The traditionally known color for sapphire is the blue. A good portion of Australian blue sapphire tend towards being a richer, darker navy blue, however Australia does also produces bright and vibrant stones comparable to fine quality Ceylon or other premium sapphire bearing regions. These beauties generally come from the New England (around Glen Innes and Inverell) region of N.S.W. and are of very fine quality. Overseas buyers regularly visit the area buying up the sapphires and then “rebrand” them as being from more premium locations to command a high price in overseas markets. Lower quality stones are sold off as being Australian sapphire keeping the misconception going. In doing so the reputation of Australian blue sapphire has taken a battering. It is true that lower quality inky blue sapphires are also found in Australia however low quality sapphire is found at all mining locations including Sri Lanka.
Star sapphire is corundum (mineral name for sapphire) that when cut en cabochon demonstrate a phenomenon known as asterism or star. The asterism is associated with intersecting needle like inclusion most commonly composed of the mineral rutile. Star sapphire most commonly exhibit a star with 6 rays or legs however in rare circumstances 12 rayed stars are known to exist. The extra 6 rays are due to the presence of Hematite platelets along with rutile. When held is direct sun light or single point sourced light a star forms on the surface of the gem and seems to float over the surface as the gem is moved.
Parti sapphires are unique gemstones where the sapphire is not one solid color. Some of the best examples of parti (also known as bi coloured) sapphires are mined in Australia and consist of unique blends of yellows/ greens and blues. Depending on the cut of the stone and angle they’re viewed, unusual colour effects can be seen within the gemstone. Therefore parti’s are brilliant for people that like rare, individualised gemstones with character and uniqueness. Parti sapphires really are one of a kind gems.
Green Sapphire is classed as being a fancy colored sapphire and some of the best examples of Green Sapphire come from the Willows area in the Central Queensland Gemfields. These are known locally as being Willows Greens and are comparable to the best greens found throughout the world. Green sapphire color ranges from a light yellowy green to a dark forest green through to a bluish green which resembles the blue/ green of the ocean. Green Sapphire is far more brilliant than emerald, much harder and durable than peridot, tsavorite or tourmaline. Therefore making Green sapphire a good choice for rings that are worn reularly as it has a hardness of 9 on the mohs scale while emerald is a 7.5 to 8.
Another of the fancy colored sapphires is yellow and is one of the most sought after color behind blue and padpradasch. Some of the world’s best quality yellow sapphires originate from the Central Queensland gem fields in Australia! Yellow sapphire color can range from a very light greenish yellow through to an intense orangey yellow. A premium colored yellow sapphire tends to be intense yellow to orangey yellow with vivid color saturation taking on a somewhat golden color.
Zircon should not be associated with cubic zirconia as zircon is a natural stone created through tectonic events whereas cubic zirconia is a completely man made synthetic. Not only is one CZ lab created but it is a completely different mineral makeup. Australian zircon crystal colors can range from clear, pinks, reds, oranges through to champagne colors. Due to having a very high refractive index, zircon has a fire or sparkle which is comparable to diamond and has been used as a diamond simulant. Zircon is one of the oldest known minerals on earth with specimens from Western Australia being aged up to 4.404 billion years old.
Up to 97% of the world’s precious opal is sourced from Australian mines with the very best black opal being mined in the opal fields surrounding lightning ridge in New South Wales. Opal fire can come in all colors of the light spectrum with a red / blue on black opal potch being highly sought after and expensive color combination. Opal has been affectionately named the ‘mother of all gemstones’ for the myriad of color play that is possible. By just moving an opal just a couple of degrees the stone can change drastically where one would think they were looking at a completely different gem. That is the beauty of opal; they are unique and change characteristics depending how they are viewed.