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.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]

Jewel History

Jewel History

Since March of 2007, readers of Lori Ettlinger Gross’s JewelHistory blog have been treated to her weekly (sometim… [read review or visit site]

Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Fine Art Deco 1/2 Carat Sapphire & 1.10 Carat Diamond 18ct Gold Marquise RingStunning Art Deco Design Sapphire And Diamond 14ct Gold RingStunning Art Deco Design Sapphire & Diamond 18k Gold RingSteinhart Ocean One (1) Vintage Red, Men's Diver Watch, Automatic 41mm, SapphireA Gorgious English Hallmarked 18ct Gold Diamond & Cornflower Blue Sapphire Ring.4 Ctw Vintage Estate Natural Cushion Cut Sapphire Diamond & Platinum RingFine Art Deco Design Sapphire & Diamond 18k Gold Half Eternity RingStunning French Antique Platinum 18ct White Gold 3ct Sapphire And Diamond RingFine Art Deco Sapphire & Diamond 18ct Gold And Platinum 3 Stone RingAntique Art Deco Diamond 3.00ct Sapphire 18k Gold Paris Platinum Pin NrFine Art Deco Design Pink Sapphire & Diamond 18k Gold RingEdwardian 1 Carat Tw Diamond Platinum Sapphire Engagement Solitaire Ring Nr MmbEstate Diamond 1.57ct Sapphire Platinum Halo Engagement Ring Nr14k Gold Natural Ceylon Sapphire & Diamond Ring Vtg Sz7 Estate CertEstate Vintage Natural 1.01ctw Ruby Sapphire Emerald & Diamond 18k Gold NecklaceFine Sapphire & Pearl 14k Gold Art Nouveau RingGeorgian Edwardian 3.50ct Sapphire Old Mine Diamond 18k Gold Silver BraceletVintage Solid 9ct Gold Sapphire And Diamond Gem Set Ladies Eternity Ring Size RStunning Art Deco Design Sapphire & Diamond 18ct Gold Cluster RingAntique Georgian? Victorian 0.33ct Old Cut Diamond Sapphire 18ct Gold PendantVintage Estate Natural Ruby Sapphire Emerald & Diamond 18k Gold Huggie EarringsJudith Ripka 19.00ctw Quartz On Coral Orange Sapphire Diamond 18k Gold RingStunning Art Deco Design Sapphire And Diamond 18ct Gold Cluster RingEstate 4.20ct Ruby Sapphire Emerald 18k Gold Wide Band Ring 27.1 Grams NrVictorian .65ct Natural Ceylon Blue Sapphire 14k Gold Pendant Necklace SetLadies 1920s Benrus Swiss 14k Solid Gold Sapphires & Diamonds Art Deco Watch A+Stunning Art Deco Five Stone Sapphire & Diamond 18k Gold & Platinum RingAntique 1920s $12,000 3ct Natural Blue Sapphire Diamond Platinum Wedding RingVintage Estate 4.80ct Ceylon Blue Sapphire Diamond 10k Gold Ring Pear Cut Vg++Vintage Solid 18ct Gold Georg Jensen Sapphire Diamond Ladies Ring Size ORetro Vintage 6.00ctw Blue Sapphire & Diamond Geometrical 14k Gold BraceletDesigner Signed Vintage Natural Ceylon Blue Sapphire & Diamond 18k Gold BraceletAntique 1930s $5000 2ct Natural Blue Sapphire Diamond Platinum Wedding RingDiamond 4.20ct Sapphire Emerald Ruby Pearl Gold Drop Earrings 27.4 Grams NrFine Art Deco Design Pink Sapphire And Diamond Rose Gold RingFine Pair Of Art Deco Design Sapphire And Diamond Gold Cluster EarringsEstate 14kt Yellow Gold .42ctw 28 Sapphire Dome Ring Band Stunning 4gr Size 7Vintage 14kt Yellow Gold & Sapphire Bumble Bee Bug Figural Brooch Pin, 2.55 DwtEstate 14k Yellow Gold Pink Sapphire Diamond & Natural Opal Earrings 14kt ThlAntique 1930s $9000 3ct Natural Blue Sapphire Diamond Platinum Wedding RingVintage Estate 3.84ct Ceylon Blue Sapphire Diamond 10k Gold Ring Emerald Cut Vg+Vintage Real 3.9ct Blue White Sapphire Sterling Silver Ring Big Estate CocktailAntique 18k White Gold Filigree Sapphire Ring 1920's Art Deco Cabochon SolitaireVictorian Hiend 21.40tw Rose Cut Diamond & Fancy Sapphire Dangle Earrings 11gVintage Sterling Silver Massive Headlight White Sapphire Mogul RingAntique $10,000 3ct Natural Pear Cut Padparadscha Sapphire Diamond Platinum RingStunning Emerald,diamond & Sapphire Leopard Gold RingWomens Estate Platinum 1.85 Ctw Diamond Ceylon Sapphire Gemstone Engagement Ring$99~platinum F/vs 1.20ct Diamond~vivid Pink Sapphire 3.00ct Ring-$19,850Vintage 14k White Gold & Blue Sapphire Wedding Anniversary Band$2,599 Deco 14k Gold Filigree .70ct Ceylon Sapphire & G-si Genuine Diamond RingFine Victorian Sapphire And Diamond 18ct Gold 3 Stone RingFine 1/2 Carat Sapphire White Gold Gypsy RingAntique Victorian 1870s $7000 3ct Natural Blue Sapphire 14k Gold Mens Ring BandEstate Gia 14k Rose Gold Natural 10.35 Ct Antique Sapphire Fancy Cert. BraceletVintage Estate 3.53ct Ceylon Pink Sapphire Diamond 10k Gold Ring Cushion Cut Vg+Fine Large & Heavy Yellow,pink & Blue Sapphire & 1.66ct Diamond 18k Gold RingBeautiful Antique Victorian Solid Silver Sapphire Paste Owl Brooch Circa 1890Estate Diamond 1.10ct Sapphire 18k Gold Bracelet 18.4 Grams NrAntique 3ct Natural No Heat Purple Flawless Sapphire Diamond 14k Gold Ring

Recent News: Sapphire Jewelry

Source: Google News

Which Stars Are Walking Down The Aisle?
Entertainment Tonight, August 29th

“I went on a hunt to find a sapphire because that's what she wanted, she didn't want a diamond,” the 45-year-old Blue Bloods star said. “She's not a big jewelry girl and she just hinted a few times she wasn't a big diamond girl. She loves sapphires so...Read more

The New Season
Diablo Magazine, August 29th

Jason Wu dress, $1,495, at Nordstrom; Lizzie Fortunato earrings, $195, at McMullen; Lauren Wolf six-strand pyrite bracelet, $220, at Esqueleto; contemporary diamond ring, $6,250, at Shane Co.; Gucci patent leather clutch, $790, at Neiman Marcus...Read more

#RocksMyWorld: Beyoncé's Bold Baubles at the VMAs
InStyle, August 28th

“Beyonce's doesn't always wear jewelry on stage, but she wanted to on Sunday,” Schwartz says. Peeking out from under her flowing chestnut hair were 25-carat sapphire studs. On her index fingers she flaunted one 40-carat sapphire ring and a flawless ...Read more

Oversize Drop Earrings and Colored Stones Dazzle at 2014 Emmys
JCK, August 26th

Blue sapphires also took center stage: outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series nominee Julie Bowen wore large blue sapphire drop earrings from Jacob & Co., jewelry lover Debra Messing wore a 12 ct. blue sapphire ring from Chopard, and ...Read more

Sparkling Fall 2014 Jewelry Preview (Part 1)
Forbes, August 25th

The most interesting jewelry in the world often comes from designers who have a signature style and who largely work with certain materials. They take what's happening around them and adapt it to their style and viewpoint. They don't chase trends...Read more

GT Advanced Technologies Is On Target To Produce Sapphire For The iWatch ...
Seeking Alpha (registration), August 22nd

The newest finished good being requested for production from Mesa, AZ is related to sapphire for jewelry and is a strong indication that GT is manufacturing sapphire for the iWatch. GTAT and Apple have requested approval to expand the existing scope of ...Read more

Apple filing reveals plans for sapphire and 'jewelry' components
TechRadar UK, August 21st

In case you wanted even more evidence Apple is planning to release a new sapphire laden device... PTT Research Senior Analyst Matt Margolis posted an Apple filing on Scribd in which the Cupertino firm asked the US Department of Commerce for ...Read more

Fine-Jewelry Shoppers Flock Online
Wall Street Journal, August 1st

Right hand from left: Monique Péan Grey Sapphire and White Diamond Pavé Ring, $27,380,; Sabine G. 18K White Gold Ring, $8,212,; Katherine Jetter Queen Ruby II 18K Yellow Gold and Diamond Pavé Ring, $28,000, ...Read more