Science, Tech, Math › Science Gemstone Colors and Transition Metals What Causes Gemstones to Get Their Color Share Flipboard Email Print Science Chemistry Basics Chemical Laws Molecules Periodic Table Projects & Experiments Scientific Method Biochemistry Physical Chemistry Medical Chemistry Chemistry In Everyday Life Famous Chemists Activities for Kids Abbreviations & Acronyms Biology Physics Geology Astronomy Weather & Climate By Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Chemistry Expert Ph.D., Biomedical Sciences, University of Tennessee at Knoxville B.A., Physics and Mathematics, Hastings College Dr. Helmenstine holds a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences and is a science writer, educator, and consultant. She has taught science courses at the high school, college, and graduate levels. our editorial process Facebook Facebook Twitter Twitter Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D. Updated March 08, 2017 Gemstones are minerals that can be polished or cut for use as an ornament or jewelry. The color of a gemstone comes from the presence of trace amounts of transition metals. Take a look at the colors of common gemstones and the metals responsible for their color. Amethyst Amethyst is purple quartz, a silicate. Jon Zander Amethyst is a colored form of quartz that gets its purple color from the presence of iron. Aquamarine Aquamarine is a translucent pale blue or turquoise variety of beryl. Deidre Woollard/Flickr Aquamarine is a blue variety of the mineral beryl. The pale blue color comes from iron. Emerald Colombian emerald crystals. Productos Digitales Moviles Emerald is another form of beryl, this time in a green color due to the presence of both iron and titanium. Garnet This is a faceted garnet. Wela49, Wikipedia Commons Garnet gets its deep red color from iron. Peridot Gemstone-quality olivine (chrysolite) is called peridot. Olivine is one of the most common minerals. It is a magnesium iron silicate with the formula (Mg,Fe)[sub]2[/sub]SiO[sub]4[/sub]. S Kitahashi, wikipedia.org Peridot is the gemstone form of olivine, a mineral formed in volcanoes. The yellow-green color comes from iron. Ruby 1.41-carat faceted oval ruby. Brian Kell Ruby is the name given to gemstone-quality corundum that is pink to red in color. The color comes from the presence of chromium. Sapphire This star sapphire cabochon displays six-ray asterism. Lestatdelc, Wikipedia Commons Corundum is any color besides red is called sapphire. Blue sapphires are colored by iron and titanium. Spinel Spinels are a class of minerals that crystallize in the cubic system. They can be found in a variety of colors. Géry Parent/Flickr Spinel most often appears as a colorless, red or black gem. Any of several elements may contribute to their color. Turquoise Turquoise pebble that has been smoothed by tumbling. Adrian Pingstone Turquoise is an opaque mineral that gets its blue to green color from copper.