Gemstone Colors

What we all love about gemstones is the great variety of colors they come in. Whether it is emerald, aquamarine, peridot, beryl, star sapphires or rubies- we will teach you about the various precious stones colors, gem shades etc. We advise you what to take into consideration when choosing the right color of your gem, and what is considered most valuable.


Color is undoubtedly the most important criteria for evaluating and selecting gem varieties. Because gemstones come in a rainbow of shades, therefore color grading can be very complex. The three key criteria experts look at are hue, tone, and saturation. These attributes combine to create the colors we observe in stones. Lighting is another important factor; gemstone color and brilliance can appear very different depending on the light source.

Gemstone Color Chart

Major factors that determine color of a gemstone


The hue of a gemstone is its base color. Hue can combine to produce additional hues in precious stones, such as orangish-red, yellow orange, yellow green, green blue,or violet blue. The Gemological Institute of America (GIA) has developed a list of 31 hues for describing gemstones: 7 base hues and 24 combination hues. Gemstones with a single pure hue tend to be the most highly valued.


Tone describes the lightness to darkness of a gem color. A pink gemstone, for instance, might be categorized as “light pink” or “medium pink”. The GIA tone scale has a total of 11 points, going from colorless to black.


Saturation is the intensity or purity of a color. With lower saturation, gemstone color becomes less pure and a gray or brown hue can be seen. The most desirable gem variety is those with strong saturation and even color throughout.

According to the GIA saturation scale, there are six degrees of saturation, ranging from grayish or brownish to vivid. As saturation decreases, gemstones with cool hues can appear grayish, while gemstones with warm hues can appear brownish.

Gemstones by color

Red Gemstones

Star Ruby, Beryl, Red Diamond, Malaya Garnet, Star Garnet, Almandine Garnet, Pyrope Garnet, Rhodolite Garnet, Amber, Fire Opal, Tourmaline, red coral, red Spinel, Imperial Topaz, Sunstone, red Tourmaline, red Zircon

Green Gemstones

Emerald, Green Garnets: Tsavorite and Demantoid Garnet, Chrome Diopside, Jadeite, Green Sapphire, Green Chrome Tourmaline, Bloodstone, Green Diamond, Green Chrysoberyl, Green Beryl

Blue Green / Blue Gemstones

Sapphire, Blue Tourmaline, Blue Tanzanite, Iolite, Flourite, Aquamarine, Blue Opal, Blue Spinel, Turquoise, Lapis Lazuli, Blue Zircon

Violet or Purple Gemstones

Amethyst, Garnet, Topaz, purple or violet Sapphire, Iolite, Tanzanite, Purple Diamonds, Purple Chalcedony, Purple Spinel, Purple Jade, Purple Fluorite, Purple Kunzite, Purple Tourmaline.

Pink Gemstones

Rose Quartz, Star Ruby, Rhodonite, Rubellite, Pink Tourmaline, Pink Opal, Pink Fluorite, Kunzite, Morganite, Star Garnet, and Pink Spinel.

Orange Gemstones

Orange Diamond, Orange Sapphire, Orange Zircon, Imperial Topaz, Oregon Sunstone, Spessartite Garnet, Mexican Fire Opal, Orange Spinel, Amber, Helidor, Spinel, Tourmaline, Quartz, Sapphire.

Black Gemstones

Obsidian, Black Tourmaline, Black Onyx, Tahitian Pearl, Black Opal, Schorl Tourmaline

Yellow Gemstones

Citrine, yellow Sapphire, Topaz, yellow Tourmaline, Transparent Opal, yellow andradite garnet, spessartine and Mali Garnets, yellow Beryl, Sphene, yellow Zircon, Spodumene and transparent varieties of Labradorite and Orthoclase Feldspar.

White Gemstones or Colorless Gemstones

Diamonds, White Sapphire, White Topaz, White Agate, Pearls, White Opals, White Jade, White Jasper.

Multicolor Gemstones & Colorful Gemstones

Multicolor Agate, multicolor ammolite, Multicolor andalusite, Multicolor black opal, Multicolor bloodstone, Multicolor cat’s eye opal, Multicolor chocolate opal, Multicolor chrysocolla,  multicolor color change diaspore, Multicolor color change fluorite, Multicolor color change garnet, untreated multicolor color change sapphires, Multicolor coral, Multicolor dendritic agate, Multicolor fire agate, Multicolor fluorite, Multicolor hawk’s eye gemstones, Multicolor labradorite, Multicolor mystic quartz , Multicolor mystic topaz, Rainbow pyrite, Multicolor rhodochrosite, Multicolor ruby-zoisite.

Frequently Asked Questions

Gemstones can be a variety of different colours. Diamonds are typically completely transparent and white, rubies are red, sapphires come in varying blue hues aswell as blue topaz, amethysts can be purple and violet, and emeralds are green. Stones that are typically green, for example, can have different colours if they have any impurities or inclusions such as yellow-green, greenish blue.
The rare gemstone is called Painite which was only discovered in 1950 by a British gemologist called Arthur Charles Davy Pain. Up until 2005, it was believed that there still fewer than 25 known examples in the world.
High-quality rubies, sapphires and emeralds are less abundant than diamonds and, as such, are often more expensive. That said, flawless diamonds can cost well in excess of $10,000 per carat as their supply and how they are cultivated is tightly controlled by the authorities.
Colors of gemstones are graded by clarity or how pure they appear as well as the quality of color saturation.
Fluorite gemstones and quartz are regarded as the most colourful gemstones. The minerals often display a wide variety of colours and look magnificent in bright lighting. Although they are not the most valuable, they are popular with collectors.
Diamonds are often used as a symbol of eternal love.
Of all the different sapphire colors the blue velvet-like color of the Kashmir sapphire is the most prized and the most expensive.
Zircon crystal colors range from  blue, brown, champagne, cinnamon, coffee, cognac, golden, green, honey, orange, raspberry, red, saffron, turmeric, white (colorless), and yellow.
Both rubies and sapphires owe their intense colors to impurities. Ruby is due to the presence of chromium, and blue sapphire contains both titanium and iron.
The colors of emeralds include hues ranging from yellow-green to blue-green, with the primary hue being green.
Ruby colors can range from blood-red to orangy-red, purple-red, brown-red or even  pink-red shades.
Gemstone color can be broken down into three categories: hue, tone, and saturation. These are determined  by impurities or trace elements exist in their crystal structure.