Fiery blue sapphires are considered to be one of three most coveted colored gemstones in the world. (Emeralds and rubies are the other two gemstones in this prestigious group.) The most beautiful royal blue sapphires in the world have come from the Asian region of Kashmir for centuries. Kashmir sapphires command thousands of dollars per carat. Additional deposits of blue sapphires are found worldwide. However, they are mined extensively in Madagascar, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia and Cambodia. Sapphires are extremely hard, commanding a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale (diamonds are a 10), so they make a great choice for gemstone jewelry that will be worn on a daily basis. Blue sapphires are typically heat treated to improve color. If you are fond of these heavenly blue gemstones you will be equally mesmerized by the following captivating alternatives:
If you dream of luscious, bright blue Kashmir sapphires, kyanite is the affordable alternative gemstone for you. The lovely blue variety of kyanite is mined extensively in Brazil and Nepal. Occasionally, kyanite is oil or resin filled. However, be forewarned that kyanite has a Mohs hardness rating of 5.5 to 7, so it is much softer than sapphire and is therefore susceptible to scratches. It is prudent to look for kyanite in earrings or pendants. These pieces typically incur less wear than bracelets or rings.
2. Blue Spinel
The most coveted blue spinel is found in shades of rich cobalt blue. Like kyanite, these exceptional blue spinel gemstones are sure to invoke visions of fine Kashmir sapphires. Blue spinel is mined extensively in Tanzania, Myanmar, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. It has a Mohs hardness rating of 8 so it is almost as durable in jewelry as sapphire. In addition, blue spinel is typically not enhanced by any gemstone treatment methods.
If you are fond of deeper blue sapphires, iolite is the alternative gemstone for you. Iolite is the same shade as Concord grapes, a dark midnight blue color with deep purple undertones. It is found worldwide but it is mined extensively in India, Brazil, Tanzania and Sri Lanka. Iolite has a Mohs hardness rating of 7 to 7.5. It does not need any enhancing treatments.
4. London Blue Topaz
If you like dark blue sapphires, London blue topaz is the alternative gemstone for you. It is a mysterious midnight blue color with grayish undertones. London blue topaz has a Mohs hardness rating of 8 and is created by irradiating white topaz. Most of the rough gemstone used in creating London blue topaz is mined in Brazil and Sri Lanka.
If you are mesmerized by the dreamy blue hues of sapphires, consider adding some captivating alternative gemstones to your collection. Kyanite and blue spinel are gorgeous gemstones that could pass for sapphires with their fiery blue hues. Iolite and London blue topaz are lovely alternatives to sapphires with darker hues that you might also find enchanting.