Metal Urges have one of the largest retail collections of parti sapphire in the world. It’s rare when Master Jeweller Chris Hood comes across this type of stone, also known as bi-colour or polychrome sapphire. So what is a parti sapphire? It’s a stone that contains two colours due to a natural blending. Parti sapphires cannot be manufactured, so you’re assured of a precious, one-off piece when you choose this type of stone.
Parti sapphires or bi-colour sapphires are part of the corundum group. At 9 on the Mohs scale, only diamond and moissanite are harder than these highly sought gemstones. This means that your parti sapphire will not require extra care and will remain robust through its lifetime. The presence of iron trace elements is what gives parti sapphires their impressive two-tone colours.
How we source parti sapphires
Parti sapphires are mainly sourced in Australia, and typically are yellow and blue. They can also be found in Nigeria, Madagascar and Tanzania. Chris has sourced these rough crystals in Queensland, New South Wales and hand-picked others in Sri Lanka and Thailand. He spends many months of the year travelling across the world, to some of the most remote and often politically unstable locations to source his sapphires, including these bi-coloured stones.
On every trip, Chris is mindful of working ethically when sourcing parti sapphires. He is committed to leaving every local community a little better off – Metal Urge’s appreciation is shown through donating to education, working closely with locals and injecting funds directly into the local mining communities.
It’s important to know how to identify parti sapphires and ascertain value. Metal Urges has an exclusive range in Hobart. In general terms, the more intense the two colours (and the fewer distracting zones) the more valuable the bi-colour gemstone is.
Because parti sapphires are so rare, it is difficult to gauge value. The best things to keep in mind when looking at these sapphires is how clarity, cut and size affect value.
Parti sapphire colour
Bi-colour sapphires contain two colours and are the result of colour zoning. Zoning happens during the formation of the stone when trace elements (responsible for colouring the stone) change. When there’s an uneven distribution of colour, a parti sapphire emerges.
Australian parti sapphires are predominantly yellow and blue. Some even throw off green, and depending on origin, bi-colour sapphires can come in various colour combinations. Keep in mind that these are different to colour-changing sapphires because their bi-colours are always present no matter what the light conditions. One prized polychrome (parti) sapphire is known as the Pharaoh’s Eye – which is a blue crystal with a yellow core.
Metal Urges have a range of colours. Some have strong colour zoning, where two distinct colours are present in the one stone, while others have much ’gentler’ zoning where the two colours look more closely alike. Generally, the most desirable parti sapphires have gradual colour zoning, where the two hues are complimentary. Look directly down on the stone when judging colour zoning.
Parti Sapphire clarity
It is the degree of colour change and the attractiveness of the colour zoning that is important when it comes to parti sapphires – clarity is less important in these stones. Finding a ’clean stone’ is exceptionally rare, therefore most will have slight inclusions.
In some instances, inclusions can increase a parti sapphires value, where in other cases the durability is compromised. Metal Urges can talk you through any inclusions and what they mean for a particular stone.
Parti sapphire cut
The cut of each parti sapphire at Metal Urges is influenced by the shape of the rough sapphire – and how best to highlight its bi-coloured features. We keep in mind maximum weight, good proportions and the overall colours when choosing the cut of a polychrome gemstone.
Like any sapphire, Bi-coloured stones can be cut into shapes including pear, trillion, oval and cushion. They are generally smaller stones and are typically not supplied in calibrated sizes. The cuts are not always uniform and due to the rarity of large sized parti sapphires, their prices are considerably higher.
Parti sapphire weight
Size does matter when it comes to parti sapphires! These stones can range from hundreds of carets to just a few points, but high-quality stones in larger sizes are rarer these days. Most you’ll find weigh below 5.00 carats.
Parti sapphire symbolism
Like all sapphires, the parti sapphire is a stone of intuition. It is used to bring peace during the meditation process and is also believed to bring prosperity. It is a gemstone that is used for protection and has a strong energy. Also beneficial for mental clarity, parti sapphires are said to relieve the anxiety and depression often felt when one is lacking clarity. With a clear mind, this sapphire can also improve communication.