The importance of the color blue in jewelry has been underscored by the recent auction at Sotheby’s of a 12-carat blue diamond that sold for $48.4 million, making it the most expensive diamond ever purchased at an auction.
The color is natural and seems plentiful, but it is actually very rare in nature, particularly in ways where you can touch it and take it home with you. The skies and the seas are an expanse of blue. However, the color blue accounts for less than four percent of plants, five percent of flowers and eight percent of fruits. Only 64,000 vertebrae species possess blue pigment, says James Fox, an art historian. He adds that the word blue didn’t even exist in ancient literature. And it wasn’t just the language. Blue was such a difficult color to create that it never appeared in art or man-made items until around 2,000 BC. Afterward it was very rare because it was so costly to create.
Now of course man-made blue is everywhere, but it still remains uncommon in fine jewelry because natural blue is still a rare occurrence and remains expensive.
Case in point, in jewelry, there are the extremely rare blue diamonds, blue sapphires and lapis lazuli, only available in the remote mountain regions of Afghanistan. These are the best known examples.
In addition to sapphire, deeply saturated blue is found in spinel and kyanite. There are a number of choices in the lighter blues, including topaz, zircon and aquamarine. Tanzanite and iolite radiate a violet blue, while Paraiba tourmaline, apatite and fluorite tend to be blue-green.
These days, blue gems can be created in a lab, although the many hues associated with the color are limited. Blue cultured pearls do exist, but are very unusual. Blue can be used for an entire piece or paired with other colors. Depending on the shade used, blue can be neutral, dominate, flashy or elegant. It can also be big and bold, or discreet.
Large necklaces made of blue and white crystals make a bold statement as does a blue bead necklace. For a bit of elegance a large faceted blue crystal on a ring works quite well.
The best argument to be made for creating with blue is that it is by far the most popular color. At least it is, according to the website “Color Matters,”, which also points out that blue has more complex and contradictory meanings than any other color.
So be true to blue and create jewels that are popular and have a rare quality.