Sapphire And Its Range Of Colors
Sapphires occur in many different colors but the most famous and valuable of sapphires is a rich intense blue: The others colors will be referred to as «fancy colors».
Sapphire is one of the oldest gemstones. Known since Antiquity, it takes its name from the Hebrew sappir, meaning “the most beautiful thing”.
Sapphire belongs to the corundum family. There are a wide variety of colors: colorless, pink, orange, yellow, purple, black.
Yellow corundums are called yellow sapphires. Green corundums, green sapphires and colorless corundums are called leukosapphires.
Be careful, the blue corundums are simply called Sapphires. Other exceptions, the red corundums are called … Rubies.
The color of sapphires depends on the proportions of chromogenic elements in the chemical composition of the stone (titanium, iron, vanadium, chromium …).
Sapphires come from Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon), Burma, Thailand, Australia, Cambodia, Nigeria, Kenya Tanzania, China, India, Vietnam, Madagascar and the United States.
The most famous provenances for sapphire are Kashmir and Burma now called Myanmar.
The cashmere sapphire has a rich color, very slightly padded, highly prized by connoisseurs. The sapphires from Burma, from the same region which produces fabulous rubies, are also of very good quality. However, today these two provenances only account for a very small part of the stones on the market.
Most of the beautiful sapphires today come from Sri Lanka or Madagascar, producing a wide range of beautiful sky blue stones with rich saturated colors. Sri Lanka is also a very important producer of fancy sapphires like the famous Padparadsha (pink-orange).
The Other sapphires
Yellow, orange, pink sapphires are more and more sought after.
In addition, star sapphires have a particular formation of rutile needles crossing at 60 ° can be cut in cabochon and give a star with six branches.
As with rubies, star sapphires are judged by the delicacy of the star, its rays and the quality of the color.
To determine the quality of a stone, color is the most important criterion.
As with other gems, the value of sapphire depends on its purity (visible inclusions or a colored veil reduce the value) and on the intensity of its color: it must be bright and sustained, neither too pale nor too dark.
Sapphire has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale. And don’t forget, all stones are fragile! even the diamond ….
Nevertheless resistant, sapphires can be mounted in a ring, earrings or pendant!
Since the beginning of the 20th century, synthetic sapphires have been developed by the French engineer August Verneuil. They can be recognized by a magnifying glass, in particular thanks to curved growth lines (these lines are straight in a natural sapphire).