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.
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.”
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.)
Here are some more rings that show the bicolor sapphire in all its glory.
Top: A particularly spectacular example of a bicolor sapphire, a top stone to watch at JCK Tucson 2019 (image via: @mercuriusjewelry)
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