Blue gemstones make a smart, edgy jewelry, bright and possibly avant-garde. Blue is an elegant color that sets itself apart from the organic hues, including red, yellow and green. The blue jewels are accordingly associated with modernity, forward-thinking and even royalty. When worn in jewelry, blue gems give a person the look of confident sophistication and bold brilliance. Do you want to know the different types of blue stones used in jewelry? Here is a list of blue gemstones, from the most expensive to the more affordable.
While diamond is most famous for its white variety, the precious stone also occurs as blue stones, which is among the most expensive of diamonds. The hardest of all gemstones, these blue rocks are known for their superb brilliance, owing to an extremely high refractive index. The color of the blue precious stone comes from the intrusion of boron into the otherwise clear mineral. Diamond in general is the traditional and modern birthstone for the month of April, both in the Western and Hindu calendar. In astrology, diamond is a birthstone for Aries. See —
Alexandrite is a color-changing gemstone of the mineral chrysoberyl. The color of this gemstone changes depending on the source of light. At night alexandrite appears reddish with incandescent light, while usually green or blue at daytime. Alexandrite is a traditional birthstone for June.
Serendibite is a very rare glassy gemstone from Sri Lanka. While first discovered in green and is most commonly black, serendibite also occurs as grayish blue stones. This blue crystal got its name from Serendib, the old Arabic name for Sri Lanka. Owing to its rarity, the blue gem comes at a very expensive price.
Sapphire is the ultimate representation of blue gemstones, and has consistently remained one of the four precious stones in the world, along with diamond, ruby and emerald. Second only to diamond in hardness, this blue rock is a variety of corundum, a mineral that when red is called ruby. Though traditionally the birthstone for April, this precious blue stone has been made the modern birthstone for September in the Western calendar, while the Hindu calendar designates sapphire as the July birthstone. In astrology, the blue gem is traditionally held to be the birthstone for Taurus.
Almost exclusively found in California, benitoite is among the rarest and accordingly most expensive of blue gemstones. This blue jewel was named after the San Benito River, near who headwaters the blue gemstone was found. The blue crystal ranges in shade from pale blue to bright blue. The pricey blue stone was officially pronounced the state gem of California in 1985.
While most common in white and most expensive in black, opal is quite popularly known to occur as blue stones, whether the blue is found among the play of colors or the body tone itself. Opal in general is the modern birthstone for October. In astrology, opal is a birthstone for Libra.
Though most valuable in green (demantoid), garnet also occurs as blue stones, which are in fact the rarest. Like alexandrite, this blue gemstone changes color, from blue at daytime to red or purple under an incandescent light. This blue gemstone is among the most valuable gemstones in the world, with prices of around $1,500 per carat.
Jeremejevite was discovered in 1883 by the Russian mineralogist Jeremejev, after whom the blue gems was named. Though also available in yellow and colorless, jeremejevite is most popular for its light blue variety, which is among the most valuable of blue gemstones. Jeremejevite owes its value to the extreme rarity of the blue stone, which is known to occur in a few thousand crystals, most of which is not suitable for cutting.
Available in the colors of the rainbow, tourmaline, needless to say, occurs as blue stones. These blue gems come from the variety of tourmaline called indicolite, from the word indigo — though the gemstone may be a light blue, not necessarily indigo. The finest of these blue crystals is known as the Paraiba tourmaline, which is among the most expensive of blue gemstones, owing to its brilliant turquoise color. Tourmaline is a traditional and modern birthstone for October. In astrology, tourmaline is a birthstone for Leo.
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RAREST STONES BY COLOR
Aquamarine is the blue gemstone of the beryl group of minerals, which is called emerald when green. The name comes from the Latin for “water of the sea,” in reference to the gemstone’s color, which is turquoise or blue, the deep blue variety being called maxixe. Though traditionally the birthstone for October, aquamarine is the modern March birthstone. In astrology, the blue stone is assigned as birthstone to the zodiac sign Scorpio.
Tanzanite and Zoisite
Beside violet, green, pink, yellow, gray and colorless, zoisite also occurs as blue stones, the purplish blue being called tanzanite. The latter blue gemstone was discovered only in 1967 in Tanzania, from which the blue crystal got its name. Though relatively new, tanzanite is quite popular today. In fact, this blue stone has been made the modern birthstone for the month of December.
Blue zircon is among the most brilliant of blue gemstones. Zircon is an excellent gemstone often made a substitute to diamond. It is with the blue gemstone variety that zircon distinguishes itself from diamond and stands out as a dazzling gemstone in its own right. Zircon is a traditional birthstone for December in the Western calendar, while the Hindu calendar assigns the blue stone to the month of September.
While most popular for its red variety, spinel also occurs as blue stones. This blue crystal has a very high hardness, 7.5 to 8 in the Mohs scale. The blue rock is transparent in clarity and can be glassy in luster. The color of spinel, however, is grayish and dull, though some are bright and vivid enough to rival sapphire.
Though also found in brown and violet, iolite typically occurs as blue stones. Known in mineralogy as cordierite, this blue gem is transparent in clarity and glassy in luster. Due to its color and quality, the blue stone is sometimes used as an inexpensive substitute to sapphire.
Labradorite and Spectrolite
Labradorite is a feldspar mineral that gives off an iridescent brilliance called labradorescence, in which an interplay of colors is seen. The prevalent color of labradorite is commonly blue. A less common variety of the blue gemstone exhibits a richer range of colors. This multicolored gemstone is called spectrolite.
Sunstone is a feldspar mineral found in Norway and Oregon, USA. This gemstone occurs as a glassy mineral that encases a colored crystal within its depth. Beside red, yellow and green, the color inside a sunstone crystal may also be blue. Sunstone is the official gemstone of Oregon.
Beside green and yellow, idocrase also occurs as blue stones. This blue gemstone is better known as cyprine, which is in particular found in Franklin, New Jersey. The pigmentation of this blue crystal is caused by the inclusion of copper. The luster of the blue stone ranges from glassy to resinous.
Whether white or black, pearl gives off an iridescence that reflects different shades of colors, including green and blue. While blue is a common enough color for a mother-of-pearl — which is the same material that makes up a piece of pearl — blue pearls is still very rare that it would take years to collect enough of the blue gem to complete an entire string. The name blue pearl in particular refers to pearls obtained from the mollusk abalone exclusively found in New Zealand waters.
Beside green, yellow, violet and pink, apatite also occurs as blue stones. This blue gemstone is a phosphate mineral, which makes a good source of phosphorous. While used primarily in the manufacture of fertilizer, apatite frequently produces gem quality blue crystals, which is glassy in clarity and luster.
Though also found in green, yellow and pink, kyanite typically occurs as blue stones. The name derives from the Greek word kuanos, meaning “dark blue.” This blue crystal is transparent to translucent in clarity, and glassy in luster. The blue stone may also display a cat’s eye effect.
In ancient times, lapis lazuli was the highest representation of blue gemstones, and was treasured as the stone of royalties. This blue jewel is in fact a rock, formed out of the aggregation of lazurite, sodalite, fool’s gold and calcite. It was only after the advent of the Roman Empire that sapphire took the place of lapis lazuli as the exemplification of all blue gems in the world. Still, lapis lazuli remains a popular, if less expensive, blue stone, and has been made an alternate September birthstone in Britain next to sapphire. In astrology, lapis lazuli is a birthstone for Libra. See also Lapis Lazuli: Stone of Purity.
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Turquoise is among the most valuable of opaque blue gemstones, on account of the stone’s quality and rarity. The blue stone ranges in shade from sky blue to blue-green. This blue gem is a traditional and modern birthstone for the month of December. In astrology, turquoise is birthstone for Sagittarius.
Sodalite is a blue gemstone closely related to lapis lazuli, and is in fact a component mineral thereof. This blue semi-precious stone was first discovered in Greenland in 1811, and was named after its sodium content. In Hindu astrology, the blue stone is a birthstone for Sagittarius. See also Sodalite: Stone of Clarity.
Hemimorphite is an important ore of zinc. While most commonly white, hemimorphite also occurs as blue stones. This blue gemstone is transparent to translucent in clarity, with a luster that is glassy, sometimes silky. The blue stone was formerly known by the name calamine.
Beside yellow, green and pink, topaz also occurs as blue stones. In fact, blue topaz is popular enough as to be explicitly designated as modern birthstone for December, while yellow topaz takes November. The blue gem is quite rare though, with much of its supply artificially produced through irradiation. Blue topaz is the state gemstone of Texas, where the blue crystal is found.
Beside red, yellow and green, fluorite also occurs as blue stones. In fact, the semi-precious blue stone is common of its kind. A popular fluorite variety is the Blue John, which is mined in the Blue John Cavern (hence the name); but this blue crystal has already gone scarce. The weakness of fluorite in general lies in its hardness, which is pegged at 4 in the Mohs scale.
Agate is the banded variety of chalcedony, and also occurs with bands of blue. A well-known variety of this blue gemstone is the blue lace agate, which has thin blue stripes against a white body tone. Agate is a traditional birthstone for May and June. In astrology, agate is the birthstone for Gemini. See also Agate: Stone of Prudence.
Smithsonite is a zinc ore that rarely comes in well formed crystals. Beside white, yellow, green, pink and purple, smithsonite also occurs as blue stones. This semiprecious blue stone was named after the English mineralogist James Smithson, who first identified the mineral in 1802.
Unlike other gemstones, amber is a product, not of geologic activity, but of the fossilization of resin. Beside yellow and green, amber also occurs as blue stones, which is rather rare and highly sought after. This blue gemstone comes mostly from the Dominican Republic. In astrology, amber is a birthstone for Taurus.
While chalcedony technically comprises such minerals as onyx, carnelian and chrysoprase, the name chalcedony popularly applies to the white and blue gemstones. Chalcedony is a traditional birthstone for June, though the ancient Hebrew calendar designated the gemstone as May birthstone. In astrology, chalcedony is associated with the zodiac sign Cancer. See also Chalcedony: Stone of Virtue.
Azurite is a copper mineral closely related to malachite, which is green. The blue rock is exceptionally deep in shade, and in that sense makes very attractive jewelry. The weakness of this blue gemstone lies in its hardness, which is only 3.5 to 4 in the Mohs scale.
While commonly a metallic gray or black, a variety of hematite exists that displays a rainbow of colors similar to that of oil spilled on water. Known as rainbow hematite, this gemstone displays prominent patches of blue. The blue stone is mined in Minas Gerais, Brazil.
Larimar is a rare blue crystal found only in the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean. This blue stone ranges in shade from light blue, green-blue to deep blue. The color of this blue gem is photosensitive, and fades in intensity with too much exposure to sunlight.
While colorless in pure form, quartz also occurs as blue stones known as dumortierite quartz. This blue crystal gets its color from heavy inclusions of dumortierite, a mineral that is commonly blue. The rare dumortierite quartz represents the blue gemstone variety of quartz, as rose quartz does the pink.
Though most popularly green, aventurine also occurs as blue stones. Like other aventurine species, the blue gemstone is characterized by aventurescence, a shimmering effect caused by the platy inclusions of chrome-bearing fuchsite. In astrology, aventurine is a planetary stone for Taurus.
Hawk’s eye is an incomplete variant of tiger’s eye. Yellow or brown in color, tiger’s eye is a mineral produced from the interaction of quartz and blue asbestos. Since the blue asbestos is not yet completely silicified in hawk’s eye, the color of the gemstone remains blue.
Beside green, chrysocolla occurs as blue stones. This blue gemstone is very bright in color, and ranges in clarity from translucent to opaque. However, the blue stone is quite soft, with hardness pegged at 2.5 to 3.5 in the Mohs scale, making chrysocolla rather unsuitable for jewelry.
Quantum quattro is a recently found gemstone that is a combination of at least four different minerals. This blue stone is made up of shattuckite, chrysocolla, dioptase and malachite, which are responsible for the patches of royal blue, light blue, dark green and light green respectively. Smoky quartz is also present in the blue rock, which is found in Nambia, Africa.
Blue Gemstones in Jewelry
Do you like to wear blue gems in your jewelry? Blue gemstones are a bold sophisticated choice of stones for jewelry. Wear blue stones and show off those cool blue sparkles.
Featured image credit: Blue sapphire by Montanabw via Wikimedia Commons
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