SapphireSapphire is the birthstone of September & the anniversary gemstone for the 5th and 45th years of marriage.
Sapphire - gem of the heavens, or the divine gemstone, has been cherished for thousands of years. The ancient Persians believed that the earth rested on a giant sapphire and its reflection colored the sky. Sapphire is found in all colors: from midnight blue to the bright blue of the noon sky, from a golden sunrise to reddish-orange, and the delicate violet of twilight. The most famous and valuable sapphires are a truly royal blue.
History & Romance
Sapphire symbolizes sincerity and faithfulness, and is an excellent choice for an engagement ring. When Prince Charles gave Princess Diana a sapphire engagement ring, couples all over the world were inspired to revive this ancient tradition.
Mainly, sapphires come from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Australia and Cambodia. The United States, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, China and Madagascar also produce some sapphires. The deposits in Montana produce a range of fancy colors, and deep blue sapphires come from one of the world's largest deposits at Yogo Gulch, where sapphires are small in size but have a beautiful blue. Some of the most famous sources for sapphires are Kashmir and Burma. The Kashmir sapphire, which was discovered over 100 years ago, has a rich velvety color prized by professionals. Burma sapphires, from the same region that produces excellent rubies, are also very fine. Unfortunately, today these two countries produce very small quantities of sapphires. Most fine sapphires on the market today come from Sri Lanka, which produces a wide range of beautiful blues from delicate sky blue colors to rich saturated hues. Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Pailin in Cambodia are renowned for deep blue sapphires.
Two relatively new mining localities are showing promise: Madagascar, which has produced some exceptionally fine stones in small sizes but has no organized mining yet, and Tanzania, which has long produced sapphires in other colors but is starting to produce blue colors as well from a new deposit in the south.
Sapphires are available in every color but red and sapphire engagement rings are gaining popularity worldwide. Sapphire in colors other than blue is often referred to as fancy sapphire. The most valuable sapphires have a medium intense, vivid blue color. The best sapphires hold the brightness of their color under all different types of lighting. Any black, gray, or green overtones mixed in with the blue will reduce a stone's value. In general, a more pastel blue would be less preferred than a vivid blue but would be priced higher than an overdark blackish blue color. As with all gemstones, sapphires which are "clean" and have few visible inclusions or tiny flaws are the most valuable. However some very fine sapphires, in particular those from Kashmir, have a velvety mist-like texture which enhances the richness of the blue.
Sapphires are most often cut in a cushion shape - a rounded rectangle - or an oval shape. You can also find smaller sapphires in round brilliant cuts and a wide variety of fancy shapes, including triangles, squares, emerald cuts, marquises, pear shapes, baguette shapes, and cabochon cuts, or smooth domes.
Some sapphires contain unusual tiny needle-like inclusions, and are cut in a cabochon shape to display a dancing six-rayed white star. Star sapphires, which are becoming more rare, are very popular for men's rings. Star sapphires are judged by the sharpness of the star, the evenness of the rays or "legs" of the star, and the body color of the sapphire. It is extremely rare to find a star-sapphire with a sharp star and a bright blue body color. The ancients regarded star sapphires as a very powerful talisman, a guiding star for travelers and seekers of all kinds. They were so powerful, they were said to continue to protect the wearer even after being passed on to someone else.
By some estimates 99.9% of sapphires are heated at very high temperatures to improve the color or clarity. This process dissolves trace elements already present in the sapphire. There is no price difference between heated and non-heated sapphires. It is very difficult to scratch a sapphire, which is harder than any other gem ( 9 on the Mohs scale) except a diamond. Synthetic sapphire is used for scratch-resistant instruments, optical scanners, watch crystals, etc, because of its durability.
|Sapphire - Main Characteristics|
|Hardness (Mohs Scale)||9|
|Color/Spectrum||Blue, yellow, pink, white gamma.|
|Atomic (Crystal )Structure||Cross sectional.|
|Index of Refraction||1.7|
|Density (Relative)||2.65 - 2.68|
|Light interaction||Vitreous to semi-transparent|
|Uses||Jewelry, engagement rings and other.|
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