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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Get Your Sapphires for September Birthdays at Engstrom JewelersValpoLife.com, September 2nd
You can get sapphires of all shapes and sizes and in a variety of settings at Engstrom Jewelers. If you are looking to get a birthday gift for someone who was born in September, sapphires are excellent ideas, and coming to Engstrom Jewelers in...Read more
Color DanceRapaport, September 2nd
Orange and red fire opals have fascinated people for thousands of years. Much of the stone comes from Mexico, where it is considered the country's national gemstone. The Mayans and Atzecs had a special reverence for fire opal, using it in their...Read more
Monica's StoryRapaport, September 2nd
Kosann has created a poesy ring for each of the three charities, with a special message engraved inside the ring. For the BCRF, she made a ring that says “strength” that is also embellished with a pink sapphire. The NSALA ring is engraved with ...Read more
Cruising a holiday weekendThe Trinity Journal, September 2nd
GOLD RUSH JEWELERS: Featuring sapphire, birthstone of the month. It was believed that nature had given the sapphire the pure light of the sky, and power so great that it might be called the gem of gems. EMERALD MOUNTAIN: Featuring a family of ...Read more
The luxurious Huawei Watch will cost as much as an Apple WatchMashable, September 2nd
Get your wallet out because you'll finally be able to buy the Huawei Watch, the most luxurious Android Wear smartwatch. Announced earlier this year at Mobile World Congress, the Huawei Watch missed its June launch date. Whatever the reason was, the ...Read more
5 Favorite Blue Sapphire Jewels for SeptemberJCK (blog), September 2nd
Sapphires are such people pleasers. Who doesn't love a good sapphire-centered piece of jewelry? Its majestic blue shade (in its most common form) matches everything, making it a prime accent stone on engagement rings (like mine!) that won't look tired ...Read more
Get to Know Harika Ustaoglu of Harika JewelryJCK (blog), September 1st
The bulk of the collection is fabricated in 14k gold and features diamonds of every color as well as gems such as aquamarine, sapphire, beryl, dendritic quartz, and more. Jewelry training includes several metalsmithing and wax-carving workshops, and a...Read more
Take a Walk Through Bulgari's Italian Gardens High Jewelry CollectionForbes, August 18th
For its newest high jewelry collection, the Italian luxury house took to a more rigid view of nature through its interpretation of Italian gardens of the Renaissance period. Bulgari's Italian Gardens collection features 100 one-of-kind pieces based on...Read more