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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Recent News: Sapphire Jewelry

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Reese Witherspoon, Olivia Wilde, Amber Heard, and More Try On Tiffany's Blue ...
Vogue.com, April 16th

For Leandra Medine, ripple-inspired diamond Pool bracelets; a sapphire-accented ring for Indre Rockefeller; pearl-bedecked cuffs for Claire Distenfeld. Meanwhile, a few other attendees wore their bling all evening. Reese Witherspoon's emerald-cut ...Read more

Black Pearls for the Price of an Island? Christie's Gets $5M for a Necklace
New York Observer, April 14th

Other items in the sale's catalogue include a pair of D-color diamond ear pendants by Harry Winston estimated for $1.5M, still to be sold; a sapphire and diamond necklace by Graff that brought above expectations at $377,000; and a pair of emerald...Read more

Nell Nolan: Art in Bloom, National Council of Jewish Women, Salvation Army ...
The New Orleans Advocate, April 13th

The jewel theme was rendered via emerald, ruby and sapphire-colored feathered arrangements illuminated with LED lights, which added chromatic excitement and sparkle to the dinner tables. To highlight the tables of the honorees, white feathers and...Read more

Rock hound: Hobbyist shares vast collection, stories at annual show
Waterloo Cedar Falls Courier, April 13th

The public can see a small portion of his vast collection of rocks, minerals, gems, fossils, artifacts and handmade jewelry at the Black Hawk Gem & Mineral Society's Annual Rock Show. The event takes place Sunday at the Waterloo Center for the Arts...Read more

10 Watches We Can't Wait For
Vanity Fair, April 13th

Love or hate secret watches (watches housed in beautiful pieces of jewelry, often hidden to all but the owner), you have to appreciate Harry Winston's Jeweler's Secret. The 18-karat-gold compact studded with diamonds, sapphire cabochons, and Akoya ...Read more

ACT for MS Beach Party
The Desert Sun, April 11th

Items included dinner for 10 at Wally's Desert Turtle won by Jan Salta for $5,000; a sapphire bracelet donated by Mariane Brown Fine Jewelry New York and won for $2,100 by Pat Manhart; a summer or winter vacation at the Montana Sporting Club won by ...Read more

Indian company Cremagine 3d prints 24K gold, sapphire and ruby Hindu temple
3ders.org (blog), April 10th

Once the temple was printed, the company used their previous experience with jewelry making and stone setting to apply a 24K gold foil to the printed piece before bejeweling it with emeralds and rubies to give the model its final touch. To stones on...Read more

Jewels purchased at vacation destinations may be overpriced
Today.com, April 2nd

"This is not even real sapphire," DeHaas said when she inspected the ring. "It's actually blue glass." Another independent gemologist — Gary Smith, international president of the American Society of Appraisers — also inspected the item and agreed...Read more