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Sapphire Color

What are the characteristics of color in sapphires?

A clear, even color is the most prized quality in a sapphire. At Brilliant Earth, we perform a close-up examination of each gemstone to verify an even color with minimal color spotting or zoning. We pay close attention to how these areas affect overall beauty. Color is evaluated on three different characteristics: hue, tone, and saturation.


Hue refers to the actual body color of the sapphire. It is usually comprised of two parts, the color that has the strongest presence, and any other colors that may be slightly noticeable. Examples include greenish-blue, slightly violet-blue, or violet-pink. In each of these, the modifying color is listed first, with the main color listed second. Brilliant Earth's standard blue sapphires range from slightly greenish-blue to slightly violet-blue. We also offer a broad variety of yellow, orange, pink, peach, white, purple, and green sapphires.


Tone is the term used to describe the depth of the color present. For example, if you were to compare a sky blue sapphire to a midnight blue sapphire, you would be able to say that the hue or color is the same but that the tone is different. The sky blue sapphire has "light" tone, and the midnight blue sapphire has "dark" tone. Brilliant Earth offers sapphires in a range of tone, from "light" to "dark," with our standard for blue sapphires being in the "medium-deep blue" range.


Saturation is used to describe the purity of the sapphire's color and whether the gem is exhibiting any gray or brown hues. Sapphires with the highest levels of saturation display the cleanest and truest colors. These are referred to as having "vivid" saturation. Brilliant Earth only carries sapphires with "strong" to "vivid" saturation.



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