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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Police Blotter: Complaint made about aggressive kids selling lemonadeSan 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 NYCMaine 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 JewelryBLOUIN 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 doSan 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, styleThe 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 HomeThe 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 fakeWXIA-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