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.

About our sources | Got something to add?

▼ Expand to read the full article ▼

Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

All About Jewels Dictionary

All About Jewels Dictionary

This incredible reference dictionary on jewelry, from Enchantedlearning.com, is both beautiful and comprehensive. S… [read review or visit site]

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry

Jewelry collectors, feast your eyes on this internet gem! It's a goldmine of jewelry information featuring all styl… [read review or visit site]

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery

With its vast galleries featuring clear images of jewelry and style, this site really covers it all! Divided up by … [read review or visit site]

Jewel History

Jewel History

Since March of 2007, readers of Lori Ettlinger Gross’s JewelHistory blog have been treated to her weekly (sometim… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

Diamond 2.87ct Sapphire Platinum Engagement Ring 9.4 Grams NrStunning Multi Coloured Sapphire 18ct Gold NecklaceDiamond 9.11ct Yellow Tsavorite Sapphire 18k Gold Butterfly Pin 19.7 Grams NrSwiss Vintage Men's Rado Sapphire Gazelle Automatic Day&date Analog Dress WatchDiamond 4.82 Sapphire Mother Of Pearl 18k Gold Flamenco Dancer Pin 31.9 Grams NrFine 4.5 Carat Sapphire Heavy 18k Gold BraceletB/ Antique 18ct Gold Diamond & Sapphire Ring Star Sapphire 14k White Gold 6 Star Asterism Cabochon Art Deco Antique Vintage Antique Edwardian .75ct Natural Blue Sapphire 14k Rose Gold Filigree RingA Vintage 375 - 9ct Gold Sapphire Set Dress Ring.Beautiful Vintage 22ct Gold & White Sapphire Engagement Ring - London 1925Fine Pair Of Art Nouveau Sapphire,diamond & Moonstone Gold And Silver EarringsVintage 14k Rose Gold 2.07ct Vs Diamond/ruby/sapphire Butterfly Pendant NecklaceEstate 2.39 Ct Natural Blue Sapphire Diamond Engagement Wedding Ring 14k GoldJewellery Sale - Womens Antique 9k Gold Pendant Sapphire Set With Seed Pearls AfFine Antique Victorian Solid 18ct 18k Gold 3 Sapphire Cushion Diamond Ring Uk THigh Quality Art Deco 18k White Gold Filigree Floral Sapphire Diamond Stone RingSuperb Vintage Solid 9ct Gold, Natural Sapphire & Diamond Set Cluster Ring14kt Yellow White Gold 1ctw Sapphire Diamond Omegaback Earrings Signed Awad 4.7gFine Vintage Star Sapphire Platinum Diamond Designer Modernist Engagement RingCertified Natural 11.5cts Vs F G Diamond Sapphire 18k Solid Gold Dangle EarringsFine 6 Stone 1.20 Carat Sapphire 18ct Gold RingVintage Antique Art Deco Watch Lot Solid 18k 14k Gold Diamond Sapphire JewelryLovely Vintage 9ct Gold,glittering White & Blue Sapphire Gems: Coiled Snake Ring14kt Yellow White Gold .50ctw Sapphire Diamond Designer Signed Buckle Band Ring Antique C. 1920 Deco 14k Gold Cabochon Cut Blue Sapphire Lavaliere Bug Necklace!18k Yellow Gold And Sapphire Bracelet 4.0 GramsAntique 14k White Gold Filigree .58ct Diamond Sapphire Cocktail Ring No ReserveDesigner 14k Yellow Gold Natural Sapphire Stone Bumble Bee Fly Bug Pin PendantFine Art Deco 18ct And Platinum 3/4ct Sapphire 30point Diamond 3 Stone RingAntique Deco .77ct Royal Blue Sapphire Diamond Platinum Ring No Reserve !!!Diamond Brooch Beautiful Handmade 9ct Gold Platinum Sapphire Opal Pin E48Vintage 14k Yellow Gold Marquise Sapphire & Diamond Cocktail Ring Size 9.75Estate 14k Yellow Gold Ruby Sapphire Emerald & Diamond Earrings 7g 2 Carat TwBeautiful Sapphire Diamond 14k Yellow Gold Cluster Ring18k Pink Sapphire Diamond Vintage Earrings Fine Dangle Deco Huge 2.20 Carats!Elegant High Quality Art Deco 18k Solid White Gold Sapphire Ruby Stone Ring$6,500 Levian Signed 18k Yellow Gold 2ctw Blue Sapphire 2ctw Diamond Ring 11.8gSapphire & Diamond 9ct Gold Ladies Trilogy Ring F0833Antique White Rose Yellow Gold Filigree Emerald Cut Sapphire Ring 10k Art Deco** Vintage 18k Yellow Gold Green Jade White Sapphire Bracelet 12.7 Grams Fine Art Deco Design 3 Stone Sapphire And Diamond Gold RingConvertible 18k Gold Natural Sapphire Multi Gemstone Large Vintage Princess RingPlatinum 14k Star Sapphire Diamond Ring Cocktail Engagement Vintage 16.10 CaratsAn Impressive Vintage Art Deco Style Cabouchoned Blue Sapphire Dress Ring!Victorian Design Pearl & Sapphire 9ct Gold Ladies Cluster Ring F0449Beautiful 14k White Gold .64ct Diamond Sapphire Cluster Antique Cocktail Ring Nr1923 Beautiful Diamond And Sapphire Art Deco Engagement/wedding Set - Size 5 ** Vintage 18k White Gold Sapphire And Diamond Cocktail Ring 8.7 Grams Vintage 14k Yellow Gold Natural Sapphire Genuine Seed Pearl Bar Pin BroochA Stunning Art Nouveau 9ct Gold Sapphire & Pearl Set Brooch - BoxedGorgeous $900.00 Retail Vaule 14k Yg Sapphire & Diamond Omega Back Earrings |ercAntique Chinese 14k Gold Dragon Ring W/ Large - 8.50 Ct Purple SapphireAntique Edwardian 1ct Natural Round Cut Blue Sapphire 18k Wg Filigree Ring 2.1gStunning Sapphire Diamond 14k Yellow Gold RingVintage Jewellery Stunning Sapphire Clear Rhinestone Silver Bangle Bracelet WowStunning Antique Victoran 9ct Gold Pearl Sapphire Bar Brooch ** 14k Yellow Gold Sapphire Diamond Tennis Bracelet 10.1 Grams 7 Cts Deco 14k White Gold Mens 2ct Kgc Diamond 6 Ray Blue Star Sapphire Ring ** Vintage 18k Yellow Gold Sapphire Ring 60pts 5.2mm 2.8 Grams Size 6.5

Recent News: Sapphire Jewelry

Source: Google News

Police Blotter: Complaint made about aggressive kids selling lemonade
San Jose Mercury News, July 30th

Sapphire Street, 11:46 a.m. July 23 The theft of a package from a front porch was captured on a surveillance camera. Farm Hill Road, 8:02 p.m. July 23 A man in his 40s said to be drinking out of a bag and soliciting for work was contacted and arrested...Read more

Skinner Live Auction in Boston, Online Sales, and Open for Business in NYC
Maine Antique Digest, July 30th

At the top was the prime example, illustrating what Lieberman said—a circa 1910 Howard & Co. ring with a 5.43-carat Kashmir cushion-cut sapphire that created a scene of frenzied bidding that rose in $25,000 increments to $543,000 (est. $100,000/150,000)...Read more

Italian Gardens Inspire Bulgari's Latest High Jewelry
BLOUIN ARTINFO, July 30th

The adaptable necklace can be separated into a brooch and worn with or without the tassel. Fountains also inspired the Water Symphony necklace which sports a central 45.57-carat sapphire surrounded by flowing ribbons of diamonds, another transformable ...Read more

Things to do
San Jose Mercury News, July 29th

Menlo Charity Horse Show. Aug. 4-9. Menlo Circus Club, 190 Park Lane, Atherton. Horse shows, nightly events including Friday gala dinner-dance, "Sapphire & Ice," underwritten by Stephen Silver Fine Jewelry. Benefits Vista Center for the Blind and...Read more

This cafe owner goes for casual, but elegant, style
The News Journal, July 29th

BONUS OUTFIT: Clear and sapphire blue crystal chandelier earrings from Ooh La La in Centreville; blue topaz ring with sapphires and diamonds from South Africa; Adrianna Papell long-sleeve navy lace overlay gown from Nordstrom (“I bought it for our son...Read more

Would you buy an engagement ring from Etsy?
Yahoo Finance, July 28th

Inspired by the idea of a colored stone, she started browsing bridal blogs and came across a link to an Etsy shop that featured rings with different hued sapphires. The idea of purchasing a ring online was a non-issue. “We're young and we had already ...Read more

$22K In Jewelry Reported Stolen From New Canaan Home
The Daily Voice, July 27th

The owner told police that the jewelry, which included a sapphire ring and bracelets, was taken between June 18 and June 23, newcanaannewsonline.com said. There was no sign of forced entry and contractors were working on the home at the time, ...Read more

Lawsuit: $12000 pink sapphire ring a fake
WXIA-TV, July 10th

A Delaware woman who received a $12,000 4-carat pink sapphire ring as a gift in 1999 learns that the ring is fake.The ring is valued at $30 today. USA Today Network Maureen Milford, The (Delaware) News Journal 7:02 a.m. EDT July 10, 2015. wil fake ...Read more