News

Ethereal Sapphires

Originally posted on September 1st, 2017

Updated April 10th, 2020

 

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The author's photograph displays the enthralling blue of both the Hall Sapphire and Diamond Necklace (left) and the Bismarck Sapphire Necklace (right) from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.

September’s birthstone has had an ethereal reputation since the 800s. Sapphires stand for faithfulness, nobility, sincerity, and protection against evil. They often associate with the sky, and considering the gorgeous blue color, this makes sense. The name Sapphire comes from the Latin sappirus and the Greek sappheiros, both meaning “blue stone.” There is also another story where the name comes from the Biblical word sappur, the material used to build God’s throne. Hmmm, a gem that used to construct the Throne of God in an engagement ring? Yes, please. I think this 14kt White Gold Bezel Set Blue Sapphire Ring will hold sapphires beautifully, don’t you agree? It even looks like a cloud!


      


With such a beautiful blue color, sapphires are the most popular gemstones in the United States. They are also a part of the Big Three in the gem and jewelry industry with ruby and emerald. Even before the popularity, sapphires adorned the wardrobes of both nobility and clergy, believing to eliminate wicked thoughts and repel poisons.

What makes Sapphire unique from the Big Three is that it is available in a variety of prices and colors, which means that there are sapphires for every budget. Sapphire comes in multiple shades of blue from very pale to almost pitch black. Almost.

Sapphire is technically a variety of corundum, related to the July’s birthstone, ruby. Instead of chromium, blue sapphire obtains its popular color from iron and titanium. There are also other sapphire colors available in all the colors of the rainbow. Those are called fancy sapphires. I'll get into more detail about these next week.

Traditionally, people associate the word sapphire with the color blue. Technically, the most beautiful judged sapphires in the world are blue. Even other blue gemstones, from blue tourmaline to sky blue topaz to tanzanite, are judged by Sapphire's regal blue. There multiple places in the world where you can find blue sapphires.

The mines of Kashmir on the India/Pakistan border had legendary sapphires. Their shade of blue is the most desirable color in the industry. They possess a rich and velvety violet-blue color, thanks to millions of tiny inclusions that reflect light and produce a faint sheen called silk. It was prominent in the 1880s, but now there is little to no production. Estate sales and auctions might have Kashmir sapphire jewelry today.


Velvety Blue Sapphire

gia.edu - Courtesy Edward Boehm, JOEB Enterprises, Chattanooga, Tennessee

Sri Lanka produces sapphires that can weigh over 100 carats. They're also known for having a delightful cornflower blue color. These are called Ceylon sapphires in the trade. Our Ceylon Blue Sapphire & Diamond Ring is a lovely example of how beautiful sapphires from Sri Lanka can be.

Here is a picture of a cornflower, in case anybody was wondering what a cornflower was. It is a pretty and edible flower. I'm surprised about the consumable part too, and I'm off track. Back to the sapphires!

Image result for cornflower

Photograph was taken by and (c)2007 Johnathan J. Stegeman

Australia has alluring midnight blue sapphires. New South Wales and Queensland, Australia, are the prime sources of dark and inky blue sapphires. Most commercial grade sapphires originate in Australia. Our 14K White Gold Pave Ring might have Australia's lovely dark-blue sapphires in its black rhodium plated prong settings.

      


Montana, specifically the Yogo Gulch mines, has greenish-blue sapphires and fancy colors. This picture from the Smithsonian website has lovely examples of Montana sapphires. I think we can all agree that they are pretty. If you wish, we can provide a Sapphire and a setting made in America. Like peridot from Arizona.

The author's photograph from the Smithsonian

Sapphires also come from Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Brazil, and Nigeria. According to GIA, there is a new sapphire deposit in northern Ethiopia. I need to read more about this, but it sounds exciting—an newly discovered sapphire deposit.

Sapphire, with its symbolism for wisdom and purity, is a popular alternative to a diamond for an engagement ring. Princess Diana’s and Kate Middleton’s sapphire engagement ring is the most famous example of a sapphire engagement ring. Our 14K White Gold Diamond Halo Accent Engagement Ring is an example of royal inspiration.



Daniel Moijey and I had a client who ordered a 14K White & Yellow Double Halo Oval Engagement Ring Mounting from us. We completed the order last week, and she said yes! That makes me so happy! Look at the ring that brought so much joy!

 

Now we have other clients coming to us for sapphire engagement rings. As a gemologist, I'm excited for September. Not only is the fall coming with hot apple cider and cozy sweaters, but I can finally write about one of my favorite gemstones: sapphires.

Thank you for stopping by everyone. I look forward to seeing you when I write about fancy sapphires.