Sapphires Around the World

Sapphires are one of the most valued gems in the world and are best known for their mesmerizing blue color. But, did you know that they can be found in a variety of different colors? And, not only can you find sapphires in a rainbow of colors, often, the color depends on where the sapphire was mined. Read on to learn a little bit more about each of the countries where we source sapphires and their unique characteristics. 

Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is an island country in South Asia historically known for its high-quality sapphires. Most mining in Sri Lanka is known as Artisanal Small-scale Mining (ASM). These mines are run by small teams of experienced miners using simple equipment and traditional techniques that minimize environmental impact. Miners work in a collective called a karahaula where costs, labor and profits are shared among the members.

Blue sapphires from Sri Lanka are best known for their cornflower blue shade that often shows violet tones. The stunning and rare orange-pink color, known as Padparadscha, is primarily found in Sri Lanka. The name means ‘Lotus color’ in Sanskrit.

Sapphires from Sri Lanka are also known as Ceylon sapphires.

A sapphire & diamond ring featuring a cornflower blue sapphire from Sri Lanka.


Australia is known for producing sapphires in a range of colors, including green, yellow, and blue. Australia’s mining practices and regulations, ensure that all stones are mined ethically and responsibly with strong pro-environmental and worker laws. Once a mine has been exhausted, the mined area is rehabilitated back to its original state.

One of the most well-known attributes of Australian sapphires is color-banding. Also known as “parti sapphires”, these gems are colored by bands of blue and yellow, blue and green or green and yellow, producing a bi-color stone.

Montana, USA

Montana sapphires are mined under some of the most stringent labor and environmental standards you can find. Because much of this mining takes place in sensitive areas well known for fly fishing and home to endangered species, the environmental regulations are incredibly strict and require that any water released from the mining operation be drinking grade. Like Australia, once a mine is exhausted, it must be returned to its original state.

Montana sapphires are known for their unique hues, including blues, greens, and a unique teal color. Montana sapphires tend to be lighter - almost pastel in tone - and are very distinctive.

The Moyo Gems Program

Moyo Gems is a gemstone collaboration in East Africa (Tanzania and Kenya) that helps female artisanal miners achieve safer work conditions, better mining practices and equity in trade.

Sapphires from the Moyo Gems program are traceable back to the miner who pulled the gem from the earth. They come in a wide range of cuts and colors. Some of the most beautiful purple sapphires in my collection are from Tanzania.

Purchasing a sapphire from the Moyo Gems program is a wonderful way to ensure that your sapphire purchase is empowering women miners in East Africa.