Natural Parti And Bicolored Sapphires – Understanding Changing Trends
Hello Gem Lovers!
If you are a follower of our blog or our Instagram page, you know that we LOVE sapphires. Now, does that mean traditional blue sapphires? Not really. While we do work with blue sapphires, we are specialists in the relatively rare bicolored sapphires and parti sapphires.
Although blue remains the hallmark color for sapphires, other colors like pink, yellow and green have also gained popularity in recent years. A relatively recent trend in sapphires are ones which demonstrate more than one color. This type of sapphires maybe classified into two categories: first being the bicoloured or multicolored sapphires which are essentially sapphires that appear to have two or more colours when seen in different lighting or angles; and the second one is “parti sapphires”, that have a distinct separation of the different colors in the sapphire. Market research indicates that consumer preferences are slowly shifting towards gemstones that have more than one color, compared to the traditional color tones. In fact, at the American Gem Trade Association in 2020, bi- and multi-colored were dubbed to be the trendsetters in the global color palette.
Why has the trend shifted from single colored to multicolored or parti sapphires?
It is interesting to note that non-blue sapphires were extremely popular in the early 2000’s and just like all fashion, these trends are coming back now, albeit in a modern take. The customer today has a clear curiosity of parti sapphires over bicolor sapphires, as is evidenced by google search volumes.
What are Parti Sapphires? How are they different from bicolored sapphires?
Parti sapphires are sapphires that show more than one colour in a single stone. What makes them unique is the phenomenon of color-zoning, which corresponds to the growth of the crystal layers. These color zones can be easily demarcated into a partition (hence ‘parti’) of two distinct colors in a true parti sapphire. Unlike bicolored or dual-toned sapphires where the colors may get mixed, in natural parti sapphires the colors don’t blend or merge with each other. Although they may be found in varied colors, a true parti sapphire is said to be composed of the colors blue and yellow.
WHY ARE NATURAL PARTI SAPPHIRES SO POPULAR?
Since the color distribution can occur in infinite patterns, each parti sapphire is one-of-a-kind. This uniqueness along with their durability and ethical sourcing is what led parti sapphires to be an instant hit amongst jewellers and buyers alike.
- RarityDepending on the geological conditions during sapphire formation, the colors of the gem get mixed together. This means that stones that exhibit a clear demarcation are few and far between. Getting a parti sapphire that is a 50% blue and a 50% yellow ratio in nature is quite rare. In fact, out of all the bicolor sapphires mined in Australia, the perfect 50-50 parti sapphire of blue and yellow accounts for less than 2%, subjected again to the cutters ability to preserve the demarcation and a bring it in the centre.
- Highly prized
As rare as parti sapphires are, they are equally challenging to be cut and faceted in a way that maintains their demarcated color distribution. Since the faceting and cutting of these gems requires immense skills and technique, these gems are considered to be tremendously valuable.
Parti sapphires have the unique feature of two pieces never looking the same. This is because each stone not only has a unique color combination, with different percentages of blue and yellow (sometimes green) tonnage, the position of the color zoning also marks a distinct characteristic. This makes each parti sapphire a league of its own and different from the other.
2. THE BEST SOURCES FOR PARTI SAPPHIRES as of 2023 (In decreasing order)
Australian Parti Sapphire
Amongst all the sources of Parti Sapphires around the world, the gems found in the Australian subcontinent are considered to be the most premium. The Parti Sapphires found in Australia, often dubbed as a true representation of the subcontinent, typically occur in the colors of electric yellow and blue, which bear a resemblance to the Australian terrain with yellow deserts and blue oceans. They also tend to have a higher iron content in them, which imparts a darker hue to these gems. Apart from their vibrant colors, Australian Sapphires are also highly valued for their sustainability and traceability.
Ceylon Parti Sapphire/Sri Lankan Parti Sapphire: Bright stones, (B+Y/WHITE)
The next best source for high-quality parti sapphires after Australia is Sri Lanka. Ceylon or Sri Lankan parti sapphires are known for their bright colors. The geological conditions of the country such as high temperature and pressure, provide the ideal milieu for sapphire formation with color variations. Sri Lankan parti sapphires are predominantly blue with a combination of yellow or white hues. Other colors like magenta or purple colored sapphires are also popular in Sri Lanka.
Madagascar Parti Sapphire
Another well-known source for high-quality parti sapphires is Madagascar. The gems from Madagascar are known for their clear demarcations between the colors. As the mining regulations in Madagascar are strict, you can be assured that your parti sapphire is ethically sourced.
African origin Parti Sapphire (Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania)
Compared to sources like Australia, Sri Lanka and Madagascar, the produce from the other African nations are relatively low. Due to the scarce produce of parti sapphires from these sources, these gems are considered to be more rare and valuable. Notably, a vast majority in sapphires are more bi-colored as opposed to parti as the colors often get mixed up during their formation within the earth. Some of the African sources include Kenya, Nigeria and Tanzania. Kenyan parti sapphires often display more green color tones than yellow. It is also imperative to verify the sources while purchasing from any of these African nations as the mining regulations aren’t as strict.
3. The SCIENCE OF PARTI SAPPHIRES
Colors of Parti Sapphires:
Parti sapphires are said to be formed through a process called zoning. During crystal formation, there may be different trace elements present in the surroundings which affect the color zones in the parti sapphire. For example, higher iron content may lead to more yellow tones as seen in Australian parti sapphires. The presence of titanium element may impart blue or green colors to the stone based on the amount present.
Cuts of Parti Sapphires:
Parti sapphires have to be cut in a way that best enhances their color zones. This makes the cutting process quite tricky and technique sensitive. The jeweller has to ensure that the angles are precise and purposeful. For example, Australian parti sapphires appear lighter and more brilliant when cut in shallow angles. Since the color distribution is unpredictable and varied, custom cuts are the best option for parti sapphires. Some parti sapphires may have to be heat treated to bring down their saturation and enhance their color zones.
4. ETHICAL SOURCING OF PARTI SAPPHIRES
There’s another reason why you need to invest in parti sapphires – ethical sourcing. While their uniqueness and durability are factors to consider when zeroing in on parti sapphires as the jewellery stones of your choice, an added bonus is the way these are sourced. Parti sapphires from major sources like Australia and Madagascar are mined under strict regulations and guidelines. The entire procedure is carried out in an ethical manner with minimal damage to the environment as well. They are also certified and labeled accurately. Read more on ethically sourced Australian parti sapphires here.
5.NATURAL PARTI SAPPHIRE IN PERMANENT JEWELLERY
Parti sapphires are a practical option for anyone looking for a gemstone that is both stunning and long-lasting. They make an excellent choice for everyday jewellery, especially permanent jewellery like engagement rings or wedding rings. Unlike other sapphires, Parti sapphires are completely natural and can not be fabricated in a laboratory. Hence, for buyers seeking for something natural, individualistic or personalized, parti sapphires are certainly worth investing in. To know more about parti sapphires or wholesale parti sapphires, you can read our article on “A buyer’s guide to parti sapphires”.
Parti sapphires are natural, durable, affordable and versatile in many ways and they’re also sourced sustainably and ethically. So, whether you’re looking for the perfect centre stone for your permanent jewellery or planning to buy loose gems in wholesale, parti sapphires are one of the best options available in the market right now.