What Is Black Sapphire?

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“Sapphire” is frequently used as a synonym for the word “blue”. Indeed, most people associate the sapphire gemstone with a deep blue color. But did you know that sapphires are available in an array of colors, including black?

Sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum popularly used in jewelry. Corundum is the crystalline form of an aluminum oxide mineral that contains traces of other elements such as iron, titanium, vanadium, and chromium. These trace elements are responsible for creating the wide variety of colors you see in natural sapphires.

Though blue sapphire is undoubtedly the most sought-after color variety for this gem, other colors have slowly been gaining popularity – just look at Princess Eugenie’s stunning padparadscha sapphire engagement ring!

Black gemstones have also experienced an enormous surge in popularity in recent times, with black diamonds becoming a trendy option for engagement rings. However, many people don’t know that black sapphire is a more affordable alternative to these unusual gems.

Read on to find out more about black sapphires and why they are an excellent choice for a range of jewelry settings.

Sapphire Colors

As mentioned above, sapphires come in a range of colors besides blue. These are called “fancy” sapphires, and you can find them in pink, green, yellow, orange, purple, and black, even colorless. But you will never find any red sapphires because red corundum is called ruby.

Along with a wide variety of solid colors, you also get multicolored sapphires called Parti sapphires. The most well-known (and hence the most valuable) multicolored sapphire is the padparadscha sapphire, which features a combination of orange and pink hues. The color variations in these stones result from the different quantities of trace elements present when the crystal is being formed.

So, even though blue is the most desirable color for these colored gemstones, it is by no means your only option.

How Is Black Sapphire Formed And Where Does It Come From?

Black sapphire is formed from the same aluminum oxide mineral as other varieties of corundum, and large quantities of it are mined in Australia.

While most sapphires are translucent, black sapphires can appear opaque. This is because the opaque varieties don’t reflect much light; their color is so dark that it absorbs all the light that enters them, making them appear solid black.

Although the word “black” implies that these crystals are lacking in color, their actual color ranges from brownish-black or dark brown to dark green (check out this pear cut green sapphire from James Allen, for example). They can also sometimes appear dark blue or gray.

Black Sapphire Properties And Uses

Like blue sapphires and the rest of their colorful counterparts, black sapphires are exceptionally durable. They are ranked 9 on the Mohs scale for mineral hardness, making them the second-hardest substance in the natural world, after diamond.

In addition, black sapphire is thought to possess a great deal of spiritual power, absorbing any negative physical and spiritual energy that may affect the wearer. Moreover, black sapphire offers protection against bullying and helps keep you calm in stressful or difficult situations.

Besides helping to regulate spiritual energies, black sapphire is also coveted for its healing properties. It is believed to be beneficial in treating blood disorders, helping to ease excessive bleeding, curing blood clots, and alleviating deep vein thrombosis. It can also act as a pain reliever as your physical body regains strength after injury or trauma.

Black sapphire is also a good crystal to have for relieving fears, specifically fear of the dark. Furthermore, it is a source of constant stimulation, helping you maintain mental clarity and focus when dealing with complex matters.

Is Black Sapphire A Good Substitute For Onyx?

Black sapphire is often confused with onyx due to its solid black appearance, making it an excellent substitute for this precious gem.

As it so happens, black sapphire is also a more practical choice than onyx for fine jewelry, especially rings. This is because black sapphire is the harder substance, with a score of 9 out of 10 on the Mohs scale.

So, if you’re looking for a stone the same color as onyx but with a higher wearability grade, black sapphire is the way to go.

Is Black Sapphire The Same as Black Star Sapphire?

Black star sapphire may have an almost identical name to black sapphire, but they are not the same stone.

On the contrary, black star sapphires belong to an extremely rare group of gemstones that display asterism, a phenomenon that produces a star-shaped body of light within a stone. Minute fibrous inclusions and impurities within the crystal structure of the gemstone are responsible for causing the star effect.

Black star sapphire owes its star to traces of the mineral hematite, but other star sapphire varieties result from titanium dioxide impurities (known as rutile).

Thailand, West Africa, and India are the largest suppliers of natural black star sapphires, but synthetic variants are also widely produced.

You can tell the difference between a synthetic black star sapphire and a natural one by examining their stars. Synthetic sapphires have perfectly symmetrical stars, whereas natural sapphires usually have slightly uneven ones. Another way to check whether a star sapphire was produced in a lab or not is to shine a flashlight on the stone, making small circular movements with the light. The star on a natural stone will follow the light source, but if it stays in the same position, the stone is synthetic.

Due to their rarity and beauty, black star sapphires are prized and valuable, costing well over $1,000 per carat.

Are Black Sapphires Valuable?

Unfortunately, professional gemologists consider black sapphires low-quality gemstones. This, combined with the fact that they can be mined in large quantities, contributes to their low price.

That being said, black sapphire jewelry is generally inexpensive, making it a more affordable alternative to some of the more costly black gemstones.

Verdict: Should You Buy Black Sapphire?

Despite being regarded as a low-grade variety of the mineral corundum, several attributes make black sapphire worth it.

For one, black sapphires are more affordable than black diamonds and other black gemstones, making black sapphire jewelry an excellent option for people with a tight budget.

Secondly, black sapphire has a hardness rating of 9 on the Mohs scale, making it highly scratch-resistant and excellent for daily wear in all types of jewelry settings. It also means that the stone’s luster is not likely to fade over time and only requires minimal maintenance.

Finally, black sapphire is a beautiful alternative for other solid black gemstones like onyx, which is not only more expensive but also less durable (ranking only 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale).

Overall, black sapphire is a cost-effective and durable gemstone, making it an excellent addition to any jewelry collection.

Where Can You Buy Black Sapphire Jewelry?

You can find black sapphire jewelry online, but be sure to buy from a reputable seller like James Allen or Blue Nile. Always read the customer reviews before making a purchase and ask whether they can provide you with a gemstone certificate (a report that ascertains the origin and quality of a particular stone).


Frequently Asked Questions about Sapphires

How many sapphire colors are there?

Sapphires come in all colors of the color wheel except red – red sapphires are called rubies. White and black sapphires also exist.

Are black sapphires real?

Yes, black sapphires are real gemstones. They belong to the same mineral species as the blue gemstone that most people associate with sapphire.

What is the rarest color for a sapphire?

Padparadscha is the rarest color found in natural sapphires. It exhibits a combination of orange and pink hues in a single stone.

What is the most expensive color for a sapphire?

Padparadscha sapphires are expensive due to their rarity, but blue sapphires are expensive due to their popularity.

What is the least expensive color for a sapphire?

Green sapphires are usually the cheapest color variation due to their color zoning, which results in an uneven distribution of color. However, black sapphires are also very affordable because they are mined in large quantities and are considered low-grade sapphire.

What is the most common color for a sapphire?

Blue is the most popular color for sapphire, ranging from a light cornflower blue to pure vivid blue. Stones that exhibit a dark blue color are the most valuable among the blue sapphires. The most expensive blue sapphire is the Kashmir sapphire, which displays a dark color resembling blue velvet.

What produces a sapphire’s color?

Sapphire comes in a range of colors due to various trace elements in the crystal.
For example, pink sapphires contain small quantities of chromium (large amounts result in red corundum, which produces rubies), while yellow sapphires result from varying amounts of iron.


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