Sapphires come in all ranges of colors from blue to black to colorless and all colors in between. There are no limits to the color tone or saturation of color in a sapphire. The way in which sapphires have different colors is through the trace mineral content within a sapphire crystal. A blue sapphire will reflect blue light because the crystal has titanium element within the stone. If a sapphire has other trace minerals such as chromium then the stone will be pink in color. If a combination of elements is within the stone, you might have a lime green or a purplish blue sapphire. A chemically pure sapphire crystal would be colorless. Whatever ingredients nature puts in a sapphire is what special unique color it will show. For this reason, sapphires are extraordinarily unique from one to the next. No two are exactly the same; rare and unusual sapphires are almost irreplaceable, even one that is only 1 or 2 carats in size.
Sapphires come in all sizes. They are readily available under 1ct and can come as large as 20+cts in fine quality, but these stones are exceptionally rare. Specimen grade sapphire can come in huge sizes of thousands of carats, but this material has little or no value at all.
Rarity means that something cannot be replaced easily. When something is rare and a market demand is present, naturally prices will rise. Sapphires of fine quality are in fact very rare. Diamonds, for example, are in almost every type of jewelry, in every jewelry store, and on websites around the world. The world production and use of diamonds proves that diamonds are not at all rare, and in fact are in extraordinary supply. Prices are held up by a combination of highly inflated profit margins as well as controlled release of supply reserves by the diamond cartels. These profit margins are not seen at the retail level.
Sapphires are mined heavily in gem producing countries, by traditional and mechanical methods. Even with heavy mining the rate of return on fine sapphires is exponentially less than the production and availability of most other gem stones. For this reason, specifically natural untreated sapphires are a safe investment for retaining and attaining long term value.
Corundum (sapphire) comes from all over the world. Commercial sapphires are used in industry for abrasive and cutting purposes. Emory paper is one example of how the hardness of a sapphire crystal is used in everyday industry. Of course the fine gem quality stones are found in very small quantities in very few places. Most notably are the sapphires from Sri Lanka. For thousands of years fine sapphires have been found in this special place. Sri Lanka (formally called "Ceylon") is still the top producer of fine untreated stones in the world.
Most of the sapphires that are found in gem producing locations are worthless; and need to be treated to be marketable. Good quality sapphires over 2cts are scarce. Pure colors that are free of inclusions are very difficult to produce on a consistent basis. Only a handful of fine stones are produced world wide on a daily basis. The market is far greater than what can be produced and prices continue to rise. This is why natural untreated sapphires are a far better investment when considering making a sizeable stone or jewelry purchase.
Blue sapphires are the most popular and sought after type of sapphire. They have been the prized possessions of emperors, kings, queens and collectors for thousands of years. Still today it is the most well known and in demand colored gemstone. Royalty give sapphires over diamonds as engagement rings because they are known to be far rarer than diamonds.
Pink sapphires have recently become widely available by new deposits found in Madagascar in the late 1990's. Until this time, fine pink sapphires were exceptionally rare and only found in a few locations in Vietnam, Sri Lanka and Burma. The recent find of fantastic quality and quantity in Southern Madagascar has allowed the popularity to explode. Madagascar pink sapphires come in a full range of color tone from a very pale baby pink to a vivid almost magenta intense pink. Demand for the full tone spectrum is now equal.
Yellow sapphires come in a wide range of tones and saturations. Very light canary to an ultra golden color tone show the wide range that fall under the classification of Yellow Sapphire. The most in-demand color tone is a medium vibrant canary yellow that will show good color and light reflection in all lighting conditions.
Padparadscha Sapphires are the rarest of sapphires. These extremely rare stones are unknown to most, but when discovered usually become an absolute favorite. They are strikingly beautiful and almost no other colored stone compares to this unique mix of pink and orange. Sunsets, lotus flowers and tropical fruits - the color range of a (pronounced) Pad-para-dscha falls within a mix of 2 colors: pink and orange. "Padparadscha" is an ancient Sanskrit word used to describe the color of a tropical lotus flower. One of the rarest gemstones of the world, Padparadscha sapphires are rivaled by no other gemstone species or color substitute. Imposters cannot be found to show this very beautiful color. Padparadschas are mostly unknown among most consumers because there are literally so few in circulation. Padparadscha sapphires are truly rare and unusual gemstones. Most fine Padparadschas in the market are purchased by collectors and individuals who have been waiting and searching for the right stone. The market for these sapphires is small, yet the demand is very high. For this reason, prices can be astronomical for very fine pieces.