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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Recent News: Sapphire Jewelry
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Ancient Egyptian Statue Of Princess Found In LuxorHuffington Post, March 7th
A large sapphire ring found by metal detector enthusiast Michael Greenhorn in a field near Escrick, England is thought to have originated in the 5th or 6th century and may have even belonged to a king. Greenhorn sold the ring to the Yorkshire Museum...Read more
Prom perfect: 2014 dress fashions focus on sparkles, new fun colorsGaston Gazette, March 7th
Sparkly earrings and oversized jewelry are on trend, with this year being more about shimmer than pearls. “The girls are all about having their bling,” she said. “[It's] embellishment that girls that age can use on their dress or on their accessories...Read more
American Lung Association's gala has 'Great Gatsby' themeThe Patriot-News, March 7th
The gala's name is derived from a tradition of offering sapphire jewelry at the live auction. For more than a decade, Ceylon Leitzel of Leitzel's Jewelry in Myerstown has donated a piece of sapphire jewelry. Leitzel has asthma. At the gala, the...Read more
Couple reports theft of jewelry, silver and Canadian money: Pepper Pike police ...The Plain Dealer (blog), March 7th
Grand theft from building, Bolingbrook Road: A couple reported Feb. 22 that a number of valuables were missing from their house, including a diamond and sapphire wedding band, a silver brooch necklace, silver spoons and Canadian money, with no value ...Read more
Sapphire Engagement Ring – Design Your Own at Pyramid Studios, Jewelers in ...Bangor Daily News, March 7th
At Pyramid Studios, jewelers of Ellsworth, Sapphires are our first choice for alternative engagement rings. We love their strength and vibrancy of color. Besides their famous blues, sapphires are available in every color except red, that is reserved...Read more
How to Find a Unique Engagement Ring: A Complete GuideStyleCaster, March 6th
Prior to that, enamel cameo rings were common, as were opal rings (before they acquired a reputation for bad luck in the 19th century), while sapphire rings were popular because they symbolized romantic commitment. Harken back to less diamond-centric ...Read more
2014 Oscars: The Leading Men And What They WoreForbes, March 4th
Brad Pitt wore several pieces that he and Angelina Jolie designed with their longtime collaborator, Robert Procop, gem expert and private luxury jeweler. The main item was a 22.31k Black Star Sapphire ring. * Jared Leto received his Best Supporting...Read more
Red Carpet Jewelry At The 2014 OscarsForbes, March 3rd
It included 18k yellow gold rhodochrosite, lapis and turquoise earrings with diamonds; 18k yellow gold square modified brilliant yellow diamond bracelet; 18k yellow gold ring with fire opal, pink sapphire, yellow diamond and spessertite garnet beads...Read more