JCK asked this question of readers back in November when we published a Colored Stone Special Section as a supplement to the November/December issue. We were referring to bicolor sapphires, one of a handful of gem types we’ve identified as must-haves for your shopping list as you hunt for material at JCK Tucson and beyond.
As we pointed out in the article, there’s a growing demand for bicolor sapphires among studio designers and small, gallery-format stores that cater to millennials. It’s a stone that ticks all the boxes as far as what’s important to this demographic. For starters, bicolor (also known as parti) sapphire is the antithesis of cookie-cutter.
A trio of bicolor sapphires from Columbia Gem House (which is exhibiting at the AGTA fair in Tucson)
While the two-tone effect is often perceived by the jewelry trade as a drawback, it’s captivating to millennials because they tend to perceive “flaws” as appealing reflections of the stone’s natural, pre–supply chain state. As a bonus, the prettiest bicolor sapphires come from parts of the world that are thought to have less nefarious mining practices than others.
“You see blue sapphires a lot, along the lines of Kate Middleton/Princess Diana’s engagement ring,” says Scottsdale, Ariz.–based jewelry designer Meredith Young. “While there is a lot of perceived value in traditional blue sapphires, a pair of free-form parti sapphires take it to the next level in uniqueness with their gold/green flashes.”
Webb diamond ring with free-form sapphires in sterling silver, $5,240; Meredith Young
Intrigued? Here’s the least you need to know:
- The prettiest specimens come from Australia and Africa
- Large bicolor sapphires are hard to come by—if you find one, don’t hesitate
- Really gorgeous ombré sapphire slices are coming out of Montana
- You’ll see heat treatments, but a unique twist is that some bicolor stones are heated to accentuate the weaker color, not mask it (as is commonplace with “regular” sapphires in an effort unleash a more saturated, evenly distributed shade of blue, pink, etc.)
Hexagonal Montana sapphire slices
Parti sapphires from Australia
(sourced from Pierres de Charmes)
Here are some more rings that show the bicolor sapphire in all its glory.
Mila ring with Malawi bicolor sapphire and diamonds in 18k gold, $2,180; Io Collective
Grace ring with blue-white parti sapphire and diamonds in 10k gold, $2,998; Emily Gill
Ring with Australian parti sapphire and kite-shape diamonds in 18k gold, about $8,838; Grew & Co.
Ring with bicolor Montana sapphire center stone and diamonds in 14k white gold, price on request, Kallie Compton
(2019-02-05, Source: JCK online)