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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Daniela Villegas Previews Spring 2016 Jewelry CollectionWWD, October 1st
Other items she pulls out of her red leather case include rainbow sapphire trapeze earrings and large carved pendants on delicate body chains. Her next collection will include pieces inspired by her recent trip to Peru. She toyed with some native woven ...Read more
Countess LuAnn de Lesseps' Jewelry Line Is Happening: Get an Exclusive Sneak Peek!PEOPLE StyleWatch, September 30th
She already has a clothing line. Now, Countess LuAnn de Lesseps is bringing her brand to the accessories market. The Real Housewives of New York star is getting ready to debut her new jewelry collection, The Countess Collection of Jewelry, which is ...Read more
Safely selling your valuables at E.D. Marshall JewelersABC15 Arizona, September 29th
If you are into colored stone jewelry, prepare to be awed! Edmund Marshall has dedicated his life's work to sourcing the best in Ruby, Emerald, Sapphire, and Diamond Jewelry. The stones on display in the cases and locked in the vault will rival the...Read more
Q&A: Christie's Head of JewelryRobb Report, September 28th
It made $17.5 million, a world auction record for a sapphire. In the May 2014 sale in Geneva, we had a super belle epoque corsage brooch by Cartier that made almost $17.9 million. This past spring, we sold a ruby necklace at Christie's in Hong Kong for...Read more
Unless she's a basic chick, don't propose with a giant rockNew York Post, September 23rd
“Right now, what's hot is colored stones, filigree and a lot of interesting texture and detailing,” says Winikka, who herself wears a yellow-sapphire engagement ring. Today's most popular gemstones include sapphires — blue, yellow and orange — and...Read more
Jewels With Storied Pasts Head to Auction at Sotheby'sObserver, September 21st
A 7.31 carat oval-cut sapphire ring, with a gleaming frame of round-cut diamonds by Tiffany & Co., was once worn by Annie Get Your Gun star Prentice, and has an estimate of $30,000 to $50,000. And an 11.05 carat brilliant-cut fancy yellow diamond ring...Read more
DEAR ABBY Sept. 17: Sapphires pass as diamonds in case of mistaken identityThe Oakland Press, September 17th
DEAR ABBY >> Last year I gave my new (at that time) girlfriend, “Alyssa,” a pair of earrings for her birthday. They were in a box from a department store marked “fine jewelry.” She loved them and became emotional in expressing her gratitude. I thought...Read more
Lost in TraquilityKING5.com, September 14th
Boasting a total of 10 oval cut sapphires, totaling 7ct, nestled and linked together by an overall 8ct of pristine round cut diamonds set in platinum by the hand of a master jeweler. This ravishing necklace is sure to entrance any who are lucky enough...Read more