Gemstones by Color
Many people purchase gems by type - for example, they want to buy a sapphire, 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, as long as the stone they buy is durable enough for their purpose. Since color is indeed the most important factor for most people when it comes to buying loose gemstones, it only makes sense to start your search by shopping for gemstones by color.
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. This means that a red-orange gem can fall into the "orange" or "red" category and a blue-green stone would be in the "green" or "blue" category.
More information on red gemstones for jewelry.
The most popular pink gemstones are tourmaline and spinel. Pink sapphire is lovely but rare, especially in gems weighing over 1 carat. Rhodolite garnet tends to be purple-pink. Compared to other colors, the list of pink gemstones is quite short.
More information on pink gemstones for jewelry.
The classic blue gemstone is sapphire. Deeply 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 be blue-green.
More information on blue gemstones for jewelry.
The traditional green gem is emerald, but tsavorite garnet, chrome tourmaline and chrome diopside are also good alternatives. See our feature article on chrome diopside for the recent history of the market for the finer green gemstones. Peridot, which tends to be olive green, has become an important jewelry gemstone.
More information on green gemstones for jewelry.
Yellow / Gold Gemstones
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 chrysoberyl. Canary yellow tourmaline from Malawi is very rare.
More information on yellow gemstones for jewelry.
Violet / Purple Gemstones
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.
More information on violet and purple gemstones for jewelry.
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.
More information on white gemstones for jewelry.
Brown / Bronze Gemstones
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.
Gray / Silver Gemstones
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.
More information on black gemstones for jewelry.
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.
- First Published: January-09-2008
- Last Updated: January-21-2019
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