Coloured Sapphires from the Past

Sapphires are not only blue in colour. They come in a myriad of breathtaking colours that can rival the powerful colours of flowers. They are uniquely formed in nature and their rich palette with trace elements such as titanium, iron, vanadium, magnesium and chromium determining their colour.

All coloured sapphires, except the blue ones, are known as “fancy sapphires” and when their colour is more intense and uniform they often command a higher value than their famous blue counterparts, due to their rarity in nature.

Sapphires fancy colours, except red which are known as rubies, include an array of delectable colours including bubbly champagnes, canary yellows, syrupy apricots, vivid to soft blush pinks, peach to lotus coloured padparadschas, dual personality blue-green teals, forest and citrine greens, spearmints, lilacs and regal purples.

Fancy coloured sapphires are not as well known as their beautiful blue coloured siblings even though they have been used to stunning effect in custom-made jewellery from famous jewellery brands such as Cartier, Tiffany, etc for nobility and royalty and are now considered exquisite antique heirlooms.

Every year some exciting antique jewellery pieces featuring coloured “fancy” sapphires are offered for auction at well known houses such as Sotheby’s and Christies. Following are some examples of these:

A sapphire and diamond fleur-de-lys brooch from the Al-Thani collection.

A spectacular 92-carat pink sapphire set in an abstract floral frame with 
diamonds and blue sapphires by Jean Schlumberger for Tiffany.


A belle époque heart shaped yellow sapphire brooch-pendant sold by Bonhams. 

Maria Antonia of Portugal’s sapphire and diamond bracelet sold by Christies. 

Image credits to:

The French Jewellery Post
The Court Jeweller

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