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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GRAFF Diamonds Partners with Art Southampton for Second YearBroadway World, July 22nd
It is a supreme statement of delicacy and boldness, incorporating a total of 676 diamonds and 41 sapphires - with a visually arresting 14.98 carat cushion cut sapphire positioned at its heart. The design for this dramatic cuff draws inspiration...Read more
iPhone 6 To Have Strongest Display : The iPhone 6 Might Be The First Smart ...Hallels, July 22nd
Apparently sapphire is good for more than one reason which is making pretty pieces of jewelry. It has proven to endure the everyday challenges a smartphone faces like falling, bending, scratching you name it and it is also very good as a screen and...Read more
Police: Man dragged from carHamilton Journal News (subscription), July 21st
at the Hampton Inn, 2880 Towne Boulevard. The victim said he and his wife left their room to attend a wedding. He told officers his wife realized someone stole two pieces of jewelry, a gold anniversary diamond ring and a blue sapphire diamond ring...Read more
How Apple Could Afford an iPhone With a Sapphire DisplayPC Magazine, July 21st
As I mentioned in last week's column, I imagine Apple could create an iWatch that scans price ranges of $400 to up to $10,000 depending on the quality of the watch bands or cases and in the higher end, position them more as jewelry than smartwatches...Read more
I think the sapphire display is going to put the iPhone back on the mapPhoneDog, July 19th
However, that all is set to change if the rumors and leaks regarding the iPhone 6's sapphire display is true. Apparently sapphire is good for more than just pretty pieces of jewelry - they also make quite a compelling component for a stronger-than-ever ...Read more
#RocksMyWorld: See How Maison Martin Margiela Puts a Spin on Jewelry ...InStyle, July 17th
The iconic round brilliant-cut diamond engagement ring is re-imagined as two half-moon shaped diamonds with a little space in between them. A traditional gold signet ring is split down the center. Several jewels play on the idea of a sapphire in a halo...Read more
Jacob's Diamond & Estate Jewelry Introduces an Art Deco Sapphire, Diamond ...PR.com (press release), June 25th
Jacob's Diamond & Estate Jewelry, a vintage and estate jewelry store based in Los Angeles, CA that features unique second hand items such as estate diamond rings, vintage engagement rings, and Art Deco necklaces, recently announced that they have ...Read more
Ross-Simons Jewelers Gives the Royal Treatment with Its True Blue SweepstakesPR.com (press release), June 25th
“We are excited to be giving away a gorgeous sapphire and diamond ring,” said Darrell Ross, CEO and president of Ross-Simons. “Since the sapphire is symbolic of loyalty, this sweepstakes is the perfect way for us to thank our loyal customers.” Ross...Read more