Clear, noble and calm, this is the colour blue
Together with the colour green it forms a landscape - it is the colour of the sky as well as water. It is therefore quite surprising that humanity was without the concept of the colour blue for a relatively long time. Even such an advanced and artistically productive civilisation as ancient Greece did not have a word for blue. In Homer's Odyssey, the sea was described as being dark red, and the colour blue does not appear at all in the entire work. It would seem that our perception of natural bodies such as the sky or water as being blue is conditioned by habit. Blue in its natural form actually occurs very little in nature. So also for this reason, the concept of the colour blue probably evolved along with the ability of people to create the colour artificially.
When the Egyptians began producing the first ever colour dye in ancient times, it was blue. They used ground limestone mixed with sand and minerals which contain copper such as lapis lazuli or malachite. Since this type of production was expensive, blue remained the colour of the upper class and the aristocracy for a long time and its widespread dissemination occurred very slowly. An important historical moment for the colour was the year 431, when the church assigned it as the colour of the Virgin Mary. Today we would call the colour of her blue dress navy. Blue has also become a symbol of innocence and trustworthiness, which is why it is chosen by many armies and police forces for their uniforms. Today, it is the most popular colour for both women and men, and there are countless variations and shades of it.
Blue gemstones throughout history and today
As we have outlined above, it was blue gemstones that were behind the birth of blue dye as well as the whole idea of the colour blue in ancient Egypt. Pure blue is rare in nature, which is also the case when it comes to precious stones. The sapphire is an exception to this as it is the only one which is genuinely blue. The other blue gemstones have some additional colour blended in them. With tanzanite it’s purple, while with turquoise and aquamarine it is green and most blue gemstones have acquired their colour as a result of some modification.
Blue gemstones have a calming influence. They also have a cooling effect and stones with this colour have been used throughout history as a treatment against inflammation, high blood pressure and burns. However the perception of individual blue gemstones depends a lot on their tone as well as their colour intensity. The lapis lazuli, sapphire and London topaz stand out with their dark blue shade. They radiate wisdom and dignity and they inspire trust and authority. The bright blue colour of Swiss topaz and the intense aquamarine have a cooling effect, which evokes a feeling of purity and a calm strength. Light blue gemstones including aquamarines that are less intense in colour, the turquoise or the sky blue topaz all signify peace, tranquillity, harmony and infinity.
A piece of jewellery with a blue gemstone is suitable for any occasion and will accompany a woman through every stage of her life. It will help you come across believably at important business meetings, give you peace of mind and will calm your emotions when you need it. It will accompany you on important moments in life.
A ring with a sapphire, blue diamond or aquamarine is a great choice for an engagement ring. At the Klenota jewellery studio we work predominantly with sapphires, aquamarines and blue topaz. But you will also find stylish tanzanites and rare blue diamonds in our collection.
Here is an overview of the most famous blue gemstones that nature has gifted us.
Diamonds with a natural blue colour are genuinely rare. Just to give you an idea, only 0.02% of the diamonds mined boast this distinguished colour. At the same time, they are usually high in purity as a result of the low instances of inclusions. They are therefore highly valued due to these two factors. A geological study from 2018 demonstrated that blue diamonds formed at a depth of about 400 miles, which is four times deeper than that of clear diamonds. Clear diamonds are composed solely of carbon atoms. The blue colour in diamonds occurs when there is also a small amount of boron atoms included in the stone along with carbon atoms. But it wasn’t known for a long time how the boron found its way into diamonds. Scientists came up with the theory that since boron comes from seawater, it penetrated the depths of the earth's crust due to the movement of the tectonic plates.
The most famous blue diamond is The Hope Diamond which weighs 45.52 carats and whose complex history began in the 17th century. It is currently on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington.
The royal blue sapphire is one of the rarest of the blue gemstones. This is due to the purity of its blue colour and its high level of hardness, which comes in at 9 on the Mohs scale. In terms of geology, it belongs to the corundum family, same as rubies and pink sapphires. It is considered an especially suitable stone for those born in September. It has traditionally been seen as a symbol of truth, nobility, sincerity and wisdom. In ancient Greece and Rome, it served as a protective good luck charm that could avert evil and danger. In the Middle Ages, it was believed to symbolise heaven and it was used to decorate the garments of kings and priests.
In history, there are many pieces of jewellery with sapphires which excel in beauty, quality and original workmanship. But their value climbs astronomically due to something else and that’s their story. When Napoleon asked his love Josephine to marry him, he armed himself with a ring that joined a blue sapphire with a diamond, both of them in the shape of a teardrop.
Or what about the 104 carat Stuart Sapphire, which changed many owners before finding a home in the English crown, where it could observe the coronation of Queen Elizabeth. And how about the most famous engagement ring of all - the sapphire ring in a halo style which belonged to Princess Diana and now adorns the hand of duchess Kate. Due in large part also to this ring, the place of sapphire jewellery as a symbol of romantic love has improved.
The name of this purple-blue gemstone reveals its origins in African Tanzania. This also happens to be the only deposit of this gemstone in the world. The discovery of tanzanite happened in an interesting way in 1967. A Maasai shepherd called Ali Juuyawatu noticed several blue stones where there hadn’t been any earlier. There had been a big storm which had caused a fire and tanzanite changes from its original brown colour to blue when exposed to high temperatures. Tanzanite owes its popularity to a certain extent to the jeweller Tiffany’s, who took a liking to it and began to set it into their jewellery.
According to the list of birthstones, tanzanite is for those born in December. It is also a suitable gift for a mother on the occasion of the birth of her child.
We can admire not only tanzanite’s radiant, cleat purple-blue colour, but also the multi coloured reflections that appear as a result of the impact of light on the surface of the stone. It was a magnificent tanzanite which played the role of a blue diamond in the film Titanic. You will no doubt remember the “Heart of the Ocean” from the movie, a beautiful necklace with a large blue stone in the shape of a heart. This piece of jewellery was made by Asprey & Garrard jewellers and the model for it was The Hope Diamond, the already mentioned necklace with a blue diamond.
You will also find a luxury necklace with a tanzanite and diamonds in our collection.
Aquamarine excels with its hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale. Its colour is either clear blue or with slightly green undertones. In the past, the greenish variety was more valued but today the situation is the opposite and the pure blue is the dominant preferred one. The value of the stone rises with the intensity of its colour. The largest known aquamarine named weighs around 243 lbs and it was found in Brazil in 1910. Probably the most famous piece of jewellery that boasts an aquamarine is the Brazilian tiara of Queen Elizabeth, which was a gift from the President of Brazil for her coronation in 1953.
The significance of this clear blue gemstone has always been associated with the sea. Sailors wore aquamarines depicting the god Neptune as a good luck charm, believing that it had the power to calm the water and protect them from danger. But beauty is not the only characteristic which has made aquamarines sought after for centuries. For example in the Middle Ages, aquamarines were considered to be an antivenom and as a result, demand for them was mainly from the nobility. Unlike some other stones, they did not need to be crushed up and it was enough to wear them in the form of a pendant or a ring. Shaped into the shape of a crystal ball, aquamarine was also used for divining the future.
Aquamarine is the stone for all those born in the month of March.
This well-known and popular gemstone is found in many different colour varieties. Over the centuries, topaz has been associated with wealth, health and love. Until the 20th century, all yellow, orange or brown gemstones were considered to be topaz. Only modern methods in mineralogy have led to differentiations.
Until a few decades ago, the topaz available for purchase was made up mostly of stones in these colours. It was not until the 1970s that topaz in shades of blue began to appear. This attractive colour is achieved by heating the originally colourless stone. These blue colour topaz satisfy the demand for clear blue gems which are also tough enough to be set into a ring. Importantly too, they are also much more affordable than for example, aquamarines, sapphires or blue diamonds. As a birthstone, topaz is suitable for people born in November. If you decide to buy a piece of jewellery with a topaz, you will be able to choose from three beautiful shades:
Sky blue topaz
Its shade can be described as the colour of the sky in the middle of the afternoon. It looks similar to aquamarine and is therefore used as a cheaper alternative to it.
Swiss blue topaz
is only slightly darker than sky blue topaz. This shade is distinctive and unmissable. The colour is close to that of a blue Paraiba tourmaline.
is dark blue with grayish undertones. Under a certain light, it can also have a slightly green tinge, which is how it differs from the previous two varieties of topaz. The difference is also in the price, since London topaz is slightly more expensive than sky blue or Swiss topaz.
Is a distinctive, non-transparent semi precious stone that comes in many varieties. From pure blue to blue-green turquoise to almost green in colour. Its polished surface can be smooth and clean or it can be interwoven with other rock which then forms interesting irregular maps. Although turquoise is in great demand in jewellery, its great disadvantage is its softness and a certain type of sensitivity, which is mainly due to its porosity and relatively low density.
It is one of the oldest gemstones known to humanity. It was prized in ancient Egypt and China and it was imported to Europe from Turkey, which also gave rise to its name. This is derived from the French term pierre tourques meaning “Turkish stone”. Turquoise played an important role in the ceremonies of Native American tribes. The Apache believed that turquoise attached to the arm of a warrior or hunter improved their sight. Traditional turquoise jewellery is still produced in the Southwest of the USA. As a birthstone, turquoise is suitable for people born in December.
This beautifully deep royal blue stone is classified as a semi-precious stone, along with turquoise. It is not a transparent mineral and is an amalgam of several types of rock, particularly lazurite, calcite and pyrite. The last of these is behind the glittering golden specs on its surface which are so characteristic of lapis and which make us think of the starry sky when we look at it. On the other hand, larger visible areas of calcite on the surface of the stone reduce its value. The richest source of lapis lazuli is Afghanistan.
The history of lapis is respectable and dates back to 6500 BCE. In ancient cultures such as Mesopotamia, Egypt, China and Greece, it was even of similar value as sapphires. Tutankhamun's death mask was richly decorated with this mineral. Cleopatra adorned herself with eye shadow made from it. And later during the Renaissance, many important works of art such as the paintings inside the Sistine Chapel or Vermeer's famous painting The Girl with a Pearl Earring were created as a result of it. This is because the most valuable pigment of its time – ultramarine, was produced from ground lapis.