JCK Tucson 2019: Snatch Up This Stone When You See It

Bicolor curious?

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.

Columbia Gem House bicolor sapphire
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.”


Meredith Young bicolor sapphire ring
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.)
Bicolor montana sapphires
Hexagonal Montana sapphire slices (image via: @ebethscottdesigns)
Emily gill loose bicolor sapphire
Parti sapphires from Australia (sourced from Pierres de Charmes) (image via: @emilygilldesign

Here are some more rings that show the bicolor sapphire in all its glory.

Io Collective Mila Ring
Mila ring with Malawi bicolor sapphire and diamonds in 18k gold, $2,180; Io Collective
Emily Gill design parti blue sapphire ring
Grace ring with blue-white parti sapphire and diamonds in 10k gold, $2,998; Emily Gill (image via: @emilygilldesign)
Grew and Co bicolor green sapphire ring
Ring with Australian parti sapphire and kite-shape diamonds in 18k gold, about $8,838; Grew & Co. (image via: @grewandco)
Ring with bicolor Montana sapphire center stone and diamonds in 14k white gold, price on request, Kallie Compton (image via: @kcomptonstudio)

Top: A particularly spectacular example of a bicolor sapphire, a top stone to watch at JCK Tucson 2019 (image via: @mercuriusjewelry)

Follow me on Instagram – @aelliott718

All That Glitters writer