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, 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    

Estate Diamond 27.60ct Sapphire 18k Gold Wide Bracelet 54.5 Grams NrEstate Diamond 2.76ct Sapphire Platinum Gold Drop Pendant Necklace 7.6 Grams NrAntique Platinum/18k Gold Elegant 3.33ctw White Sapphire 3-stone RingEstate Designer 24.15ct Bead Sapphire 18k Gold Pendant Necklace 26.5 Grams NrTrilogy Sapphire And Diamond 18 Carat White Gold Ring 3.40ct$6,000 1.15ct Antique Art Deco Natural Blue Sapphire & Diamond Ring 18k Gold Huge Sapphire & Diamond Ladies 9ct Gold Cluster Cocktail Ring F0579Estate Diamond 1.02ct Sapphire Ruby 18k Gold Ring NrVintage Estate Diamond Natural Blue Sapphire Ring 14k White GoldVintage French Art Deco 18ct Yellow Gold White Sapphire Drop Leverback Earrings Fine Art Deco 3/4 Carat Orange Sapphire Gold RingAntique Diamond 1.52ct Sapphire 14k Gold Flower Clip Earrings 10.0 Grams NrVtg French Art Deco Silver Open Back Sapphire Blue Crystal Signed Glass NecklaceMikimoto 2.20ct Sapphire Pearls 18k Ocean Bracelet 16.6 Grams $5070.00 NrDiamond 36.57ct Sapphire 18k Gold Large Blue Rose Pin Brooch 44.7 Grams NrVintage 14k White Gold 3.0ctw Diamond/blue Sapphire Heart/clover Cocktail RingVintage Antique .58ct Sapphire & Diamond 18k White Gold Art Deco Engagement RingVintage Platinum Filigree Diamond And Sapphire Ring Old European Cut DiamondsFine Pair Of Art Deco 80 Point Diamond & 1/2ct Sapphire 18k Cluster EarringsVintage French Art Deco 18ct White Gold 3 White Sapphire Drop Leverback EarringsVintage '60s Heavy 14k Gold .40ct Diamond/sapphire/ox Blood Coral Buddha PendantArt Deco Antique English 9k Gold Platinum Sapphire Diamond Cluster Ring C1920 Massive Art Deco 22.85ct Natural Star Sapphire Diamond Platinum Antique RingEstate Ceylon Natural Sapphire & Diamond Halo Ring Vintage 14k White GoldItalian Sapphire Mother Of Pearl 18k Gold Men's Cufflinks 11.3 Grams NrEstate 1.75ct Natural Sapphire & Diamond Bracelet 14k Yellow Gold $2100 L214Antique 18ct Gold 4 Diamond & 3 Sapphire Dress Ring Dated 1915 U.k Size N . 2.8gSuperb Solid 18ct Gold Natural ¾ Carat Natural Sapphire & Diamond Cluster Ring!Art Deco Antique Platinum .91ctw Sapphire Diamond Filigree Wide Dome Ring I Si1 Mikimoto Morning Dew Cultured Pearl Sapphire 18k Gold Chain Pendant NrVintage French Art Deco 18ct Yellow Gold White Sapphire Drop Leverback EarringsEffy 8.45ctw Natural Ceylon Velvet Sapphire Diamond 14k Gold Tennis BraceletEstate 1.65ct Diamond Sapphire 18k Gold Drop Pendant NrHandsome Men's Luminox Watch! Series 8360, Sapphire Crystal! #j1Vintage Antique 1.25ct Diamond & Sapphire Platinum Art Deco Engagement RingAntique Art Deco 18ct & Platinum Ladies Ring Set With Diamonds & SapphireVtg Victorian 14k Yellow Gold Purple Sapphire Cross Pin Brooch PendantAntique $9000 3ct Natural Ceylon Blue Sapphire Diamond Platinum Wedding Ring~ Estate Men's Blue Star Sapphire 14k White Gold Diamond Statement Antique RingRare A Heavy 14 Carat Gold Ring Sapphires & Baguette Diamonds Vintage Crown Trifari Ruby Emerald Sapphire Carved Glass Fruit Clip Earrings Estate 6.00ct Sapphire 14k Yellow Gold Flower Clip Earrings 6.6 Grams NrFine Art Deco Large 14k Gold Pink & White Sapphire Cluster RingGorgeous 14k Yellow Gold Earrings With 1.05 Ctw Sapphire, Ruby And Emerald! #w1618ct Gold Vintage Sapphire And Diamond Ring Size RVintage 18 Ct Gold Sapphire And Diamond Ring G 1/2Sahagun Vintage 2.30ctw Natural Ceylon Sapphire Diamond 18k Gold Engagement Ring3.10ctw Natural Ceylon Sapphire Diamond 14k Gold Princess Diana Engagement Ring14k 585 Gold 18.9grams 3.90cts Sapphire Diamond Bracelet '80s $9.99 Start!Antique 18ct Gold Sapphire & Diamond Ring Hallmarked Chester 1915 Uk Size MArt Deco Vintage 14k White Gold Filigree Bracelet With SapphiresEstate Sapphire Lustrous Seed Pearl Gold Ring NrVintage Antique 9.7ct Sapphire 14k White Gold Deco Engagement / Cocktail RingVintage Antique 4ct Sapphire 14k Triple Gold Art Deco Engagement RingQuality Vintage 14k White Gold Natural Sapphire Diamond Cocktail Ring 1950sVintage Tone Trifari Crown Brooch/pin Emerald, Ruby, Sapphire Cabochon Art Deco 14k White Gold 1.02ct Aaa Kashmir Sapphire Filigree Engagement RingVintage 10k White Gold Opal, Pink Sapphire, And Diamond Ring 2.7 GramsVintage Antique Cert 1.23ct Diamond Sapphire 18k White Gold Deco Engagement RingHallmarked Antique Edwardian Rose Gold Gypsy Ring With Sapphire And Pearl

Recent News: Sapphire Jewelry

Source: Google News

Northern Michigan Holiday Gift Guide for Her, November 24th

We can't think of a better way to describe Elizabeth Blair's pearl earrings. Shown here are the pear and bee motifs. Made from Tahitian and South Sea cultured pearls with carved gemstones—sapphire, emerald, tourmaline. Prices range from $2,400 to ...Read more

Cartier's Iconic 20th Century Jewels on Display at Denver Art Museum
Forbes, November 22nd

Curated by Margaret Young-Sánchez, curator of the museum's Frederick and Jan Mayer Center, the exhibition contains more than 250 pieces of jewelry, timepieces and precious objects produced between 1900 and 1975. Most of the items are from the ...Read more

Bubar's Celebrates Sapphire Jubilee: 70 Years Of Service In Santa Monica
Santa Monica Mirror, November 21st

With an intriguing family history that dates back to Santa Monica merchant days in 1945, Bubar's Jewelers is celebrating 70 years of business success and has the owner and jeweler sparkling with pride. Bubar's was opened as a modest jewelry and ...Read more

GIA Explores Ruby, Sapphire in Malawi
Rapaport, November 21st

In keeping with its mission to ensure the public trust in gems and jewelry, GIA regularly conducts research field trips to important gem and jewelry centers around the globe, incorporating findings into research practices and education programs and...Read more

McTeigue & McClelland Offers Modern-Day Heirlooms
New York Times, November 17th

Yellow sapphire drop earrings with purple sapphires and tsavorite garnets. Credit McTeigue & McClelland. Their atelier is something of an anomaly. Unlike rival emporiums on Madison Avenue in New York or Bond Street in London, McTeigue & McClelland ...Read more

Auction sets world record for jewelry, sapphire nets nearly $18M -
AOL News, November 12th

(Reuters) - A Swiss auction has set a new world record for jewelry sales, Christie's said on Wednesday, led by a Ceylon sapphire known as the "Blue Belle of Asia" which alone sold for an unprecedented 16.96 million Swiss francs ($17.6 million...Read more

Diamond engagement rings are so over, some couples say, November 6th

"The guy paying for it is more excited that it costs less," said Michael Arnstein, president of the Natural Sapphire Company, which sells nearly 200 sapphire engagement rings a month. A round-shape 1.20 carat sapphire with 0.16 carats of diamonds on an ...Read more

Statement Jewelry Takes Center Stage
Gotham Magazine, October 30th

new york jewelry Macrame Arabesque top ($3,490) and macrame Arabesque skirt ($2,990), Valentino. 693 Fifth Ave., 212-355-5811. White round and pear-shaped diamond and sapphire Bombe earrings (price on request), sapphire and white diamond cuff ...Read more