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Which gemstones are orange?

Which gemstones are orange?

Orange gemstones come in a wide variety of types, ranging from the rare and valuable to the more common and affordable. Some popular orange stones include amber, carnelian, citrine, fire opal, orange sapphire, and spessartine garnet. Each has its own unique qualities and characteristics.


Amber is an organic gemstone, formed from the fossilized resin of ancient trees. It can range in color from yellowish orange to reddish orange. Amber is quite soft, rating only 2-3 on the Mohs hardness scale. However, it is still suitable for jewelry if cared for properly. Amber is found in places like the Baltic region, Dominican Republic, and Myanmar.

Some key facts about amber:

  • Chemical composition: Fossilized tree resin
  • Color range: From yellowish orange to reddish orange
  • Hardness: 2-3 on the Mohs scale
  • Sources: Baltic region, Dominican Republic, Myanmar
  • Affordability: Amber jewelry can range from very affordable to expensive for rare pieces with inclusions


Carnelian is a translucent orange variety of chalcedony quartz. It often has reddish overtones, giving it a warm, fiery color. Carnelian has been used as a gemstone for thousands of years and was popular in ancient Rome. It can be found in places like India, Brazil, and Australia.

Some key facts about carnelian:

  • Chemical composition: Silicon dioxide
  • Color range: Orange to reddish-orange
  • Hardness: 7 on the Mohs scale
  • Sources: India, Brazil, Australia
  • Affordability: Fairly affordable, especially for beads and cabochons


Citrine is a transparent variety of quartz ranging in color from pale yellow to golden orange. Natural citrine is rare, so most commercial citrine is heat treated amethyst. Citrine is durable and affordable, making it a popular gemstone. Major sources include Brazil, Africa, and America.

Some key facts about citrine:

  • Chemical composition: Silicon dioxide
  • Color range: Pale yellow to golden orange
  • Hardness: 7 on the Mohs scale
  • Sources: Brazil, Africa, America
  • Affordability: Affordable, especially for smaller stones

Fire Opal

Fire opal displays flashes of orange, red, and yellow color. This effect, called play of color, is caused by small spheres of silica dispersed within the opal. Fire opal is transparent to translucent and can be faceted into gemstones. The only source is Mexico. Fire opal is rarer and more expensive than common opal.

Some key facts about fire opal:

  • Chemical composition: Hydrated silica
  • Color range: Orange to red to yellow flashes
  • Hardness: 5.5-6 on the Mohs scale
  • Sources: Mexico
  • Affordability: More expensive than common opal but less than precious opal

Orange Sapphire

Orange sapphire is a natural variety of corundum, the same mineral that ruby and blue sapphire belong to. Its color comes from trace elements like chromium and iron within the crystal structure. Orange sapphire is rarer than blue but not as rare as padparadscha (pink-orange) sapphire. Sources include Sri Lanka, Australia, and Tanzania.

Some key facts about orange sapphire:

  • Chemical composition: Aluminum oxide
  • Color range: Vivid orange to reddish orange
  • Hardness: 9 on the Mohs scale
  • Sources: Sri Lanka, Australia, Tanzania
  • Affordability: More affordable than blue sapphire but pricier than other orange stones

Spessartine Garnet

Spessartine is an orange-red variety of garnet, colored by manganese. It has good brilliance and fire. Smaller stones are usually eye-clean. The largest source is Nigeria, but it’s also found in Namibia, Brazil, and the US. Spessartine is one of the more affordable garnet varieties.

Some key facts about spessartine garnet:

  • Chemical composition: Aluminum silicate with manganese
  • Color range: Orange to reddish-orange
  • Hardness: 7-7.5 on the Mohs scale
  • Sources: Nigeria, Namibia, Brazil, USA
  • Affordability: Affordable compared to other garnets

How are orange gemstones used in jewelry?

Orange gemstones can be used in all types of jewelry from rings to pendants to earrings. They provide a warm pop of color that complements both gold and silver settings. Some popular ways to use orange stones include:

  • Citrine in gold drop earrings or cocktail rings
  • Orange sapphire solitaires or three-stone rings
  • Carnelian bead necklaces and bracelets
  • Fire opal pendants
  • Spessartine garnet engagement rings
  • Amber statement necklaces and oversized cocktail rings

Lighter orange stones like citrine and fire opal are especially suited for delicate jewelry. Carnelian and spessartine garnet have bolder red-orange hues that make dramatic accents. Natural, untreated orange sapphires work well for important jewelry meant to be worn every day.

How to care for orange gemstones

Some tips for cleaning and caring for orange gemstones:

  • Amber: Use a soft cloth to gently wipe clean. Do not submerge in water or use harsh chemicals.
  • Carnelian, citrine, garnet: Clean with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Rinse and dry well.
  • Fire opal: Use only a damp cloth to wipe clean. Avoid chemicals, heat, and ultrasonic or steam cleaners.
  • Orange sapphire: Clean with soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid exposing to heat or harsh chemicals.

When storing or traveling with orange gemstones, wrap them individually in soft cloth or place in divided compartments to prevent scratching. Remove orange gemstone jewelry before exercising, cleaning, gardening or engaging in rough activities. Have orange gemstones inspected by a jeweler once a year and re-set prongs as needed to maintain secure settings.

How are orange gemstones valued and priced?

Several factors determine the value of orange gemstones:

  • Color – More saturated, pure orange commands higher prices. Yellowish or brownish hues are less desirable.
  • Clarity – Transparent, flawless stones are most valuable. Cloudiness, inclusions and blemishes reduce value.
  • Cut – Ideal cut proportions and high quality faceting increase brilliance and value.
  • Carat Weight – Larger orange gemstones are more rare and valuable.
  • Source – Origin can affect value. For sapphires, Kashmir and Burma are most prized.
  • Treatment – Natural, untreated orange gemstones command substantial premiums.
  • Rarity – Some orange gems like spessartine garnets are more common and affordable. Others like orange sapphire are quite rare.

Fine quality orange gems over one carat, especially sapphires, can run into the thousands per carat. However, many attractive orange gemstones are available for less than $500 per carat. Speak to a gemologist or jeweler to get an appraisal for specific orange gemstone pieces.


Orange gemstones come in an array of different types, with their own qualities, values and ideal uses in jewelry designs. Amber, carnelian, citrine, fire opal, orange sapphire and spessartine garnet are among the best known orange-hued gemstones. Careful sourcing, cutting and treatment help bring out the optimal color, clarity and fire in these warm-toned stones. Set in precious metals, orange gemstones can make for stunning rings, pendants, earrings and other jewelry pieces that beautifully complement many skin tones and styles.