Mermaid Sapphires: the Next Big Thing in Engagement Ring Stones
Mermaid sapphires are the rarest type of teal sapphires. Learn all about these blue-green gems that could soon become popular engagement ring stones.
7 Minute Read
What are Mermaid Sapphires?
Teal sapphires combine different degrees of blue, green, yellow, and gray. There are at least six different varieties of teal sapphires, each showing a different combination/percentage of these colors.
The dominant colors are usually a deep aquatic blue and a vivacious forest green. Mermaid sapphires show a rare, precise 50-50 ratio of blue and green color.
Why are They Called "Mermaids?"
When we first came across one of these sapphires, it looked like it could never have come from deep within the Earth. Instead, the gem took us on a deep dive into our imagination, into a velvety blue sea. There, we found a mermaid. She uncovered a stunning gemstone within the folds of an oyster. The gem was as beautiful as she was, and it looked like it had fallen from her shimmering, blueish green scales.
The mythical mermaid seemed the perfect namesake for these gems, which harmoniously combine the beauty of the land and sea in their blue and green colors. Imagine holding the best of both worlds in the palm of your hand!
The Perfect Engagement Ring Gemstone
Today, many young people are looking for alternatives to classic diamonds when it comes to engagement rings. In general, sapphires make an excellent choice for engagement ring stones. They combine beauty with durability, show many different colors, and come in a wide range of prices.
Sapphires also have many romantic associations, perfect for engagement ring stones. Blue sapphires symbolize loyalty, power, and wisdom and are said to bring their wearer good fortune. Green sapphires symbolize tranquility and peace. Since mermaid sapphires combine both these colors, they make wonderful messages of hope for a blissful marriage.
We believe that every unique love story deserves a unique expression. Teal sapphires in general and mermaid sapphires in particular are great options for those looking for something different and unforgettable for an engagement ring. Plus, their durability, ethical sourcing, and affordable prices make them an excellent buy.
What is the Color of a Mermaid Sapphire?
Mermaids fall under the "teal" color category, which has become a very popular color choice in the Western world, particularly the United States, since the 1990s. However, customers often ask us how the color a mermaid sapphire differs from that of another teal sapphire.
As we said earlier, in terms of color composition, mermaids are 50% blue and 50% green. While other teals may show a third or fourth color in the mix, like yellow or gray, mermaids definitely don't have these additional colors.
Note the color difference between a teal sapphire with a darker hue and a mermaid sapphire. The stunning, step-cut mermaid weighs 6.11 carats.
Like other teal sapphires, mermaids don't show true color change when viewed under different sources of light. They don't completely change from one hue to another. However, their reflection patterns in natural and artificial lights produce a partial, subtle change. With mermaids, the change is limited to a mossy green or a sea blue, without any hint of yellow or gray.
How Rare are Mermaid Sapphires?
Although sapphires are found all over the world, teal sapphires occur only in a few regions. Australia is the principal source of these gems. Montana, in the United States, was where these sapphires were first discovered and recognized as a distinct variety. It remains an important source of teal sapphires. Madagascar and Nigeria also have significant deposits.
Mermaids are the rarest type of teal sapphire. Less than 5% of teal sapphires have the 50-50 blue-green color ratio to qualify as mermaid sapphires.
Are Mermaid Sapphires Ethically Sourced?
Almost all teal sapphires are completely ethically sourced. Australia primarily uses mechanical mining for these gems. Montana has stringent mining regulations. Every mining operation is closely scrutinized, ensuring ethical and legal practices are maintained throughout the production chain.
In Africa, teal sapphires provide an opportunity for family owned, artisanal mines to earn their due. IIkaka, Madagascar and Gombe, Nigeria are the primary African sources of teal sapphires, including the occasional mermaid sapphire. Since these gemstones are just emerging onto global markets, local communities have a chance to protect their interests in a way that benefits them economically, socially, and culturally in the long term.
What are the Physical Properties of Mermaid Sapphires?
The lovely mermaid sapphire mixes beauty with brawn. As a sapphire, it belongs to the mineral species known as corundum, which includes both sapphires and rubies. Only diamonds, with a Mohs hardness of 10, are harder natural materials than sapphires and rubies, which have a hardness of 9. Scientifically speaking, hardness measures a material's resistance to scratching. This makes all types of sapphires excellent choices for daily-wear jewelry, like engagement rings. This even makes them harder than household dust, which has a hardness of 7. Dust will scratch and dull any material with a hardness lower than 7, but not those with a higher hardness.
How Do Mermaid Sapphires Compare to Similar Gemstones?
Consumers often ask us how mermaid sapphires compare to gemstones with similar colors, like paraíba tourmalines and parti-colored sapphires. For gem experts, padparadscha sapphires are also a frequent point of comparison. Although their colors differ from those of mermaids, padparadschas are often seen as direct competitors to teal sapphires.
Mermaid Sapphires vs Paraíba Tourmalines
Paraíba tourmaline has a less saturated color than mermaid sapphire, which possesses a natural intensity.
Like all sapphire, mermaid sapphire has a hardness value of 9. On the other hand, paraíba tourmaline has a hardness of 7 to 7.5, like other tourmalines. This means a mermaid has greater resistance to scratches from daily wear and tear.
Paraíba tourmalines can have many inclusions, tiny mineral crystals or fractures inside the gemstone itself. These stones usually receive heat treatments to dissolve these inclusions and improve their clarity. In contrast, mermaid sapphires are generally eye clean. They usually have no inclusions visible to the naked eye, so they typically receive no clarity treatments.
Mermaid Sapphires vs Parti-Colored Sapphires
Parti-colored sapphires are multi-colored sapphires which display color zoning. That means the colors occur in distinct, clearly demarcated partitions within the stone. Teal sapphires, including mermaid sapphires, have no such color zones. The colors blend together.
As sapphires, mermaid and parti-colored sapphires have the same hardness and clarity.
Mermaid Sapphires vs Padparadscha Sapphires
Padparadscha sapphires are extremely popular because of their limited availability and their striking, pink and orange colors. Since padparadschas share rarity and color combination (but not specific colors) with mermaids, gem experts want to know: will mermaids become the next padparadschas? Will mermaid prices increase like those of padparadschas?
Some of these comparisons may interest consumers, too. For example, if we break down these two sets of colors — blue and green for mermaids, pink and orange for padparadschas — we see something interesting regarding prices.
Blue sapphires are always more expensive than pink sapphires, and green sapphires are more expensive than orange sapphires. Therefore, you might think that mermaids should cost more than padparadschas. However, currently, this isn't the case. Teal sapphires, including mermaids, don't have the consumer recognition that padparadscha sapphires do. They can't match the popularity of these pinkish orange gems. At least, not yet. Since the world is just being introduced to teal sapphires, this might be the perfect time to invest in mermaid sapphires. Their prices have the potential to scale up quickly. Consumers might enjoy anticipating a trend and getting a soon-to-be very hot item at a very low price!
As sapphires, padparadschas and mermaids have the same hardness and clarity.
What Does a Mermaid Sapphire Cost?
A one-carat teal sapphire can cost from around 25% to as much as 92% less than other one-carat sapphires with popular colors. Take a look at this comparison of teal prices with those of cornflower blue, pink, and padparadscha sapphires.
Teal sapphires are a reasonably affordable option for young couples, millennials, middle-income earners, and anyone who wants to spend meaningfully as opposed to just splurging. However, keep in mind that mermaid sapphires represent the rarest and, in terms of color, the very best teal sapphires. Therefore, if you're shopping for a mermaid sapphire, expect to find prices towards the higher range for a teal sapphire.
Of course, color preference is a subjective matter, but we're sure that you'll find the exquisite 50-50 blue-green color combination of a mermaid sapphire fascinating.
Tips for Buying a Mermaid Sapphire
Aside from color, what are the most important considerations when buying a mermaid sapphire? You should weigh three more factors in your decisions, the other Cs of the famous Four Cs: clarity, cut, and carat.
In terms of clarity, mermaid sapphires are generally eye-clean. That means you should easily find one with no inclusions visible to the naked eye. Therefore, avoid any mermaids that do have visible inclusions.
We recommend brilliant round and oval cuts for mermaid sapphires. Mermaids also do very well with classic step cuts and vintage rose cuts.
We've found 1.3 to 2.5 carats to be the most popular sizes for mermaid sapphires. However, if you want a larger stone, ask your dealer to search for one.
These beautiful blue-green sapphires have arrived at the perfect time to make a splash in the gem and jewelry market. Many consumers are looking beyond traditional gem choices to find something special for their engagement rings. Mermaid sapphires have the potential to become very popular, so now is a good time to buy.
Although stories of mermaids have enthralled us for millennia, we have to accept that these beings don't exist. The good news is that mermaid sapphires do!
Navneet Agarwal, Navneet Gems & Minerals
Navneet Gems & Minerals is a wholesale manufacturer of consistent quality precious and semi-precious gemstones for jewelry makers around the world.
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