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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These Royal Jewels Will Blow Your Mind—See the Beautiful Pics and Find Out ...E! Online, December 18th
The impressive 18-carat sapphire and diamond ring is certainly a stunner, but it's not the only highlight in the British Royal Family's collection of jewels. Queen Elizabeth II just might be the most baller of them all with her Imperial State Crown...Read more
Wedding trend alert: More couples choose enchanting winter themesHutchinson News, December 18th
A ring featuring icy aquamarine with blue sapphire accents set in white gold embraces the style of Elsa perfectly. For natural beauties like Anna, an emerald center stone set in rose gold surrounded by rich purple amethyst in the shape of a snow flake...Read more
Would You Spend $1200 on a Cocktail? You Can!Slate Magazine, December 18th
It was made in 2013 in Melbourne, Australia, using cognac from 1858 and rare bottlings of chartreuse and Cointreau; it was garnished with chocolate nutmeg dust (but no jewelry). As of yet, no 2014 record-breaker has been named, although this London bar ...Read more
2014 Holiday Gift GuideQueens Chronicle, December 18th
Long Island designer Nancy Rosen has created numerous necklaces, earrings and other costume baubles that have been used by cast members of the Bravo Network's various “Real Housewives” series. In fact her company is called Housewives Jewelry and ...Read more
19 Holiday Gifts for the Easy RiderW Magazine, December 17th
The inspiration: I'm mesmerized by these Larkspur & Hawk garnet earrings, which were created using an 18th-century foil technique and, as a result, look like family heirlooms. It's only fitting that they are sold at famed estate jewelry Fred Leighton...Read more
Something shinyThe Tennessean, December 16th
From a pair of diamond drops from the Diamond Dave White Lightning Collection to the drool-worthy diamond, ruby and sapphire bracelets in the Private Collection at King Jewelers, there's no reason every gal shouldn't shine in the new year. Sponsored by...Read more
Fan-Made Zora Engagement RingZelda Dungeon, December 16th
We all know the story of the Zora Sapphire, appropriately called the Zora's Engagement Ring. Not only is it the last Spiritual Stone needed to open the Temple of Time, but it's also an agreement (or curse, however you wish to view it) between Link and...Read more
CARVED JADEITE NECKLACE LEADS GROGAN'S INAUGURAL BOSTON ...ArtfixDaily, December 16th
The top lot of the day was an Art Deco Platinum, Jadeite, Pearl, Diamond and Sapphire Necklace featuring a carved rectangular jadeite pendant. After spirited bidding on the internet, phones, and in the room, the necklace sold for $90,000 to a gentleman...Read more