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    

Antique Art Deco 18ct Gold Full Hoop Sapphire Eternity Ring 1920Fine Art Deco Sapphire And Diamond Platinum Full Eternity RingStunning T Fennell Art Deco Design Sapphire And Diamond 18ct Gold RingStunning Victorian 3/4 Carat Sapphire And Pearl Gold Cluster RingAntique 18k Gold And Platinum 4.06ct Diamond And Sapphire Cocktail Ring Size 6.5Vintage 18k White Gold 1.75ct Vs1-g Diamond And Sapphire Filigree BraceletDesigner .85ctw Natural Ceylon Blue Sapphire Diamond 18k Gold Bypass Ring4.30 Ct Vintage Estate Designer Verragio Natural Sapphire Diamond Platinum RingRoberto Coin Fantasia 10.00ctw Diamond Sapphire 18k White Gold Bangle BraceletBelias Art Deco .70ctw Natural Diamond Ceylon Sapphire 18k Gold Engagement RingGia Antique 18k Gold 12.24ctw Diamond/no Heat Yellow Sapphire Cocktail RingAntique Deco Diamond 21.30ct Sapphire Wide Bracelet 47.4 Grams NrAntique Platinum Fancy 6.87ctw Diamond/yellow Sapphire Pendant On Chain NecklaceFinest Vintage 18ct Gold Platinum Square Cut Blue Sapphire Diamond Ring Vintage 6.30ctw Natural Cornflower Blue Ceylon Sapphire 18k Gold Tennis BraceletFine Victorian Art Nouveau Sapphire, Seed Pearl & Aquamarine 18ct Gold BroochGia Estate 6.22 Ct Vvs Natural Spessartite Garnet Sapphire Diamond 14k Gold RingMayors Birks 7.65ct Natural Ideal Diamond Sapphire 18k Gold Cluster NecklaceVintage Estate 7.35ct Natural Ceylon Blue Sapphire Diamond14k Gold Ring Deco Vg+Vintage Platinum 1.20ctw Diamond/blue Sapphire Eternity Band Ring Size 7Art Deco 1.50ct + Old European Cut Diamond Ring Platinum Natural Sapphires Stunning Art Deco 4 Carat Sapphire 14ct Gold RingAntique $12000 3ct No Heat Certified Yellow Green Sapphire Diamond Platinum RingFine Heavy 2 Carat Pink Sapphire 18ct Gold RingVintage $10,000 20ct Natural Blue Sapphire 14k Rose Gold Band Ring14k Sapphire Diamond Cocktail Ring Engagement Vintage Victorian Fine 3.55 CaratsEffy Jewelry 4.95ct Natural Pink Sapphire Diamond 14k White Gold J Hoop EarringsFine Heavy Three Stone Cabochon Sapphire 14k Gold RingMens 1.43 Ct Natural Vvs Orange Sapphire & Diamond 14k White Gold Gents Ring Gem$5,600 Art Deco .75ctw Natural Blue Sapphire And Diamond Platinum Ring 7.8gAntique 1940s 6ct Natural Pear Cut Blue Sapphire Diamond Platinum Wedding RingVintage Designer 2.30ct Natural Ceylon Sapphire Diamond 14k Gold Engagement RingVintage Designer 2.25c Natural Sapphire Diamond 14k Yellow Gold Cluster EarringsFine Art Deco 1920's Platinum Diamond And Sapphire Ring 3.3 Gr - Size 81 Ct Ruby Blue Sapphire & Diamond Band 14k Yellow Gold Natural Fine Estate RingFine 1908 Edwardian Sapphire And Diamond 18ct Gold RingNew York 1.40ctw Natural Ceylon Sapphire Diamond 18k Gold Pendant Necklace SetLadies 1925 Bulova 18k White Gold Art Deco Sapphires + Diamonds 17j Swiss WatchVintage 18k Yellow Gold Natural Blue Sapphire & Diamond Baguette By-pass Ring Kimmora Lee Simmons Hello Kitty Enamel 18k Pink Sapphire Earrings 6.9 Grams NrBeautiful Vintage 9ct Gold 1.50ct Sapphire Diamond Daisy Cluster Ring Effy Jewelry 3.50ct Natural Pink Sapphire Diamond 14k White Gold Tennis BraceletVintage 14k Solid Yellow Gold Sleeping Beauty Turquoise Sapphire Stone RingA Vintage 18ct Gold Blue Sapphire Colour & White Stone Dress Ring. Made By: P.d.Kwiat 1.30c Natural Sapphire Diamond 18k White Gold Three Ring Eternity Band SetAntique Edwardian .50ct Natural Round Blue Sapphire 14k Yel Gold Filigree RingGia Certified Antique 14k Wg 11.57ctw Vs2/h Diamond/star Sapphire Cocktail RingVintage Diamond & Sapphire Cluster Ring 14k - No Reserve!! Scrap Or WearAntique Edwardian Sapphire & Diamond Paste Ring 9ct Gold Size M Uk 17 UsaDiamond 2.87ct Pink Sapphire 11mm Pearl 18k Gold Ring 14.2 Grams NrAntique Platinum 1ct Diamond Line Bracelet Bright Blue Lab Sapphires Antique Antique Platinum 18k Gold 2.40ct Vs Diamond Blue Sapphire Abstract Bar BroochSuperb, Vintage C1970 Solid 9ct Gold Natural Opal & Sapphire Set Cluster RingVintage Ladies Cocktail Ring Blue Sapphire Diamond 14k Solid Yellow Gold Sz 6.25Levian Sapphire Diamond Ring 14k Yellow Gold Designer Fine Jewelry Invisible SetAntique 1930s $5000 1.50ct Natural Blue Sapphire Diamond Platinum Wedding RingAntique 14k Gold Lavaliere/lavalier Necklace~sapphire Filigree Pendant~chain YqzVintage 1970's 14k White Gold Filligree Wire Sapphire & Diamond Hinged BangleFine Art Deco White Sapphire 18ct Gold Cluster RingVintage 10k Yellow Gold Ring With 0.60 Ctw Sapphire And Diamonds! 3.4 Grams! O30

Recent News: Sapphire Jewelry

Source: Google News

Annapolis police release image of second suspect in $21000 ring theft, February 26th

Police said the man engaged an employee in conversation and eventually left the shop with the sapphire and diamond Princess Diana ring. The employee didn't immediately realize that the ring had been stolen. Police released an image of the man believed ...Read more

How To Pick The Perfect Engagement Ring Without Selling Your Kidneys
Deadspin, February 25th

Sure, it's less expensive to get a larger sapphire or a ruby, and it'll look great … for a while. But diamonds are three times harder than corundum (the family that sapphires and rubies are in). That means that after 20 years of wear and tear, that...Read more

Blurring the Lines Between Jewelry and Watches
New York Times, February 23rd

The Graff sapphire and diamond secret watch is a series of tassel-like jewels with a delicate watch suspended from a chain. The piece can be worn as one ornament, as individual brooches or as a single brooch with a tassel. “I have access to the very...Read more

Smooth-talking criminal swipes $21K ring from Annapolis jewelry store
WJLA, February 22nd

Seconds later, Baghdadlian discovered the ring was gone—a Princess Diana cut, five-carat sapphire surrounded by diamonds. Surveillance video shows that as the thief picked up a brochure nearby, he also picked up the ring. “He knew what he was doing,” ...Read more

$21000 sapphire and diamond ring stolen from Annapolis jewelry store
ABC2 News, February 20th

ANNAPOLIS - Annapolis police need the public's assistance in finding the man suspected in stealing an expensive sapphire and diamond ring. Police said the theft occurred after 10 a.m. Thursday morning at La Belle Cezanne, located in the 100 block of ...Read more

The most expensive diamond engagement rings
Yahoo Finance, February 13th

3) Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with his family's royal jewels, a 12-carat sapphire, with 14 diamonds surrounding the center stone. Originally his mother's engagement ring in 1981, Princess Diana's sapphire ring was worth a reported $43...Read more

Graff Sapphire and Diamond Beaded Tassel Secret Watch
Forbes, February 13th

In 2014, it celebrated its first year at the world's largest watch and jewelry tradeshow by unveiling the $55 million “Hallucination” ladies watch covered in 110 carats of fancy colored diamonds. The sapphire and diamond brooch it will unveil this year...Read more

Sapphire Dawn Jewelry
The Los Angeles Fashion, February 9th

I have always been such a fan of jewelry. Taking a boring outfit and giving it a new breath of fresh air is what jewelry does! Retail buyers are constantly on the lookout for upcoming brands to offer to their customers. Sapphire Dawn is a wholesale...Read more