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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Kate Middleton is Pretty in Pink Alexander McQueen for the Latest Stop on her ...Glamour (blog), April 23rd
Simple jewelry (including pink pearl earnings and a matching necklace, a Cartier watch, and that stunning sapphire ring) plus nude heels finished the outfit. kate-middleton-accessories-closeup. I must say, this is one of my all-time favorite looks from...Read more
Vancouver Island Beach Reopens After Unexploded Munitions FoundHuffington Post Canada, April 22nd
A large sapphire ring found by metal detector enthusiast Michael Greenhorn in a field near Escrick, England is thought to have originated in the 5th or 6th century and may have even belonged to a king. Greenhorn sold the ring to the Yorkshire Museum...Read more
Ada manufacturer carves out niche in chainmaille jewelry supplyPrairie Business, April 18th
Reactive metals, including the otherwise dull-looking titanium and niobium, can be colored by using a process called anodizing, where the rings are soaked in a tub of electrified water. The metal's final color – such as sapphire, turquoise, emerald and...Read more
7 On Your Side helps man waiting for gem ringabc7news.com, April 18th
Richard couldn't resist when he saw this sapphire ring offered on a channel called Gems Bond. "It's a star sapphire and the blue colors are getting more and more rare," said Richard. He figured it was a bargain at $1,600. So he ordered the ring, and...Read more
Dave Sauer exhibits 'Cabin Fever' paintings at Veleska JewelryLancaster Newspapers, April 17th
In “Breakthrough Moment,” Sauer literally had a breakthrough moment when he was struggling with the composition of the painting. The result is a stylized arrangement of trees, offset by aquamarine and sapphire skies, against a field of orange and citrine...Read more
Sapphire Engagement Ring – Design Your Own at Pyramid Studios, Jewelers in ...Bangor Daily News, April 8th
At Pyramid Studios, jewelers of Ellsworth, Sapphires are our first choice for alternative engagement rings. We love their strength and vibrancy of color. Besides their famous blues, sapphires are available in every color except red, that is reserved...Read more
Razny Jewelers Welcomes a New Member to the Team; Christine Razny Will Be ...PR Web (press release), March 26th
Christine expresses her love for the industry in her new blog, Satin Sapphire. As an avid blog follower herself she felt there was a lack of jewelry advice in the blogosphere, therefore she decided to take on the task to be the voice between the...Read more
Email Jewelry and Rare Pierre Claude Raguet Clock Raise April ExpectationsArtfixDaily (blog), March 25th
and diamond brooch, a white gold, sapphire, and pearl necklace and earring set, an 18kt gold Omega ladies wrist watch with rubies and sapphires, a special antique mine cut diamond bracelet and earring set, an unusually large collection of pearl...Read more