The precious gem sapphire is so closely associated with the color blue that the word “sapphire” itself is considered a synonym for the hue. However, blue is far from being the only color that sapphires can be found in. In fact, the term “sapphire” can be applied to any gem-quality mineral of the corundum family that isn’t red—because red corundum is ruby. Sapphires in non-traditional shades are collectively known as “fancy” sapphires. The discovery of new sources of these gems in East Africa and Madagascar has increased the popularity of unusual sapphire colors such as pink, violet, green, yellow, and orange. Stones can even be found with blends of multiple shades, or in color change varieties that display different colors under natural and artificial light.
Sapphires owe their popularity as a gemstone not merely to their beauty, but also to their durability. Sapphires are the second-hardest gemstone next to diamond, which makes them suitable for daily wear in any type of jewelry. Jewelry designers have embraced fancy sapphires as a means of expanding their color palette without sacrificing the exceptional core qualities of the stone that have made it a perennial favorite.
In its purest form, corundum is colorless—in fact, white sapphire, as it is known, is widely used as an accent stone with other colored gems. The various hues of sapphire gems are produced by trace amounts of other minerals in the aluminum oxide crystals. Blue, produced by a combination of iron and titanium, is the most common. Orange sapphires, which are considerably rarer, are believed to be produced by trace amounts of chromium that is missing an electron.
Orange sapphires have been found in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Tanzania, although most on the market today come from Australia and Madagascar. Factors that affect the value of an orange sapphire are size, clarity, and color. These are almost impossible to find in large sizes, so a larger stone will command significantly higher prices than a comparable smaller stone. A clearer stone will also be valued more highly than a stone with significant numbers of eye-visible inclusions. Finally, it is quite common for orange sapphires to be heat-treated to improve their color. An orange sapphire with a deeply saturated hue that has not been treated will be quite expensive.
As with any gem of high value, buyers in the market for an orange sapphire should be careful to get independent verification of the authenticity and characteristics of the stone they are considering purchasing. If the seller hesitates to supply such verification, it is often a sign that what they have for sale isn’t as valuable as they claim it is.
At AuctionKing.com, our jewelry offerings feature a wide selection of genuine sapphires, both in traditional blue and a rainbow of fancy colors, with bids starting as low as $1. From pendants and earrings to bracelets and rings, we have sapphires for every taste, and we constantly update our inventory with new and unique finds. We authenticate every piece so you can bid with confidence. Register today for a free online account to start bidding and start winning.