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.
Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)
All About Jewels Dictionary
Morning Glory Antiques and Jewelry
Cathy Gordon's Jewelry Gallery
Clubs & Associations
Other Great Reference Sites
Most watched eBay auctions
Recent News: Sapphire Jewelry
Source: Google News
Annapolis police release image of second suspect in $21000 ring theftCapitalGazette.com, 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 KidneysDeadspin, 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 WatchesNew 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 storeWJLA, 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 storeABC2 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 ringsYahoo 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 WatchForbes, 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 JewelryThe 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