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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Author's Jewel Collection Achieves $2M at BonhamsRapaport, December 6th
The ring was given to Barbara as birthday present by Robert, who said at the time, "When you wear this, you don't need any other jewelry." A spectacular Harry Winston sapphire and diamond ring sold for $298,497 and a 19th century sapphire and diamond ...Read more
Designers Sketch What Upcoming Celebrity Brides Should WearHuffington Post, December 6th
Like Jessica Simpson, we anticipate that she'll accessorize her dress with an incredible belt, along with some amazing statement jewelry. (We're still dreaming about the emerald, ruby, and sapphire earrings from Lorraine Schwartz that she wore to this...Read more
Online Jeweler Launches Face-to-Face Diamond Consultations at NYC OfficeNewsday, December 6th
Their fine jewelry collection includes a considerable selection of precious and semi precious gem stones: emerald, sapphire, ruby, garnet, peridot, and blue topaz to name a few. Even though their main business is online, they do not hide behind the...Read more
Q&A With Sara Beltrán, Evan Yurman and Ana KhouriWall Street Journal, December 5th
She started her fine jewelry line, Dezso (Latin for "desire"), in earnest when she moved to Jaipur, India, in 2009 to study stones and soak in the local color, following a stint in New York studying fashion merchandising at FIT. A native of Mexico, she...Read more
Jewels Go Into the BlueWall Street Journal, December 5th
From top: Bulgari ring with oval-cut sapphire and diamonds, price upon request, Bulgari stores nationwide; Graff emerald-cut sapphire and diamond ring, price upon request, graffdiamonds.com; Harry Winston cushion-cut sapphire solitaire ring, price...Read more
Cyber Monday Exclusive Deal at Angara.com and Great Gifts along with Site ...4-traders (press release), December 2nd
There are fine diamond and sapphire rings and bands for future couples in the “Wow Bridal Collection” and some unconventional baubles set with more humble stones like carnelian, amethyst, citrine and peridot; which comprise the enticing “Taj Mahal ...Read more
Cheap Engagement Rings: Where To Get Diamond, Gold, Pink And Unique ...Huffington Post Canada, November 29th
Although the Duchess of Cambridge's $45K sapphire-and-diamond ring isn't nearly as pricey as the late Miss. Taylor's, it's definitely too much money for most of us sane people to afford, which is why we should be on the lookout for cheap engagement rings...Read more
This Beautiful Wedding Band Is Actually Made Of Dinosaur BoneHuffington Post, November 25th
"My ring is a 3-carat sapphire ring on a band with two rows of channel-set diamonds. Wouldn't have it any other way!" - Cary Queen. "Green sapphire -- a stronger approximation of peridot (his birth stone) in a vintage setting that belonged to his...Read more