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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Man Steals $8750 worth of rings from ex-girlfriendEllwoodCity.org, February 11th
During this time, the victim had moved several of her belongings to the residence of Weaver's mother in Little Beaver Township, including eighteen of her rings which are valued at $8,750. The rings consisted of diamond/gold, yellow gold, sapphire...Read more
Inside the Jewelry Feud That Stretches From Jaipur to Madison AvenueNew York Magazine, February 11th
Modern Designs From the House of Munnu: From left: Natural sapphire ring with pave diamond and sapphire beads in platinum (designed by Munnu), Plique-a-jour flower necklace-and-earring set with moonstone and diamond in 18-karat gold (designed by ...Read more
How to shop for an engagement ring in 2016KSHB, February 10th
"This is the one piece of jewelry they're going to have for the rest of their lives and they don't typically want what everyone else has,” said Jeff Weidenmann, gemologist and co-owner of the store located at 135th and Metcalf. Production can take two...Read more
Floral Jewels and Winged Things to Get in the Mood for SpringJCK (blog), February 10th
Despite that fact that this winter has not been particularly harsh on the East Coast (never mind the odd snowstorm or two), this is the time of year when spring just can't come soon enough. It's that sweet spot in February, a little less than halfway...Read more
Dazzle your Valentine with Pure Luxuries semi precious jewelryExaminer.com, February 10th
Just in time for Valentine's Day, Kohl's is presenting the little black box that everyone wants with exquisite diamond jewelry for your true love. Choose a white sapphire bracelet in sterling silver for $64.99, sterling silver chain, bead, charm and...Read more
Jewelry, gun missing from Elgin home damaged by fireChicago Tribune, February 9th
The missing jewelry included a diamond and sapphire ring, bracelet and necklace, a diamond wedding band, a diamond ring with a teal stone, and gold and silver bracelets and chains, police said. The gun was described as a .45-caliber Sig Sauer...Read more
How to Judge the Intangibles in High-End JewelryBarron's (blog), February 9th
It is sometimes hard for the untrained eye to understand why the value of one piece of high-end jewelry is so much more than another. Which is why we spoke with Jean Z. Poh, a jewelry retailer about to launch a jewelry-aggregating website called Swoonery...Read more
Three more men convicted in brazen $20M London jewelry heist in Hatton GardenNew York Daily News, January 14th
jewelry district, an audacious 14 million-pound ($20 million) heist that prosecutors called the largest burglary in English history. The haul included gold, diamond and sapphire jewelry, cash and other valuables belonging to local jewelers in...Read more