Skip to Content

Is a cornflower blue sapphire rare?

Is a cornflower blue sapphire rare?

Sapphires come in a wide variety of colors, from the traditional blue to yellow, pink, orange, green, white, purple, and more. One of the rarest and most sought-after sapphire colors is cornflower blue. Cornflower blue sapphires have a soft, medium-light blue tone that is reminiscent of the cornflower plant’s vibrant blue petals. But are these gemstones truly rare and valuable? Let’s take a closer look at what makes cornflower blue sapphires special.

What is Cornflower Blue?

Cornflower blue refers to a specific shade of medium-light blue with hints of violet. The exact hue was named after the cornflower, an annual flower that blooms in a brilliant blue color. Cornflowers have been prized for centuries for their vivid blue blossoms, which inspired artists like Vincent Van Gogh and poets like Henry David Thoreau.

In gemstones, a cornflower blue sapphire exhibits the same soft, delicate blue tone as the cornflower bloom. It is lighter and brighter than royal blue sapphires but has more purple undertones than the pale blue of a sky sapphire. When cut properly, a cornflower blue sapphire will display a lively and saturated blue color.

The Rarity and Value of Cornflower Blue Sapphires

Fine quality cornflower blue sapphires are considered very rare. Blue is one of the most desired sapphire colors, but most natural sapphires have secondary hints of gray, green, or purple. Finding a stone with a pure, vivid cornflower blue hue is uncommon. Additionally, the soft pastel tone of cornflower blue is unusual, as darker and more saturated blues are more prevalent.

Several factors make these gemstones scarce:

Limited Mining Locations

Most gem-quality sapphires come from just a handful of sources worldwide. Only a few of these locations, like Madagascar and Sri Lanka, produce occasional cornflower blue stones. Specific geology and trace elements are required to form sapphires in this ideal delicate blue shade.

Small Size of Minable Material

Cornflower blue sapphires typically occur in very small deposits. The limited quantity of minable rough material limits the availability of fine finished gems over 1 carat in size. Most cornflower blue sapphires on the market are under 3 carats. Larger sizes exceeding 5 carats are exceptionally rare.

Difficulty of Cutting

The subtle tone of cornflower blue can be easily over-darkened if the gem is cut poorly. Expert cutting is required to maximize the stone’s delicate color. The finished gems must also have excellent clarity and superior cut quality to display the desired soft blue hue. Such an exceptional combination of characteristics is hard to achieve.

As a result of these factors, natural unheated cornflower blue sapphures over 1 carat demand high prices. Exceptional gems with weights of 3-5 carats can sell for $5,000 to $15,000 per carat at auction. Larger individual stones are almost never found and would likely fetch over $20,000 per carat based on their extreme rarity.

Notable Cornflower Blue Sapphires

Some exceptional named cornflower blue sapphires exemplify the beauty and value of these rare gems.

The Rockefeller Sapphire is a stunning 100.32-carat cornflower blue specimen mined from Madagascar. The history of this gem dates back to 1934 when it was purchased by John D. Rockefeller Jr. as an engagement gift for his bride. It recently sold at auction in 2015 for over $3.7 million.

Gemstone Name Carat Weight Sale Price
Rockefeller Sapphire 100.32 carats $3.7 million
Cornflower Blue Sapphire 4.01 carats $46,000 per carat
Unnamed Sapphire 8.88 carats $17,000 per carat

A 4.01-carat cushion-cut cornflower blue sapphire was sold at Christie’s auction in 2013 for over $184,000, setting a record price-per-carat of $46,000. In 2011, Christie’s also sold an 8.88-carat oval double-cabochon cornflower blue sapphire for $150,000, reflecting the high value of larger gems.

These exceptional auction results demonstrate the extremely high value placed on rare natural cornflower blue sapphires, especially in larger sizes. The prices reflect the scarcity and desirability of this special color.

How to Identify Cornflower Blue Sapphires

It takes an expert eye to properly identify cornflower blue sapphires. Here are some tips for recognizing true cornflower blue gems:

– Look for a soft pastel blue color, lighter than royal blue but brighter than sky blue. True cornflower blue has a delicate, luminous quality.

– Check for secondary purple and violet hues. Cornflower blue exists between blue and purple on the color spectrum.

– Inspect under different light sources. Incandescent light accentuates the blue while cloudy daylight enhances the soft purple tones.

– Examine the stone unmounted to see the true body color. Cornflower blue can appear darker in certain mountings.

– Prefer stones with a strong saturation. Paler stones likely have a grayish modification that diminishes the cornflower blue color.

– Select sapphires with excellent clarity to maximize the purity of color. Inclusions can muddle the delicate hues.

– Buy only unheated sapphires to ensure natural untreated color. Heating often produces an overly saturated dark blue.

– Demand a lab report from a reputable gem lab like GIA to verify the natural origins.

With proper examination by an expert, it is possible to confirm the rare beauty of natural unheated cornflower blue sapphires.

Cornflower Blue Sapphire Engagement Rings

The soft pastel blue hue of cornflower blue sapphures makes them a dream choice for engagement rings. Their rare delicacy symbolizes everlasting love. Here are some tips for selecting the perfect cornflower blue engagement ring:

– Choose a simple solitaire or halo setting to let the gemstone take center stage. Avoid busy designs that distract from the main stone.

– White metals like platinum or white gold complement the cool blue tones beautifully. Yellow gold creates a warmer look.

– Select a metal type to match the wearer’s lifestyle. Platinum offers durability for active lifestyles, while white gold suits those on a budget.

– Look for precision cutting that maximizes color saturation and sparkle. Well-cut ovals, cushions, and rounds make the most impact.

– For carat size, stay in the 1 to 5 carat range. Anything over 5 carats will be extremely rare and expensive.

– Ensure the ring is certified by a trusted lab and comes with a certificate of authenticity.

– Work with a high-quality ethical jeweler who sources natural unheated gems.

With their unmistakable soft blue beauty, cornflower blue sapphires create engagement rings that are unique, meaningful and sure to be treasured for a lifetime.


In summary, cornflower blue sapphires are among the rarest of all the natural sapphire colors. Their soft pastel blue tone is difficult to find among gem-quality sapphires. These coveted gemstones derive their name from the vibrant blue petals of the cornflower. Due to limited mining sources, small deposit sizes, and the challenge of precision cutting, large high-quality cornflower blue sapphires are extremely scarce on the market. These factors give them exceptionally high value, with prices climbing well above $10,000 per carat for gems over 3 carats. When set into engagement ring designs that allow their delicate beauty to shine, natural unheated cornflower blue sapphires create stunning and meaningful pieces that display nature’s artistry.