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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Step Up The GameDiamond World Magazine, April 30th
The Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council of India (GJEPC India), the apex body under Ministry of Commerce, Government of India, for promotion of exports of gems and jewellery from India, has organised Indian joint participation for the 18th...Read more
Estates bloom at Gray'sArtfixDaily, April 29th
The auction closes with a fine selection of estate jewelry and watches including lot 268, a very pretty and eye-catching 14kt. white gold, diamond and sapphire flower-form ring. A boutique company with auctioneers licensed by the State of Ohio, Gray's...Read more
Global Response marks 10 years in Iron RiverIron County Reporter, April 27th
Global Response North celebrated its 10-year anniversary in Iron River on April 19. Global Response co-CEO Steve Shooster (left) was on hand for the celebration, during which Managing Supervisor Sandra Maki (center) and building trainer Sue Gilligan ...Read more
Vehicles, Antiques, Jewelry, Painting, and moreMysullivannews, April 26th
Jewelry: 2-1/4 carat diamond ring (wide band), diamond/sapphire pendant, antique jade/pearl ring, 62-yr.-old gold-plated diamond cuff links/tie bar, “Clan” ring. Vehicles: 2000 Signature 32' 5th-wheel RV, 2000 Dodge 3/4 ton Ram diesel, 1999 Pontiac...Read more
Robbers who stole millions in jewelry sentencedThe News Journal, April 25th
Besides the ruby sculpture, items taken included a $59,500 set of emerald-and-diamond earrings, an emerald-and-diamond Oscar Heyman brooch worth $36,650 and a sapphire-and-diamond necklace valued at $35,500, the indictment said. None of the ...Read more
Bling, Bling! Celebs' Flashiest Jewelry Of All TimeRadarOnline, April 25th
Jennifer Lawrence draped a 100-carat diamond necklace down her back at the 2014 Oscars. The extravagant piece of jewelry is worth $2 million! She complemented the look with 10-carat diamond stud earrings worth $500,000. But that's not all, she also ...Read more
The Journey of a SapphireJCK, April 18th
Swarovski—a proven master of the meticulous work necessary to create a cut sapphire worthy of the most talented jewelry-makers—makes visible the complex processes that are involved when preparing this coveted gemstone. After extraction, the rough ...Read more
Britt's Pick: Sutra's Awe-Inspiring Opal and Sapphire BraceletJCK (blog), April 12th
Allow me to play Saturday Night Live's beloved Stefon for a moment, because that's exactly how this bracelet makes me feel. For the latest in mesmerizing jewelry, Sutra's bracelet has everything: 35 cts. of opal. 37 cts. t.w. rose-cut and pavé...Read more