Earth is rested upon an enormous solid sapphire and it is from this blue sapphire that the sky lends is color from. This is how the gemstone sapphire was referred to in the Bible and such is the beauty of sapphire, its deep blue hue always giving it an aura of mystery.
Sapphire comes from family of Corundum group of stones. Ruby is the other famous stone from the same family. Corundum group is known for is exceptional hardness. It is placed right after diamond on Moh’s scale of hardness. Diamonds hit a 10, the hardest gemstone known and Corundum are at 9. And, given such hardness one does not need to take special care of one’s sapphire jewelry.
In its purest form Corundum is made of Aluminum and Oxygen. It is from the presence of trace elements or impurity elements such as chromium, iron, and titanium in its structure that the Corundum family of stones gets their color from. The red color of ruby is due to presence of Chromium in its structure. And all those from corundum group that are not ruby red are considered sapphires. Though blue is the most common and the most praised color for sapphire, sapphires occur in a wide range of colors including green, orange, pink, yellow, violet and even black. The rare pinkish orange sapphire is referred is described by the term ‘padparadscha.’
Sapphires also display needles like inclusions in them, where these needle line up in different direction to give the effect of a star. This effect is also called asterism. Presence of such inclusions makes the gemstones much more valuable and rare.
Sapphires have been synthesized since the 1920’s. They often have inclusions inside the stone and so they are often heated with additives to improve its appearance and clarity. These treatments are permanent in nature; therefore, these treated stones do not require special care.
The main sources of Sapphires are Australia, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Kenya, Myanmar, Vietnam and India. Sapphires from Kashmir are highly prized and are famous for their intense blue color and velvety blue sheen. The famous ‘padparadscha’ was originally found in Sri Lanka alone but now deposits are also found in Vietnam and Africa.
These beautiful gemstones are the birthstones for the September born and are the anniversary stones for 10 years of marriage. Sapphire rings are a perfect choice for engagement rings as their enchanting blue color is a testimony of harmony, friendship, loyalty and trust in a relationship.