A vibrant blue gemstone can enhance the beauty of any jewelry piece. These stones often evoke imagery of oceans and skies. Many feel a sense of calmness when they gaze into them.
Not all blue gemstones are the same, though. To help you decide which one is best for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best blue gemstones for jewelry.
How to Assess Blue Gemstone Quality
There are two main factors for assessing gemstone quality: color and clarity. Bear in mind that these factors can vary even among stones of the same type.
Saturation, hue, and tone are the main ways gemologists assess the colors of a gem.
Saturation refers to the intensity of the color of a gemstone. Gems with higher saturation, or deeper coloration, tend to be more valuable.
Blue gems with high saturation are more vibrant and rare. If you’re looking for something valuable, you will want something with high saturation.
Hue refers to the colors you can see in a given gemstone. Stones with a lower value will often have a secondary hue. It’s common for blue gemstones to have green or purple secondary hues, for instance.
Tone describes how dark or light a gemstone’s color is. If it’s too light, it might look faded, and if it’s too dark, you won’t be able to see the hues. As a result, the most valuable gems usually have a medium tone.
Clarity refers to the presence of inclusions (or other minerals) in a stone. Fortunately, blue gemstones often mask inclusions, especially when they are dark or have a vibrant tone.
That doesn’t mean clarity doesn’t play a role, though. In lighter-colored blue stones, for instance, inclusions are more likely to be visible. Also, inclusions in darker-colored stones can make them more prone to cracking.
Blue Gemstones for Everyday Style
If you’re looking for a gem you can wear every day, look for something with at least a 6.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. Jewelry bumps against surfaces more than you realize, so finding something hard is critical in the long run. Frequent care is necessary to maintain your gemstone’s quality, too.
Here are some of the best blue gemstones for everyday style.
Although they come in nearly every color of the rainbow, sapphires are often the first thing people think of when they think of a blue gemstone.
These stones are trendy choices for wedding and engagement rings. Sapphires are the birthstone for September. They also have a 9 rating on the Mohs scale (one rank below diamonds), so if you own any sapphire jewelry, you can expect it to stay intact for quite some time.
Many of the sapphires you see on jewelry go through heat treatment; this helps enhance the crisp blue color that many jewelry collectors cherish. But even unaltered sapphires can have stunning hues.
The main downside to sapphire jewelry is the price. Natural sapphires are incredibly expensive. However, you can often find lab-created sapphires that are a bit cheaper. There’s no shame in choosing synthetic sapphires. After all, they look identical to natural ones and have excellent clarity.
This March birthstone is a popular addition to everyday jewelry. It has high clarity and often has green secondary hues, giving it a seawater-like appearance.
The aquamarine is notably durable, with a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale.
Those who don’t like green hues may want to look elsewhere, though. Some jewelers will heat treat aquamarines to enhance the blueness, but this is often unsuccessful.
Tourmaline (Indicolite and Paraiba)
Like the sapphire, tourmalines come in a wide range of colors. Gemologists will often refer to blue tourmalines as indicolite. As one of October’s birthstones, this gem is a popular choice for jewelry.
Blue tourmalines come in a wide range of tones and saturations. The Brazilian Paraiba, a subset of indicolite tourmaline stones, has a particularly intense color.
Indicolite is rare compared to other types of tourmaline, so you shouldn’t expect to have an easy time finding this stone. With a hardness of 7.5, however, you can expect it to last a while once you get your hands on one.
A December birthstone, turquoise is a popular choice for jewelry enthusiasts. It has low clarity, so those looking for a translucent gem may want to skip this one. Its blue-green color and veins give it a unique, earthy appearance.
Be cautious when purchasing turquoise jewelry, as it’s very easy to confuse this gem with howlite. While it looks almost identical, howlite only has a hardness of 3 on the Mohs scale. It’s softer and cracks more easily than turquoise.
A common alternative to diamonds, the spinel is an expensive but beautiful stone that comes in various colors, including blue.
Natural blue spinels have a vibrant blue hue. They’re also rare, making them incredibly valuable.
Lab-created spinels are cheaper alternatives. If you enjoy the appearance of spinel but don’t want to break the bank, they are an affordable option. Whether they’re natural or synthetic, spinels have a hardness of 8, making them quite durable.
With a marbled appearance that many confuse with lapis lazuli, this gemstone is somewhat rare.
If you prefer gemstones with a more natural look, dumortierite might be perfect for you. Its uneven coloring and inclusions make it look like the waves of an ocean or a cloudy night sky.
It has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, making it a durable choice for jewelry. However, its composition makes it difficult to facet.
While many overlook this gemstone, jeremejevite is a perfect choice for everyday style. Its composition allows jewelers to incorporate this stone into jewelry with ease. It also has a vibrant blue hue and high clarity.
However, jeremejevite is one of the rarest minerals on earth, so it can be pretty expensive. It has a hardness of up to 7.5, though, so you won’t need to worry too much about it chipping or cracking.
Jadeite is a rare form of jade that comes in a variety of colors, including blue. Like aquamarine, blue jadeite has some green hues that resemble seawater.
This stone was common among ancient mesoamerican civilizations. They often used it to create tools and perform rituals. So it should come as no surprise that it has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale. These days, you can only find authentic blue jadeite in Guatemala.
Tiger’s eye and hawk’s eye are almost the same stone. Hawk’s eye simply lacks the iron compounds that give tiger’s eye its brown color.
Like tiger’s eye, hawk’s eye is a type of quartz and therefore has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale.
If you’re fond of stones with low saturation, you may want to consider some hawk’s eye jewelry. This beautiful gemstone has a mix of blues and greys, giving it a dark color that evokes imagery of a rainy day.
Like hawk’s eye, sapphirine has a grey-blue coloring. It’s perfect for those who are seeking a notably vibrant gemstone. Its dark, earthy color makes it ideal for anyone with a dark-colored wardrobe.
Despite its name, its composition is very different from sapphires. With a hardness of 7.5, it’s not quite as durable as a sapphire, but it still makes a suitable gemstone for everyday wear.
Blue Gemstones for Special Occasions
Some gemstones, although pretty, aren’t quite durable enough for everyday wear. Because of this, you’ll want to reserve jewelry with these stones for special occasions. Treat them with care to keep them in good shape.
Here are some of the best blue gemstones for special occasions.
Tanzanite is a violet-blue gem that some use as a cheaper alternative to sapphire. Jewelers will often treat this stone with heat to bring out its beautiful blue hues.
This gemstone gets its name from Tanzania, a country in eastern Africa where you can find this gemstone.
It ranks a 6.5 on the Mohs scale, so you may want to reserve it for special occasions, especially since it’s so valuable.
Larimar ranks 4.5 on the Mohs scale, making it somewhat fragile. With its soft baby blue color, it makes a beautiful addition to jewelry.
This rare gemstone only exists in the Dominican Republic. When you consider its rarity and fragility, you won’t want to wear this every day, lest you scratch or break the stone.
Apatite is hard to get your hands on, especially in jewelry form, as it’s not a common choice among jewelers. Still, it makes a beautiful gemstone for special occasions.
The name apatite refers to a broad category of gemstones that come in various colors. Bue apatites, however, have a deep and vibrant shade of blue similar to the lapis lazuli. Regarding durability, it has a hardness of 5 on the Mohs scale.
This June birthstone is truly one of a kind. Ancient Romans believed that the moonstone was moonlight in solid form. With its shimmering colors and glowing appearance, it’s not hard to see why.
You can expect to see hues of other colors in these stones, but most moonstones are predominantly blue.
The best part is, moonstones are generally affordable. With a ranking of 6 on the Mohs scale, they’re a bit more durable than some of the other special occasion gemstones on this list. Their durability means you can expect to get your money’s worth.
Iolite gets its name from the Greek word for “violet,” so you can expect some beautiful purple hues in this stone. Many people use iolite as a substitute for sapphire, although it is not quite as hard, at only 7.5 on the Mohs scale.
One unique feature of this stone is that it appears to change colors. While they’re blue-violet, iolite stones will often display a warm yellow color when you hold them at a different angle!
Most people associate topaz with orange or yellow gemstones, but heat treatments can give them a cooler hue. So if you have a November birthday but aren’t fond of the typical orange topaz, you could select a blue one instead.
Topaz ranks 8 on the Mohs scale. It isn’t particularly rare, so it’s a bit more affordable than other options on this list. However, high demand due to being a birthstone often affects the prices.
The lapis lazuli makes an excellent gemstone for special occasion jewelry. You can find this gem in every continent, but it’s most abundant in Afghanistan.
It’s common for lapis lazuli to have pyrite inclusions (or fool’s gold), which pairs beautifully with the deep blue hues of this gem.
Lapis lazuli is common and affordable. Its hardness only ranks at 5, so you’ll want to treat it with care and reserve it for special occasions.
The deep blue colors of the rare benitoite make this stone one of a kind. First discovered in California, it’s the golden state’s official gemstone.
Many people will use benitoite as an alternative to diamonds, especially because of its clarity and vibrant appearance. However, unlike diamonds, it only ranks 6.5 on the Mohs scale, so be sure to treat this gemstone with extra care.
This December birthstone comes in a beautiful, icy-blue color that’s perfect for the winter month. Most zircon receives heat treatment to achieve this vivid blue color.
If you’re a fan of diamonds but don’t have the money for them, zircon is a common cheaper alternative. It’s not quite as hard (7.5 on the Mohs scale), but it has high clarity and a near-identical appearance.
Opals are like a prism—when you hold one up to the light, it can reflect every color of the rainbow. Each opal varies, though, and some samples of this stone have blue hues.
But if you’re not fond of the prism-like qualities and prefer something more uniform, you may want to consider the Peruvian opal. These stones come in a solid baby blue color.
Opals rank from 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale, meaning they can chip easily—handle them with care.
The dark colors of this gemstone come from its metal components, including iron and aluminum phosphate. Those looking for something a bit darker and less flashy may enjoy lazulite jewelry.
Be sure to treat your lazulite jewelry with care. With a hardness of 5.5, it can easily crack or chip.