A COMPREHENSIVE LIST OF NATURAL AND SYNTHETIC BLUE GEMS
Written by: Wai Yan
1 May 2019
Click on the individual names to see more details about the gemstone.
By far, the most popular of the blue gemstones is the blue variety of the corundum family more commonly known as blue sapphire. Being 9 on the hardness scale, their durability is only second to Diamond. Synthetic blue sapphires cab be manufactured and are commonly sold at a fraction of the price of a natural. Famous localities of where they are found includes: Burma, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Australia and USA (Montana).
Aquamarine is another well known blue gemstone. It belongs to the Beryl mineral family with the likes of Emerald, Morganite and Heliodor to name a few. Most aquamarines are of light greenish blue colour out of the ground but heat treatment can turn them into a more attractive light blue colour without a hint of green. Aquamarines are found throughout the world but important sources are Brazil, Nigeria and Pakistan.
As the name suggests, Tanzanite comes from a East Africa country of Tanzania. They are a gem variety of the mineral Zoisite which naturally comes in a brownish to pale grey colour. The well known colour of Tazanites as we see it in jewellery are heat treated. This purplish blue gem is made famous by Tiffany and Company in the late 1960s and it's still a popular alternative to the more expensive blue sapphire.
Natural Blue Diamonds are extremely rare, even amongst other coloured diamonds. The colour is caused by trace impurities of Cobalt in the crystal structure of the diamond. They have been found in South Africa and Western Australia. Some types of colourless diamonds can also be treated (HTHP) to turn into a fancy blue colour.
London Blue and Swiss Blue are a few of the trade-names given to Blue Topazes. The blue colour does not come naturally, all Blue Topaz has been heated and irradiated to achieve its blue colour. Topaz is commonly found throughout the world.
Cornflower Blue Sapphire like colours can also be found in Spinels called Cobalt Spinels which are very rare and highly valued. Pure Cobalt spinels are only found in Vietnam. Sri Lanka also produces greenish blue spinels.
Toumaline is popular gemstone that also comes in wide range of colours including blue known as Indicolite. They come in shades of greenish blue to blue.
A brightly coloured neon blue version of a blue tourmaline. The name derives from the name of the region in Brazil that this type of copper bearing tourmaline were first found in. New Paraiba tourmaline deposits have now been discovered in Africa and Afghanistan.
Flourite can blue in light blue colours like that of a aquamarine too but its hardness being 4 makes it not ideal for use in jewellery. They can be used as imitants for other valuable blue gemstones.
A popular alternative for the Paraiba Tourmaline because Blue Apatite comes in similar colours but at a low cost. And for good reason, it's not a durable gemstone. With a hardness of 5, they are not ideal to be used in jewellery.
Often an imitation for the more valuable blue sapphire, gem quality Kyanite can come in a various shades of blue like that of blue sapphires. With a hardness of less than 7 and its brittle nature, Kyanite is not ideal for everyday jewellery.
Zircons can be heat treated to produce a bright sky blue coloured gemstone. They are highly desirable for their dispersion property which gives off diamond like 'fire'. Most of the Blue Zircons today comes from Cambodia.
A purplish blue variety of the mineral Cordierite that has similar appearance to Tanzanite. Iolites are strongly pleochroic and often used as an alternative for the more expensive blue sapphire.
Maxixe Blue Beryl
Another blue variety of the Beryl family that was first discovered in the Maxixe Mine in Minas Gerais, Brazil. The unique colour is unlike its cousin Aquamarine and can fade with exposure to sunlight.
Colour-change Blue Garnets were only very recently discovered in 2017. This rare variety of garnet can change from a teal blue to mint green under different light sources. Chemical analyses revealed its a mixture of Pyrope and Spessartine Garnets with Vanadium causing the colour change. Currently, the only source of these blue garnets are in Tanzania's Umba River Valley.
Rarely seen Beniotite is the state gemstone of California in the USA. The name come from the area that it was found in, San Benito. Its colours, optical and physical proprieties are very similar to that of sapphires although Beniotite has a much lower hardness of 6.
SYNTHETIC BLUE SAPPHIRE
Synthetic Corundum has been around since the early 1900s. Many methods are used today to manufacture Synthetic Blue Sapphires including: Vernuli Flame Fusion, Czochralski Pulling and Flux. They are commonly useed as simulants for Natural Sapphires.
SYNTHETIC Blue Cubic Zarconia
The popular diamond imitation Cubic Zirconia can also come in different hues of Blue that can imitate Blue Diamonds, Aquamarines and other Blue gemstones.
SYNTHETIC Blue Glass
The most common and least expensive material to imitate natural gemstones. Commonly used in costume jewellery.
SYNTHETIC Blue Quartz
Gem quality Blue Quartz doesn't occur in Nature but can be grown in a laboratory. Used as imitation for other valuable blue gemstones.
Synthetic Blue Spinel
Synthetic Spinels are another common imitant in the jewellery industry because they can be manufactured in a wide range of colours. Often found in light blue colour to imitate Natural Aquamarine but can also come in a more saturated blue to imitate Blue Sapphire and Blue Spinel.
Is a purplish blue coloured lab created gemstone that often imitate Natural Tanzanite. Forsterite is a member of the Olivine family that naturally occurs as Peridot but never in Blue.
Lapis for short, is a intense to deep blue coloured ornamental gemstone of the semi-precious category. Often seen with Pyrite (gold flakes) inclusions
Turquoise is an opaque copper bearing ornamental gemstone that has been valued for its beauty for thousands of years. Its unique blue-green colour has been given its own name, Turquoise.
Chrysocolla is a translucent to opaque blue green copper bearing variety of Chalcedony from the Quartz family. Also known as Gem Silica in the gem trade.
Sodalite is similar to Lapis Lazuli in appearnce but is a different mineral. Often used as an imitant to Lapis but the white streaks and lack of pyrite inclusions gives it away. Sodalite is part of the aggregates of Lipas Lazuli.
Amazonite is a greenish blue coloured ornamental gemstone from the Amazon River. It belongs to the microcline group of minerals in the Feldspar family.
Labradorite is a popular ornamental gemstone with an interesting sheen called Labradorescence. It belongs to the Feldspar family in the Plagioclase series. They comes in mixed arrays of colours with some primary colours being blue to blue-green.
Precious Blue Opal
Precious Opals usually comes in a mix of rainbow colours but occasionally their predominant colour can be blue with beautiful plays of colour. This mineral can be delicate with up to 21% (in weight) of its composition being water.
Blue Peruvian opal
Found in the Andes mountain range, Peruvian Opals are the national gemstone of Peru. They come in Pink and Blue colours. Unlike precious opal it does not display any play of colour but equally delicate due to high amounts of water content.