If you’re on the lookout for warm, fun gemstones you might’ve noticed it’s easy to find red, pink, and yellow…but what about orange ? It’s one of the most vibrant summer colors yet not easy to find in gemstones. When looking for orange gems you need quite a bit of patience because these are not the most sought-after, so your local jeweler might have a bit of trouble sourcing them for you. Let’s take a look at which gems are usually orange, or also have an orange versions so you know what to look for.
What gemstones are orange ?
The best orange gemstones to use in jewelry are the one with a vivid color and a high Mohs hardness rating so the gems will withstand daily wear and tear without scratching or chipping. The hardest natural orange gemstones are orange diamonds and orange sapphires, but there are many more orange gems to consider, even if they are a bit softer.
After all, not all jewelry is meant to be worn daily. If you’re looking for statement jewelry, or something to wear occasionally like for formal events, there are quite a few gems that come in the right shades of orange. Just keep in mind that the softer the gem, the more TLC they need.
Read also: Pink Sapphire VS Ruby
Now let’s take a look at the most common orange gems you can find, and how well they’d behave as jewelry. We’ve compiled this list by prioritizing Mohs hardness and color intensity in the gems.
1. Orange diamonds
Diamonds are usually white, that’s true, but there are also (very) fancy diamonds and those come in a multitude of colors. In fact all diamonds that are not white (or rather clear) are called fancy diamonds, simply to distinguish them from the usual diamonds.
So, orange diamonds are fancy diamonds. Their orange coloration comes from a combination of:
- a physical deformation of the crystal lattice, as this gives reddish hues
- trace amounts of nitrogen, as this gives a yellow-brown body color
One thing to remember about orange diamonds, they are a noticeable orange but are not as vivid or bright or intense as other orange gemstones, at least not without heat or radiation treatment. But orange diamonds still provide some serious sparkle and brilliance, which is something you won’t easily get in other orange gemstones.
After all, an orange diamond is still a diamond. As such it’s the toughest thing around – 10 out of 10 on the Mohs scale. And it’s also quite expensive. Orange diamonds sell for an average of about $200,000 per carat, with brown tinted ones selling for less and the brighter, yellow tinted ones selling for more. Clarity doesn’t seem to impact orange diamond prices as much.
2. Orange sapphires
Orange sapphires are a type of corundum that is quite easy to find. Normally you’d expect sapphire to be blue, but in truth all corundum that is not red is referred to as a sapphire, even the oranges ones.
As a variety of corundum you’ll find that orange sapphires are very tough, scoring a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. This makes them a great choice for everyday wear. And, they also come in some very vivid orange tones, definitely brighter and more colorful that orange diamonds. They lack the sparkle of an orange diamond, but they make up for it in price.
Orange sapphires are actually very affordable, especially when you put into perspective how much other sapphires are. An orange sapphire sells for an average of $600 per carat for a vivid color and eye-clean clarity. A pink sapphire sells for and average of $2,500 per carat while the typical blue sapphire sells for an average of $7,000 per carat. So by comparison an orange one is a bit of a steal !
3. Mexican fire opal
Mexican fire opals are here to deliver that burning bright orange you’ve been looking for, with a red undertone to keep things intense. Really, these fire opals are the most intense orange-red you’ll ever find and they can look almost red in some photos.
The downside to these beauties is that they’re very often cloudy, as are 99% of opals. And they very rarely have the color flashes usually associated with regular opals, but you can find a few. Fire opals sell for a wide price range, depending on their clarity, color intensity, and whether they have play of color or not. So you can expect to find these gems for anything from $200 to $1000 per carat.
They are opals in the end, and as such they’re soft gems, averaging a 6 on the Mohs scale. We recommend you only use these gems as pendants or earrings. Anything else will get too many hits and scratches, eventually damaging the opal.
4. Imperial topaz
Imperial topaz is just as impressive as it sounds. This is a variety of topaz that comes in a impressive orange-pink-gold shade, and it’s often a very strong color. As it’s a topaz you can expect eye-clean gems, even in imperial topaz.
That being said, the price is the highest possible for a topaz. You’ll find imperial topaz for sale at about $700 per carat, a bit less for the paler ones. If you find imperial topaz with an orange-pink hue it will usually be over $1,000 per carat. So take a good look at the color on the gem.
Topaz is a fairly tough gem, scoring an 8 on the Mohs scale, so it can work for occasional wear. If you want to wear it daily or very often, know that topaz may scratch easier than diamonds or sapphires. And because topaz is a very, very clear gem the scratches will turn it cloudy in a few years.
5. Orange garnet (spessartite or Mandarin)
Orange garnet is another beautiful gem you could try, and it’s not even that hard to find. The orange ones are also called spessartite garnet so keep an eye on the label when sourcing these. Unfortunately these garnets don’t come in very bright color, at least not as bright as an orange sapphire.
Orange garnets are orange indeed, but they’re more of a burnt orange, a slightly darker hue that may remind you of autumn leaves more than of pumpkins. Still a very beautiful gem !
The usual price for an orange garnet is about $50 per carat, so a very affordable price. Actually it seems to be the most affordable orange gem on this list so far. Garnets are a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, so they will scratch in time. Perhaps consider wearing these as earrings or pendants if you want them long-term.
Citrine gemstones are actually a form of quartz, the yellow-orange version. Citrine is not very well know, at least not as well known as other orange gems on this list but it’s definitely one of the more affordable ones. It’s also fairly simple to get a hold of, though you should know that the orange in this gem can vary.
Citrine is in fact mostly yellow, with some specimens reaching a deeper honey-gold color that could cross all the way into orange. You’ll find citrine for an average of $7 per carat, which makes it a truly affordable gemstone. The orange is very soft, it’s not a bright burst of color like in Mexican fire opal, but this is mostly due to the high clarity of citrine.
Unfortunately this gem scores a 7 on the Mohs scale, just like amethyst (another form of quartz). This makes citrine a gem that will quickly scratch and turn cloudy when worn every single day as a ring or bracelet. We recommend either a pendant or a pair of earrings.
7. Oregon sunstone
If you’re from the U.S. then the Oregon sunstone may be very easy to find. This gem is a type of feldspar, and when cut and polished it looks as if someone spilled a whole lot of tiny, fine glitter into a clear gem. The overall hue of sunstone is light golden-orange, due to the tiny copper particles within the gem. There is also a very fine layer of feldspar that looks a bit like the color play of an opal. Overall this si a very interesting gem, even if nit’s not a high clarity one.
You can expect these gems to sell for an average of $15 per carat, with the sparkly ones selling for less, and the one with play of color and sparkle selling for almost double.
Amber is one of the gemstones on this list that isn’t quite a gem. Amber is the solidified, fossilized resin of ancient trees, and it can be both clear and included. It’s the included ones that fetch the highest price, especially if the inclusion is an entire insect, a feather, an interesting leaf, and so on.
Amber comes in a wide range of orange, in fact it’s most similar to honey in color. You’ll find amber from pale yellow to deep golden orange, bordering on brown. One thing to remember about amber: this is solidified resin, which is a thick, viscous liquid. Even in its most solid form, it is highly sensitive to scratches.
Do not set amber as anything other than a pendant or earrings. Amber scores a very frail 2.5 on the Mohs scale, just like pearls. You can find amber for sale at anywhere between $20 per carat to several thousands of dollars. The price depends on the age of the amber and the inclusions within it. If you’re just interested in it for the clarity and color, you can easily get a good piece for under $50.
What do orange gems go with ?
We recommend you pair the warm hues of orange gems with a white metal, such as platinum, rhodium-plated white gold, or silver. A yellow or rose gold metal would be washed out in comparison to the orange gems.
A white or silver metal will be a neutral color and better showcase the warmth of the gem. That being said if you’d like to use yellow or rose gold in your jewelry, then consider a few white gems to act as a border or transition between the orange and the other color.
White gems like diamonds, moissanite, or white sapphire all work very well in this regard.
I’m the main author for shinyfacts.com. I started this site after we did tons of research before our wedding and noticed that there is information about rings, jewelry, and so on that is really hard to find on the internet.