine. It’s usually found in large deposits with minimal impurities. It’s naturally a light blue color, but will often be heat-treated to lighten it up even more. It is said that its color resembles that of the sea, sometimes shifting from a light blue to light green and back. It is a very hard mineral, holding a hardness of 8 out of 10, equal to topaz. This also happens to be the birthstone for those born in March.
Lapis Lazuli is a well known blue gemstones that has been used as a decorative item for thousands of years, dating to Ancient Egypt. In fact, the ancient pharaoh Tutankhamen was actually reported to have Lapis Lazuli decorating his funeral mask. Often called Lapis for short, Lapis Lazuli is famous for its intense blue color and its beautiful off-white patterns, which are said to resemble the sky. Despite the fact that it is actually classified as a rock rather than a mineral, it is one of the more popular and recognizable kinds of blue gemstones. Lapis is most commonly cut into beads or cabochons and used for necklaces, pendants, and bracelets, and is not used as often for rings due to its opaqueness. Statuettes and decorative ornaments can also be carved from Lapis Lazuli.
Tanzanite is found only in its namesake Tanzania, and is one of the more popular blue gemstone varieties. It gained popularity when Tiffany & Co named the gemstone and promoted it, and it remains popular and well liked today. Tanzanite is pleochloric, meaning it can show different color when viewed from different angles. Tanzanite owes most of its attraction to its deep blue color, which is said to rival that of Sapphire. Tanzanite, while not soft, has perfect cleavage and wearers should try not to subject it to too much wear and tear. Tanzanite is popular for use in jewelry and is mid range in price, which makes it a good gemstone for gifting during special occasions like birthdays.
The name Kyanite comes from the Greek for ‘blue’, and although the gemstone comes in different colors, the most well known variety is deep blue kind. Blue Kyanite can resemble Sapphire but often has some areas that are visibly lighter or darker (this is known as color zoning), and occasionally the gemstone can have white streaks or spots. Kyanite can be found in a number of places but one of the best sources of quality gemstone Kyanite is Nepal. Kyanite is anisotropic, meaning it exhibits different hardness (on the Mohs scale) depending on if its cut along its parallel or perpendicular to its length. Kyanite is an affordable gemstone that looks great and can be used as a reasonably good substitute for Sapphire as they share similar hues.
Although Fluorite is rarely used for jewelry due to its lack of hardness, it is a very popular gem among collectors thanks to the wide variety of excellent colors it comes in. In fact, it’s known in the industry as ‘the most colorful mineral in the world’. Although its hardness limits its jewelry applications, it can be used for pendants, earrings, or other kinds of jewelry that experience less wear and tear. Collectors often use Fluorite for display purposes. Fluorite is also reasonably affordable, but consumers should be wary of damaging Fluorite jewelry as it can chip or break easily.
After Sapphire, Blue Topaz is probably the most popular blue gemstone avaiable on the market. It’s high hardness makes it durable and thus suitable for jewelry, and its combination of beauty and affordability make it a hard gemstone to pass up on. However, buyers should know that Blue Topaz does not really occur naturally in the deep colors you can find in the market – natural Blue Topaz is pretty rare and is actually quite light colored. The deep Blue Topaz you can buy online or at a jewelry store is actually White Topaz that has been heated and treated with radiation (which is a safe process provided guidelines are followed). Due to this, there has been some controversy regarding Blue Topaz, and some consumers have turned their back on the gemstone. However, as consumer, as long as you know all the facts, you should feel comfortable purchasing Blue Topaz as the price to beauty ratio is quite remarkable.
Now here is a blue gemstone that’s unique in color, but also useful for more than just its looks! Azurite is a softer mineral, a 4 out of 10 on Moh’s scale, equal to iron and nickel. This mineral is sometimes ground up into a fine powder and then used as a die. This was a very common practice throughout the Middle Ages. It’s also used to indicate where deposits of copper ore are. This is a collector’s stone, and though sometimes used in jewelry, its low hardness rating prevents it from being more popular. It’s most commonly used as beads. When polished into a sphere, it is said to resemble the earth because of its blue color and small green patches.
Have you ever heard of Benitoite? If you’re from California, the only place on Earth that this gem has been found, you might have. This gorgeous mineral was originally confused for sapphire when it was discovered, but its unique qualities led to its becoming California’s state gem. It’s just as deep blue as sapphire, but under UV light it fluoresces a bright blue/white. It has a hardness of 7 out of 10, which means it is hard enough for jewelry, and is considered an incredibly beautiful blue gemstone. Because of its rarity, this gemstone is an expensive one, and most regular folks will have an exceedingly difficult time even finding it in the market. This gemstone really is a collectors item. However, if you can locate a source and afford it, you definitely have one heck of a conversation starter.
Which blue gemstone do you like?
When looking to acquire new gemstones, think of the exact shade of blue that you’re interested in and what you’ll be using it for (jewelry, collection, craft, etc). Isn’t it amazing how many different varieties of blue gemstones there are? Each kind of gemstone has its own unique features.