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Gems by Color

Many people purchase gems by type -- they want to buy a sapphire or a tourmaline or an amethyst. But one thing we've learned in the colored gem business is that most customers are concerned above all with color, and are less concerned with gem variety so long as the stone they buy is durable enough for their purpose.

Finding gems by color can often be difficult, since websites tend to organize their inventory around gem varieties rather than colors. So for those who want to know what their options are in particular colors, here is a list of gem types organized by color.

Since there are hundreds of color variations in colored gems, we have organized this list around "base" colors or color families. A red-orange gem would fall in the "orange" category and a blue-green stone in the "green" category.

Red
Red gemstones are actually quite rare, and mainly occur in ruby, spinel and garnet. There is some very fine red tourmaline (sometimes called rubellite), but is not often found.

Ruby
Natural Red Gemstones Spinel
Garnet
Tourmaline
Andesine
Zircon

Pink
The most popular pink gemstones are tourmaline and spinel. Pink sapphire is lovely but rare. Rhodolite garnet tends to the purple-pink. For more about pink gemstones see our feature article on the topic.

Sapphire
Tourmaline
Buy Pink Gemstones from GemSelect Spinel
Rhodolite Garnet
Rose Quartz
Kunzite
Morganite

Blue
The classic blue gemstone is sapphire. Deep saturated blue is also found in spinel and kyanite. There are a number of choices in the lighter blues, including topaz, zircon and aquamarine. Tanzanite and iolite are more of a violet blue, while paraiba tourmaline, apatite and fluorite tend to the blue-green.

Sapphire
Tanzanite
TopazBlue Gemstones at GemSelect
Zircon
Spinel
Aquamarine
Apatite
Lapis Lazuli
Tourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline
Rainbow Moonstone
Iolite
Kyanite
Agate
Fluorite

Green
The traditional green gem is emerald, but tsavorite garnet, chrome tourmaline and chrome diopside are good alternatives. See our feature article on chrome diopside for the recent history of the market for the finer green gemstones. Peridot, which tends more to the olive green, has become an important jewelry stone.

Emerald
Tourmaline
Paraiba Tourmaline
Buy Natural Green Gemstones Chrome Tourmaline
Tsavorite Garnet
Demantoid Garnet
Chrome Diopside
Peridot
Jade
Apatite
Sapphire
Aventurine
Prehnite
Agate
Ruby-Zoisite

Yellow/Gold
Citrine is the most common yellow to gold gem, but yellow sapphire is highly sought after. There are also good choices in harder gems such as beryl and chrysoberl. Yellow tourmaline from Malawi is very rare.

Sapphire
Citrine
Fire Opal
Yellow Golden Gemstones from GemSelect Tourmaline
Sphene
Zircon
Orthoclase
Chrysoberyl
Beryl
Spodumene
Quartz
Agate
Diamond

Violet/Purple
The list of violet and purple gemstones is quite short. Amethyst is the classic example, though fluorite can also be found in an amethyst-like purple. There are wonderful violet hues in spinel, tourmaline and sapphire. Chalcedony frequently occurs in a unique lavender hue.

Amethyst
Natural Violet Purple Gemstones Fluorite
Spinel
Tourmaline
Sapphire
Chalcedony

Orange
Spessartite garnet is the most famous orange gem but there are a number of other options as well. Orange sapphire is produced by heat treatment, while the finer fire opal occurs in hues from yellow-orange to red-orange.

Spessartite Garnet
Zircon
Buy Orange Gemstones from GemSelect Fire Opal
Sapphire
Tourmaline
Imperial Topaz
Moonstone
Star Moonstone
Citrine
Andesine

White
These category includes both colorless gems, such as diamond, sapphire, zircon and topaz, as well white gemstones like fire opal and moonstone.

Diamond
Sapphire
Natural White Gemstones Zircon
Moonstone
Topaz
Fire opal
Jade
Quartz
Agate

Brown/Bronze
It is fair to say that brown is not the most popular color in gemstones. But there are some notable exceptions, such as the peach-orange-bronze of imperial topaz.

Smoky Quartz
Buy Brown and Bronze Gemstones Tiger's eye
Agate
Tourmaline
Imperial Topaz

Gray/Silver
There are very few gemstones which are predominantly gray or silver. In our experience the most popular is spinel, whose brilliance and single refraction show gray and silver at its best.

Gray and Sliver Gemstones from GemSelect Spinel
Tourmaline
Fluorite

Black
We occasionally stock black diamonds (produced by irradiation). But by far the most popular black gemstone is tourmaline. The black star sapphires only found in Chanthaburi, Thailand are also very popular.

Diamond
Natural Black Gemstones at GemSelect Tourmaline
Onyx
Agate
Sapphire
Star Sapphire

Multicolor
In the category of multicolor gemstones we list those gems which display multiple colors in a single stone. Some of these gems, such as tourmaline, fluorite and ametrine, have zones of different colors. Others, such as andalusite, are strongly pleochroic and display different colors from different angles.

Tourmaline
Buy Multicolor Gemstones from GemSelect Ametrine
Fluorite
Andalusite
Opal
Sphene
Sapphire
Mystic Topaz
Mystic Quartz

  • First Published: January-09-2008
  • Last Updated: October-06-2010
  • © 2005-2014 GemSelect.com all rights reserved.
    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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