Guide to blue gemstones

Blue happens to be one of my favorite jewelry colors, and my customers tell me I’m not alone :)  Those of us who love blue have a lovely selection of gemstones available to us, and I’ll bet you haven’t even heard of some of these!trans Guide to blue gemstones

Apatite – this is a beautiful, translucent gemstone that comes in a range of colors from a vibrant light blue to an incredible, almost neon electric blue to a very dark blue approaching navy.  It is a brittle stone, so treat your apatite jewelry with care.

Aquamarine – a translucent stone with a lovely, faint blue color.  Lower grades are sometimes available in bead form, while the most expensive material is cut into faceted gems and cabochons.  Both the bead and gem forms are beautiful; gem aquamarine will be brighter and clearer.

Azurite – a dark blue stone with a color similar to lapis lazuli, typically found in combination with malachite.  Azurite/malachite beads and cabochons are common; azurite alone is very rarely seen.

Blue aventurine: The most common form of aventurine is a lovely green, but there is a much harder to find blue variant that has an addicting soft glow. I’m constantly on the lookout for blue aventurine to add to my designs!

Blue Lace Agate – a lovely, semi-translucent light blue agate with a gorgeous banding pattern.

Blue Sapphire (not all sapphires are blue, did you know that?) – One of the hardest gemstones, blue sapphire ranges from opaque (lower grade, usually available in bead form and very beautiful) to translucent (gem grade, almost always cut into faceted stones and set in high-end jewelry).  Sapphire is a form of corundum, which comes in many colors, including red corundum which is known as ruby.

Blue tigereye: This is a rare form of the semi-precious stone tigereye, which is normally golden brown. Nice quality blue tigereye in any shape or form is very hard for me to find, which is a pity. At first glance it appears black, and in many lighting conditions that’s what you’ll see, so if you like black you’ll like blue tigereye. The extra treat comes when you view it at an angle; brilliant blue lines of light pop out of it! It’s like black with a special bonus, and it’s great fun to point out to people.

Blue Topaz – Blue topaz comes in many shades of blue, notably Swiss blue and London blue.  It is a bright, clear gemstone typically cut into faceted gems for setting in gold or silver.

Blue Tourmaline (also known as indicolite) – A deep, transparent, often very slightly greenish blue stone.  Tourmaline comes in a wide range of colors; the blue form is one of the rarer ones.  Usually faceted into gems for setting in gold and silver.

Kyanite – lower grades have a visible crystalline structure and a lighter color; top grades are transparent with a deep blue that rivals the best high-grade sapphire.

Labradorite: This stone reminds me of nothing more than a deep, darkly stormy sky….the kind where the clouds are ominously dark and highlighted by brilliant sunlight and flashes of blue. It’s a gray stone with brilliant flashes of electric blue which jump out at one from various angles. There is a variety from Finland known as spectrolite that displays a wider variety of vivid color flashes.

Lapis lazuli: There is no more beautiful, deep a blue than that of high quality lapis lazuli, which was prized by the pharaohs of ancient Egypt and can be found in many of the treasures recovered from tombs. This valuable stone comes from Badakshan area of Afghanistan, the same mines operating today having supplied the lapis of the pharaohs and ancient Sumerians.

Larimar - A light blue stone reminiscent of Carribean blue waters.  Rare and expensive, but a nicely colored and patterned piece is worth the price.

Peruvian blue opal – While this material rarely displays the flashy plays of color typically associated with opal, it is a beautiful stone in its own right.  It is a lovely light blue that reminds me of tropical waters.

Sodalite – Sodalite is a beautiful blue stone, the most lovely of which has irregular lines and splashes of white which remind me of lightning flashing across a deep, stormy blue sky – there’s simply nothing that compares. There is also a softer, more uniform blue variation that is quite lovely, and a dark gray to black variant with white patterns. Sodalite is not a rare stone, but finding sodalite with good color and patterns can be a challenge. When I find it, I buy it! I suggest you do the same if a piece of sodalite jewelry strikes your fancy….you may never see it again.

Tengizite: An extraordinarily rare stone with an amazing appearance and a story to go with it. It was formed in 1986 when an oil drilling rig caught fire near Tengiz, Kazakhstan. The rig burned at 3000 degrees F and could not be extinguished for 14 months. Due to the intense heat, extensive changes to the mineral makeup of the immediate area took place. When the area finally cooled, some material in the ground re-formed as the obsidian-like material now dubbed Tengizite. Because of the small area and unusual circumstances of its formation, this is an extremely rare stone, and all of the raw material has been collected. My specimens are cut and polished entirely by hand by a US lapidary artist and are collector’s items indeed!Turquoise – Traditional turquoise blue turquoise has become very expensive and difficult to find in recent years.  Much turquoise currently on the market is heavily included with brown, or bears a greenish cast rather than a turquoise one.  Another current difficulty in purchasing turquoise is the prevalence of fakes.  Dyed magnesite can be an incredibly close match for real turquoise – if you see beautiful blue turquoise at a low cost, chances are it’s magnesite or “chalk turquoise” which is a white stone dyed to a turquoise color.   I buy only genuine, turquoise blue turquoise blue turquoise for my designs, often from the renowned Sleeping Beauty mine.