Sapphires are cut from an extremely hard mineral called corundum, which is also the source of an even rarer gem, the ruby. Used in everything from necklaces to bracelets to rings, sapphires get their characteristic blue hue from iron and titanium in the mineral. A variant of the sapphire, the padparadscha, ranges in color from pink to orange and occurs only in Sri Lanka. Other sapphires are mined in North America, Russia, Africa, and Australia, but the most prized examples are found in Myanmar, India, and Thailand.
During the late-Georgian period, jewelers used sapphires to try out new gem cuts, the most popular being the rose cut and table cut. Georgian sapphires typically had enclosed backs and were set over foil. In the Victorian Era, sapphires were combined with other gemstones in so-called acrostic rings so that the first letter in the name of each stone spelled out the word "dearest," (i.e., diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire, and topaz).
By the 20th century, some of the world’s greatest examples of fine jewelry were anchored and accented by sapphires. Cosmetics queen Helena Rubinstein wore a starfish-shaped, Ecalle-designed ornament on the back of her hand, whose center was dominated by a large sapphire cabochon. Opera singer Ganna Walska wore enormous sapphires on her fingers.
Daisy Fellowes, whose grandfather was Isaac Singer (as in the sewing machine) favored sapphire brooches from Cartier. The Duchess of Windsor also shopped at Cartier for sapphires; one of her many necklaces featured no less than nine flower-like clusters of sapphires, each liberally accented with diamonds and attached to a pair of sapphire-bead chains.
The most sought-after sapphires are usually the ones of deepest blue. Kashmir sapphires are the color of cornflowers, often shading to rich purples, while those from Mynamar have a more royal-blue tint. Stones from other regions that are not as naturally blue are often cut to ensure that the meager amount of blue in the gem radiates throughout the final cut-and-polished piece (the secret is to leave the blue at the gem’s base rather than its surface).
Almost all shades of blue are generally acceptable for sapphires, even ones with gray in them, which makes the blue “steely.” Green, however, is not desirable. Unfortunately, the impurities that make most sapphires blue can also produce shades of green when the stone is held at certain angles. That’s just one reason why the skill of the cutter is so important.
Green can also occur when sapphires are heat-treated to make them more blue. In fact, heat is one of numerous treatments used to enrich the color of sapphires. For example, distr...
Last but not least is the star sapphire, whose asterism, as it is called, is the result of light playing upon the silk-like fibers within a stone. Most heat treatments diminish a stone’s asterism (the trade off for the jeweler, though, is a richer color). Some star sapphires, particularly those from Thailand and Sri Lanka, have another stone’s base glued to theirs. While this makes the gem appear larger and more imposing than it really is, over time the glue can yellow the stone.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
All About Jewels Dictionary
Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry
Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Sapphire Jewelry
Source: Google News
We Finally Know What HP's New Designer Smartwatch Will Look LikeBusinessinsider India, October 31st
There's also a limited edition with sapphire crystal and an alligator strap that will sell for $649. The battery is ... The MICA smart bracelet, a collaborative effort between Intel and Opening Ceremony, comes covered in gems and looks like a piece of...Read more
Statement Jewelry Takes Center StageGotham Magazine, October 30th
new york jewelry Macrame Arabesque top ($3,490) and macrame Arabesque skirt ($2,990), Valentino. 693 Fifth Ave., 212-355-5811. White round and pear-shaped diamond and sapphire Bombe earrings (price on request), sapphire and white diamond cuff ...Read more
The Blue Belle of AsiaJCK, October 28th
A 392.53 ct. Ceylon sapphire and a pair of Bulgari pear-shape diamond earrings will headline the Nov. 11 Christie's Magnificent Jewels sale in Geneva. The Bulgari earrings are estimated at $12 million to $15 million and feature a 6.95 ct. fancy vivid...Read more
Luxeford Holds Fine Jewelry Auction on November 20Rapaport, October 28th
A fine-looking 11.00-carat unheated vivid pink sapphire from Ceylon, the ring of bombé design, centering upon the oval-cut gem of such rare size by the brilliant-cut diamond border, baguette-cut diamond shoulders and pavé-set brilliant-cut diamond dome...Read more
Why I Lose All My JewelryNew York Times, October 24th
A pair of aquamarine lozenge-shaped earrings, a gift from my husband, that I forgot about for several years and one day noticed were no longer in the little ceramic box where I keep earrings. A pair of sapphire and diamond earrings my mother bought...Read more
Coast Diamond Predicts Sapphire, Ruby and Alexandrite Halo Engagement ...DigitalJournal.com, October 21st
Innovative engagement ring and jewelry designer Coast Diamond, based in Southern California, announced today that alexandrite, sapphire and ruby halo rings in their Signature Color Collection are predicted to be some of the most sought-after styles for ...Read more
Angara Offers Free Sapphire PendantCryptoCoinsNews, October 18th
Angara states, “Sapphire jewelry makes a very significant gift for any special occasion as it speaks about love, devotion, heavenly beauty and eternal bonding.” Your 14K White Gold V-bale pendant design consists of a classic pear-shape complemented by...Read more
Pink Diamond Sets Auction Record; Sapphires, Pearls and Rubies Climb in ...Forbes, October 12th
I'm a one-time daily newspaper reporter who now writes about high-end jewelry, the finest timepieces, luxury and fashion. It seems remarkable when looking back, but, at the same time, it feels quite normal. My first magazine job was with a design and ...Read more