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.
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Donatienne's Nikki Erwin On Her Edgy New Jewelry Line, EstablishedRacked, March 30th
Comprised of stackable stunners crafted from 14K and 18K gold, rose gold, and silver, the made-to-order range includes standouts like a ring etched with "thug life" in cursive ($1800), a white gold razor blade necklace ($7,500), and a rose gold and...Read more
Apple's smartwatch may be worth thousands, but it's not Dick Tracy'sNorwich Bulletin, March 30th
It's said that prices for the smartwatch will range from $349 to more than $10,000, the latter for the Edition Model which is “covered with clear sapphire and encased in 18-karat rose or yellow gold.” The smartwatch, which will let its wearer make...Read more
HTC One M9: A strong phone leaves you wanting moreUSA TODAY, March 30th
For sure, the Taiwanese phone maker's latest Android flagship is a solid 5.5-ounce all-around handset, one crafted with a dual-tone metal body that is supposed to evoke fine jewelry. It comes in gold on silver, gold on gold, or gun-metal gray and has a...Read more
Apple Watch Edition customers to receive executive level treatmentZDNet, March 30th
Ability to try up to two Apple Watch Edition models at a time; Special station and area setup similar to a jewelry store; Two year, 24/7, support with video conferencing option; Dedicated contact center phone number reserved for Apple Watch Edition...Read more
Samsung Galaxy S6 Starts Pre-Order Campaign March 30thDaily Times, March 30th
The phones are a combination of beauty and power comparable to a piece of fine jewelry. The Galaxy S6 duo is the dual SIM version of the S6.Made out of a fusion of corning gorilla glass 4 and high tensile ... Both devices will be available for order in...Read more
Furnishings and Decorative Arts, Asian, Jewelry, Coins and Fashion in Rago's ...ArtfixDaily, March 26th
The high carat, granulated gold and unique forms were recreated, and 150 years later, this necklace is still incredibly supple, wearable and beautiful. Lot 139, 4.85 cts. untreated blue Burma sapphire ring, is a desirable natural, untreated sapphire...Read more
Bedazzling High Jewelry Timepiece Creations Revealed at Baselworld 2015BLOUIN ARTINFO, March 26th
To call the latest releases of bejeweled ladies' timepieces at Baselworld 2015 blindingly beautiful is a bit of an understatement. The fair, which ends today (March 26), saw high jewelry brands launch watches studded with diamonds, sapphires, pearls...Read more
Taste the RainbowW Magazine, March 6th
Solange Azagury Partridge 18k gold, multi-colored sapphire, amethyst, ruby, emerald, and diamond necklace, $59,000, at Solange Azagury Partrige, New York, 212.879.9100. 2/12. Nam Cho 18k white gold, black rhodium, multi-colored sapphire, zircon, ...Read more