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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For most people, a typical Valentine's Day gift usually involves a combination of roses, fancy chocolates stuffed in a heart-shaped box, and perhaps a nice dinner on the town. However, both men and women can improve their game in giving gifts that are ...Read more
5 Ways to Avoid Going Into Debt for an Engagement RingSTLtoday.com, January 29th
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Why You'll Never See An iPhone with a Sapphire ScreenTechzone360, January 28th
In this instance strength is actually weakness. Sapphire is stronger but that strength comes at the cost of flexibility. Chrystal structures don't flex which isn't a problem for Jewelry or cutting tools but is a huge problem for anything much larger...Read more
Yellow Gold Jewelry Makes An Entrance At 2015 SAG Awards Red CarpetForbes, January 27th
Yellow gold snuck into the all-white party that has so far typified the red carpet awards season for jewelry this year. Just like the recently held Golden Globes, white metals and diamonds reigned supreme. But this time yellow gold also came on strong...Read more
Jeweler David Morris on Precious Times and Hidden GemsWall Street Journal, January 27th
I made it into a necklace. It cost a few million dollars. Some gems suit certain people. As a redhead, you probably wouldn't want to wear rubies. Sapphires suit a blonde. I am not interested in semiprecious stones, but colored diamonds have probably...Read more
Wes Moss: The truth about diamond ringsAtlanta Journal Constitution (blog), January 26th
De Beers later came up with the famous slogan, “A Diamond Is Forever,” in 1947 which helped diamond rings quickly become commonplace. Before the ad campaign you were more likely to see a bride wearing a sapphire or a different gemstone rather than a ...Read more
Police Hunt for Frenemy Jewel Thief Who Stole $17K in Gems During SleepoverDNAinfo, January 23rd
EAST HARLEM — A woman who let a close friend spend the night woke up to find the friend and $17,500 worth of jewelry gone. Yolanda Blackman,42, is suspected of taking a bag full of expensive jewelry from an apartment on 112 East 128th St. on Jan...Read more
Set Point! Kate Middleton's Favorite Pair of Earrings Perfectly Match Her ...InStyle, January 18th
If you take a peek inside Kate Middleton's jewelry box, you're sure to find quite a selection of sparkling jewels. One piece that caught our eye? The Duchess of Cambridge's favorite diamond and sapphire drop earrings that strongly resemble her...Read more