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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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 SeasonDiablo 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 VMAsInStyle, 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 EmmysJCK, 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' componentsTechRadar 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
Deputy seek handyman suspected of stealing jewelryOcala, August 18th
The woman said a topaz necklace, a diamond and sapphire ring and diamonds earrings were among the items taken, reports state. After the work was done, the woman drove the man to a nearby gas station, gave him $30 and left. The man was described as ...Read more