Pink Sapphire vs Blue Sapphire: What Are They, And What’s The Difference?

Sapphires are stunningly beautiful and valuable gemstones that come in a wide spectrum of colors.

The blue variety is by far the most common.

However, pink sapphires are more popular than ever, thanks to their beautiful color range, uniqueness, and affordability.

The rest of this article discusses everything you need to know about pink and blue sapphires, including how to tell the difference, how you can identify them, and the best places to try to find some of your own.

Pink Sapphire vs Blue Sapphire (Explained)

What are Sapphires?

Sapphires are a special variety of the mineral corundum.

They are a type of precious gemstone and can be identified by their mineral composition of aluminum oxide, with trace elements of magnesium, iron, titanium, chromium, and vanadium.

The name ‘sapphire’ can be traced back to the Latin word saphirus and the Greek word sapherios, both of which mean the color blue.

However, it might surprise you that although most people sapphires with the color blue, the gemstone can actually occur in grey, black, yellow, purple, orange, green, red, and pink.

Sapphires are extremely hard. In fact, they are the third hardest substance on Earth behind diamond and moissanite!

For this reason, they have value beyond being beautiful gemstones for your jewelry.

They are important components in wristwatches, infrared optics, and electronic wafers, as well as many other industrial machines.

If your birthday is in September, you’re lucky enough to have sapphires as your birthstone.

What are Pink Sapphires?

The mineral corundum comes in both red and blue hues.

When it tends towards red, its classification as a ruby or a pink sapphire depends on the intensity, or tone, of the red color.

Basically, a red corundum stone is called a ruby.

All shades lighter than red are classified as pink sapphires.

The intensity of the color is determined by the chromium content, so the more chromium in the gem, the deeper the color.  

If you’re in doubt about whether your stone is a ruby or a pink sapphire, you might need to rely on the expertise of a professional gemmologist.

In the United States, a gem increases in value as its color intensity increases towards red.

How do You Identify Them?

Pink sapphires come in a variety of shades including light pink, purplish-pink, orangey-pink, and many shades in between.

It can be very difficult to tell the difference between a ruby and pink sapphire.

The International Gem Society (IGM) recognizes that there is no international consensus.

Subsequently, they allow that gems can be classified as both ‘pinkish rubies’ and pink sapphires.

Where Can You Find Them?

These gemstones are mined in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and East Africa; however, most pink sapphires come from Madagascar.

Before these mines were discovered in 1990, pink sapphires were believed to be extremely rare.

Today, they are still quite rare, but they are an affordable and beautiful alternative to pink diamonds.

One of the rarest types of sapphires is the Padparadscha, which varies in hue from pink-orange to orange-pink.

It is generally found in Sri Lanka, but can also be mined in Vietnam and parts of East Africa.

What Are They Used For?

Pink sapphires are used widely as a focal point for jewelry.

It has a very vibrant and varied color spectrum, with a shade to suit everyone.

Although they are well suited for necklaces, bracelets, and even tiaras, pink sapphires excel as stones for engagement rings.

They are hardy and tough and an excellent alternative to the more expensive option of a pink diamond.

Interestingly, pink rubies also have industrial uses.

For example, the first working laser in the world was created by Hughes Research Labs in 1960 and it contained a pink sapphire that was used to create an intense beam of light.

What Are Blue Sapphires?

Blue sapphires are the most well-known of all sapphire gemstones.

Their color tone is varied, with hues ranging from a dark velvety blue to a lighter cornflower blue.

How do You Identify Them?

Thanks to their vibrant blue color, blue sapphires are easy to identify.

Their value lies in the purity of this blue color, with the highest money paid for gems with the deepest color.

You can visit one of the largest cut blue sapphires in the world at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

From Sri Lanka, this 423-carat (84.6 gram) gem is known as the Logan sapphire.

Where Can You Find Them?

Unlike pink sapphires, blue sapphires are found around the world, with major deposits in Australia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, as well as parts of the United States and many countries in Africa.

In North America, there are significant blue sapphire deposits in Montana, specifically close to the Missouri River, Dry Cottonwood Creek near Deer Lodge, and Rock Creek near Philipsburg.

What Are They Used For?

Today, lasers contain synthetic corundum minerals that are used in barcode scanners, rangefinders, printers, and machines that cut tough materials, remove hair and tattoos, and even in surgical equipment.

What Are the Similarities between Pink and Blue Sapphires?

Both pink and blue sapphires are varieties of the mineral corundum.

They share the same chemical composition and are often found in the same locations.

What Are the Differences between Pink and Blue Sapphires?

The only difference between pink and blue sapphires is the color, which is caused by impurities in the mineral.

Blue and pink sapphires usually occur in the same places, but they tend to be found in different geological formations.

For example, both types are mined from the Mogok Stone Tract in Myanmar, but the pink sapphires come from marble, while the blue ones form in granitic rock.

Is It Easy to Confuse the Two?

It is not easy to confuse blue and pink sapphires because they are different colors.

No matter your preference, there’s no doubt that both blue and pink sapphires are some of the most spectacular and stunning gemstones in the world.

Whether you’re an amateur rockhound looking to learn, or a potential bride searching for the perfect engagement ring gem, this article provides everything you need to know about pink and blue sapphires.

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pink sapphire vs blue sapphire