Home Gemstones Blue Sapphire vs. Blue Topaz: Composition, Formation, Appearance, Value, and Use

Blue Sapphire vs. Blue Topaz: Composition, Formation, Appearance, Value, and Use

06 Jun, 2024 by Parita Soni

Blue Sapphire vs. Blue Topaz: Composition, Formation, Appearance, Value, and Use

06 Jun, 2024 by Parita Soni

Determining Gemstones is quite a task for those who do not interact with them much. It becomes even more difficult when you have to differentiate between the gemstones that are alike. Blue Topaz and Blue Sapphire are the gemstones known for their striking blue hues. These gemstones might appear identical at first sight, but they have differences in composition, appearance, formation, value, and usage. In this blog, we shall understand the difference between Blue Topaz and Sapphire by learning all the said aspects. So, let us gain insights so as to make an informed choice in selecting the gemstones for jewelry or investment.

Blue Sapphire and Blue Topaz: Composition & Formation

Sapphire is made from a variety of the mineral corundum - aluminum oxide (Al₂O₃). This gemstone can have a wide range of colors owing to the existence of trace elements like titanium, iron, chromium, magnesium, or copper. This stone forms under high temperature and pressure in metamorphic and igneous rocks. Its blue color is principally owing to the iron and titanium impurities present in it. 

The Blue Topaz is composed of a silicate mineral of aluminum and fluorine with the chemical formula Al₂SiO₄(F, OH)₂. It forms in recesses of rhyolite and granite rock. Most blue topaz available in the market are treated to achieve the vibrant shade it holds, as natural blue color is rarely found. Most of the time, the light-colored or colorless topaz undergoes irradiation, further followed by heat therapy to yield the desired blue shades.

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Blue Sapphire vs Blue Topaz: Appearance

Blue Sapphires display many shades of blue, from pale to deep royal blue. The color distribution may vary, and the zoning of natural color is common in sapphires. The Blue Sapphires might have inclusions, often assumed as a part of this gemstone's natural beauty. Nevertheless, the Sapphires that are high in quality with minimal inclusions are highly treasured. They have a vitreous to adamantine luster that adds to their depth and luminance.

From the pale sky blue to intense London Blue, Topaz is available in varied shades of blue. The color of Blue Topaz is usually even and rich due to the treatment. It holds the clarity that is eye-clean, meaning no visual inclusions to the naked eye. The treatment usually intensifies its clarity. Moreover, it has a shiny and bright appearance owing to the vitreous luster.

Blue Sapphire vs Blue Topaz: Durability and Hardness

Being one of the hardest gemstones, Blue Sapphire is second only to diamond and has a Mohs hardness 9. As these gemstones are intensely tough and durable, they are ideal for jewelry pieces worn frequently.

The Blue Topaz has a Mohs hardness of 8, which makes it a rather durable and hard gemstone appropriate for daily wear. However, it can be breakable and might chip or cleave when hit forcefully.

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Difference Between Blue Topaz and Sapphire's Value

When compared to Blue Sapphire, Blue Topaz is abundantly found and is usually less expensive. The value of this gemstone is determined by its intensity of color, size, clarity, and quality of the cut.

Blue Sapphires are rarer and hold more value than Blue Topaz. Factors such as color, clarity, origin, size, and essence impact the value of this gemstone.

blue topaz vs blue sapphire

Difference Between Blue Topaz and Sapphire's Treatments

Blue Topaz is treated mostly by irradiation and heat to reach its blue color. These treatments are available widely in the gem market, which the buyers should know. Though the treatments are usually stable, intense exposure to heat can, at times, impact the color.

Sapphires are usually heat-treated - a common and accepted practice in the gem industry, to enhance their color and clarity. These can also be treated by fracture filling or diffusion techniques, which the buyer should know. The heat-treated sapphires retain stable enhancements, while the stones treated by diffusion might have a less stable color.

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Blue Sapphire and Blue Topaz: Symbolism and Cultural Significance

Sapphires represent wisdom, supremacy, and divine favor and are usually related to royalty. Hence, they are also employed in engagement rings and other jewelry pieces. Being the birthstone for September, it is used to honor 45th wedding anniversaries.

The Blue Topaz is associated with communication, calmness, and clarity of thought and said to foster harmony and peace. This gemstone is also considered a preferred choice for birthday gifts, as it is the birthstone for December.

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Blue Topaz vs Blue Sapphire: Uses in Jewelry

Talking about the use in jewelry, Blue Topaz is often used in rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. It is used widely due to its affordability and vibrancy in color. You shall mostly find them set in sterling silver, platinum, or white gold, as these metals complement its cool blue shades.

On the other hand, Sapphires are used in high-end jewelry items, such as earrings, engagement rings, and pendants, and even in antique and statement pieces. These gemstones are usually set in white gold, yellow gold, or platinum, as these metals help enhance their color and brilliance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Q.1 Are Topaz and blue sapphire the same?

Ans. No, they are dissimilar owing to the many differences between blue topaz and blue sapphire. These disparities can be witnessed in their color intensity, hardness, rarity, and value. 

Q.2 Why is blue topaz so cheap?

Ans. The gemstone Blue topaz is cheap because it is available in abundance, can be treated easily to enhance its tone, and has low market demand, in comparison to blue sapphire.

Q.3 What is the difference between London blue topaz and sapphire?

Ans. The difference between London blue topaz and sapphire is that the former is a darker shade of blue, while the latter ranges from a lighter to a deeper tone of blue. They also vary in hardness, sapphire being the harder, and in chemical composition.

Q.4 What is the hardness of blue sapphire and blue topaz?

Ans. Blue sapphire is harder and ranks ninth on the Mohs hardness scale, whereas blue topaz ranks eighth.

Q.5 How can you tell a blue topaz from a blue sapphire?

Ans. The difference between the blue topaz and blue sapphire is that the former is usually lighter, less hard as well as less dynamic than the latter. A gemologist can determine the difference using the tools and running some tests. 

Q.6 Can I wear blue topaz and blue sapphire every day?

Ans. Yes, both the gemstones are durable and suitable for daily use. However, as blue sapphire is harder, it is unsusceptible to damage and scratches.

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