You may think of sapphire when asked to recall blue gemstones, but did you know many other gemstones are also available in shades of blue?
Agate – Agates are often found in affordable sterling silver or costume jewelry. Blue agate occurs naturally, but can also be dyed. The color ranges from pale lavender to deep violet. It is also often found in banded varieties with other colors mixed in. Among the rarest is the Ellensburg blue agate, found in Washington State. Agate is quite durable and makes beautiful jewelry.
Apatite – Apatite comes in several color variations, most notably tropical blue. It can be opaque or transparent, depending on the quality of the stone. It is a fairly soft stone (5 on the Moh’s scale) and is easy to break. It does make beautiful earrings and pendants.
Aquamarine – Aquamarine comes from the same family of gems as emeralds. It is a durable stone available in shades from pale blue to bright blue. The deeper the color, the more valuable the stone. Aquamarines are one of March’s birthstones.
Azurite – A soft stone, Azurite is named for its` azure blue color. It usually comes in shades of blue and green as it is often mixed with green malachite. Azurite is best worn in necklaces and earrings as it is not a very durable stone. It is considered a birthstone for those born under the Aquarius zodiac sign.
Benitoite – Known for its intense blue color, gem-quality benitoite crystals have only been found in San Benito County, California. it can easily be mistaken for sapphire or blue spinel. Like iolite, stones are often included. The most valuable stones are completely transparent like quality diamonds.
Cavansite – Found in shades from blue-green aqua to bright cobalt blue, cavansite is technically a mineral rather than a gemstone. Originally discovered in 1967 in Malheur County, Oregon, most cavansite is now mined in regions of India. It is used in all kinds of jewelry, typically in its raw form, or as a cabochon-cut stone.
Chalcedony – Blue chalcedony is a type of quartz stone. Chalcedony comes in many colors, among them a lovely periwinkle blue. It makes a lovely cabochon-cut stone and is very pretty in sterling silver jewelry. Deeper blues are typically dyed stones.
Chrysocolla – Typically a deep blue-green, chrysocolla is known as a copper stone as copper creates its color. The name comes from the ancient Greek χρυσός (chrysos) and κολλα (kolla), “gold” and “glue” in reference to the name of a material used to solder gold.
Diamond – The most popular diamond color is white, but blue diamonds are a close second. There are a few rare natural blue diamonds in existence but the vast majority seen in jewelry have been irradiated to get their blue color. Diamonds are very hard and durable stones.
Dumortierite – Often a lovely denim blue color, dumortierite also comes in brown, green, violet and pink. Dumortierite was first described in 1881 for an occurrence in Chaponost, in French alps and named for the French paleontologist Eugène Dumortier.
Fluorite – Fluorite is a beautiful stone that is very soft (4 on the Moh’s Scale) and should be worn carefully. Also called fluorspar, this stone is typically used in chemical applications, but some stones are transparent enough to use as gemstones. There are many colors of fluorite available, including blue, which is typically a bright azure color.
Grandidierite – Typically known as a green stone, Grandidierite is also found in beautiful tropical blue shades. It was first discovered in 1902 in southern Madagascar. The mineral was named in honor of French explorer Alfred Grandidier. It is not often seen in jewelry due to its rareness.
Hawk’s Eye – Hawk’s eye is a variety of Tiger’s eye quartz that comes in shades of blue. It is also known as Silicified Crocidolite as well as Falcon’s Eye and Rodusite. Valued for its bands that appear to move with the light, it can be found in many places around the work including India, Brazil, Australia, and the United States.
Iolite – Iolite is typically known as a purple stone, but its color can vary to a deep purplish-blue. Iolite is a variety of the mineral cordierite, names after French geologist Cordier. The name iolite comes from ios, the Greek word for violet. Iolite is often confused with amethyst. It is difficult to find without inclusions.
Jadite – Green is the most common and popular color of jade but it can be found in blue shades with green undertones. There are actually two kinds of jade, nephrite, and jadeite. Jadeite is considered higher quality and more valuable but it is difficult to tell the difference.
Jeremejevite – A rare mineral, Jeremejevite was first found in the Adun-Chilon Mountains of Siberia. It was named after Russian mineralogist Pavel Vladimirovich Eremeev (Eremeev is Jeremejev in German). It comes in many shades ranging from periwinkle blue to deep purple.
Kyanite – A beautiful blue-gray stone, kyanite has only become popular as a gemstone in recent years. It typically comes in an opaque variety with veins of white but can be found in translucent, gemstone quality specimens. It also comes in shades of pale green.
Labradorite – A beautiful stone, labradorite is sometimes confused with blue tiger’s eye (Hawk’s Eye). The shades of color come from light refraction inside the stone, known as labradorescence. While not commonly used in jewelry, there are pieces available.
Lapis Lazuli – Typically referred to simply as lapis, or blue lapis, this stone is commonly found in Native American jewelry. Originally mined in the mountains of Afganistan, crushed lapis was ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments. It makes beautiful jewelry. The best specimens are free of the commonly found white calcium flecks.
Larimar – Larimar is only found in one place on the planet, the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean. The stone is typically a light aqua blue with white veins. It can be confused with turquoise but is often more valuable. Most larimar jewelry is set in silver, but higher-grade specimens are sometimes set with gold.
Moonstone – Most moonstones are white or white with rainbow iridescence, however, some moonstones are naturally blue. Colors range from a pale blue to a light azure. It can be solid in color, or iridescent. The name comes from the mythical belief that the stone captured the light of the moon.
Opal – Opals come in many colors including pink, green, orange and white. Blue opals are one of the rarer varieties. They have less iridescence than other varieties of opal but their lovely blue color is very attractive in jewelry. Blue opals typically come from Peru but are also found in Nevada and Oregon.
Pearl – Pearls come in many natural colors, among them the common white or ivory, but blue pearls are particularly beautiful. The color is found naturally in cultured Akoya and South Sea oysters. Initially, these were considered inferior and thrown away when discovered. Today blue pearls are becoming more popular.
Sapphire – The most popular and well-known of the blue gemstones, sapphires are renowned for their deep blue color and durability. They have been worn by royalty for millennia. today Sapphires are known as September’s birthstone. While blue is the most popular, they also come in pink and purple.
Shattuckite – A beautiful copper-rich mineral, shattuckite was first discovered in 1915 in the copper mines of Bisbee, Arizona in the Shattuck Mine (which gives it its name). It is a relatively rare stone that is actually formed from other gemstones. It is often a transformation of malachite, which explains why the two stones are found together.
Smithsonite – Also called zinc spar, The distinct mineral smithsonite was named in honor of mineralogist James Smithson whose bequest established the Smithsonian Institution and who first identified the mineral in 1802. It is typically used in its raw form or carved into a cabochon for jewelry.
Sodalite – Commonly confused with lapis lazuli, sodalite is a beautiful blue and white stone. It is very affordable and makes beautiful jewelry. Sodalite is found in many regions of North America, Russia, and Greenland.
Spinel – A stunning deep blue gemstone, blue spinel is highly sought after. Unlike many other blue gemstones, the blue color of spinel occurs naturally. Many stones listed as blue spinels are actually lab-created. Lab spinel was accidentally discovered in early attempts to create sapphires.
Topaz – Known for its bright tropical blue color, topaz actually comes in several shades of blue. London blue (with green-gray hues) and Swiss blue (comparable to aquamarine) are the most popular. Natural blue topaz is very rare. Most blue stones are heat-treated to achieve their color. Topaz also comes in other shades such as brown, yellow and pink.
Tourmaline – Blue tourmaline comes in shades that resemble green-blue waters. The most popular varieties are Indicolite blue and Paraiba tourmalines. Neon blue-green Paraiba’s were originally discovered in Brazil in 1989, but have since been found in Nigeria and Mozambique.
Turquoise – One of the most popular gemstones of the American southwest and Mexico, turquoise is also found in Iran, Chile, China, and Tibet. It comes in shades from pale blue to bright green. The most common shade of turquoise is a greenish-blue tone that resembles a robin’s egg, but the blue tone can also be a deep green-blue that looks like tropical waters. It is often found in native-made jewelry ue that looks like tropical waters. It is often found in native-made jewelry.
Tanzanite – Typically known for its purple shade, tanzanite also comes a deep purplish-blue gemstone. It is only mined in one place in the world, Tanzania. The area where it is found is only about four miles long by one mile wide. Tanzanite was named by Tiffany and company after it was discovered in 1967. It should be worn carefully as this softer stone can easily be damaged.
Vivianite – Usually found as deep blue to deep bluish-green, vivianite was named after either John Henry Vivian, a mine owner and mineralogist, or Jeffrey G. Vivian, an English mineralogist. It was first discovered at Wheal Kind, in St Agnes, Cornwall. It starts out clear, but changes color upon exposure to the air.
Zircon -Zircon is often confused with cubic zirconia. Zircon is a natural stone whereas CZ’s are man-made. Blue and white are the most common naturally occurring colors of zircon. Blue zircon is a soft stone that wears best in necklaces and earrings where it’s less likely to be damaged. It also comes in other shades, including pink.