Sapphire is one of the oldest gems.
Sapphire is the most popular and best-selling blue gemstone in the world. It is part of the range of 4 precious stones with diamond, ruby and emerald. Sapphire belongs to the corundum family. There is a wide variety of colors that we do not know or that we think belong to a different range: colorless, pink, orange, yellow, purple, black.
Yellow corundums are called yellow sapphires. Green corundum, green sapphire and colorless corundum are called leucosaphirs.
Attention, blue corundums are simply called Sapphires. Another exception, red corundums are called … Rubis.
The color of sapphires depends on the proportions of chromogenic elements in the chemical composition of the stone (titanium, iron, vanadium, chromium, etc.)
To recognize a real sapphire, you have to look at it under natural light to see its silky luster and true color. It is necessary to observe the inclusions of the crystal and the bubbles so as not to also confuse it with a synthetic stone.
Sapphires come from Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon), Burma, Thailand, Australia, Cambodia, Nigeria, Kenya Tanzania, China, India, Vietnam, Madagascar and the United States.
The most famous sources for sapphire are Kashmir and Burma, now called Myanmar.
Kashmir sapphire has a rich, slightly quilted color highly prized by connoisseurs. Sapphires from Burma, from the same region that produces fabulous rubies, are also of very good quality. However, today these two provenances only account for a very small share of the stones on the market.
Most fine sapphires today come from Sri Lanka or Madagascar, producing a wide range of beautiful stones from sky blue to rich saturated colors. Sri Lanka is also a very important producer of fancy sapphires such as the famous Padparadsha (pink-orange).
The other sapphires
Yellow, orange and pink colored sapphires are increasingly sought after.
ruby is a colored corundum, just like sapphire. What defines the ruby is its red color which can be more or less intense and when a ruby is only weakly tempted, then it will be a pink sapphire.
Star sapphires have a particular formation of rutile needles crossing at 60° and can be cut in cabochon and give a six-pointed star.
As with rubies, star sapphires are judged by the fineness of the star, its rays and the quality of the color.
To determine the quality of a stone, the color is the most important criterion.
As for other gems, the value of sapphire depends on its purity (visible inclusions or a colored veil reduce the value) and the intensity of its color: it must be lively and sustained, neither too pale nor too dark.
The differences in color of sapphires mainly comes from the chemical elements composing the stone. These elements can be iron, titanium, chromium, vanadium or magnesium.
theblue sapphireowes its color to chemical impurities in the form of iron and titanium oxides.
It is the presence of iron and iron alone that gives its coloryellow or orangesapphire, the presence of another element changing its color.
thepink sapphireis a corundum containing traces of chromium and having too weak a tint to be called ruby. It is an excellent alternative to pink diamond, which is overpriced, while pink sapphire is quite affordable.
Sapphire has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale. And remember, all stones are fragile! even the diamond….
Nevertheless resistant, sapphires can be mounted in rings, earrings or pendants!
The sapphire being a solid gem, it is possible to cut it in different ways: pear, oval, round, rectangle, heart... Let your imagination run wild!
Since the beginning of the 20th century, there have been synthetic sapphires developed by the French engineer August Verneuil. They can be recognizable with a magnifying glass, in particular thanks to curved growth lines (these lines are straight in a natural sapphire).
A little history
Sapphire is one of the oldest gems. Known since Antiquity, it takes its name from the Hebrew sappir, meaning “the most beautiful thing”.
The sapphire is a symbol of purity and elevation.
Sapphire because of its blue color is often associated with celestial purity, alchemists in the Middle Ages for example associated sapphire with air.
The sapphire would have virtues both physically and spiritually. It would strengthen eyesight, fight fever and stop nosebleeds if applied to the forehead. It would have a beneficial action on the hair, the skin and the nails, fighting against baldness for example... the sapphire is the stone of the natives of September.