14 October 2019

Trendy, prestigious and widely sought after even by Royals. The Sapphire gemstone needs little introduction.

Sapphires are one of the big three precious stones.  A Sapphire is the perfect engagement gemstone, a beautiful celebratory gift for a September birthday, or simply a milestone present just because.

As part of our #GemGeek series we introduce 5 facts about this well loved gemstone.

1. Hardness of 9 / 10

Sapphire is from the Corundum species.

Corundum ranks 9 / 10 on a hardness scale called MOHS scale. Diamonds being the hardest mineral on earth rank a perfect 10. A score of 9 makes sapphires highly suitable for every day jewellery.

2. A Sapphire’s colour boils down to its chemistry

Many don’t know that corundum is found in a variety of colours such as red, blue, yellow, pink, green, etc. Gemstone-quality corundum of all colours except red are called sapphires while red corundum is called ruby.

So what causes a natural sapphire’s colour?
The chemical compositions when forming in the Earth!

For example, blue sapphire’s colouring agents are iron and titanium, while a small iron content results in fancy yellow and green undertones.

3. Classic Blue will always remain in style

Blue is the most prestigious and well known colour of sapphires.

Made famous again by Duchess Kate Middleton it is widely acclaimed and loved by women through the ages.

A blue sapphire’s colour varies depending on its quality and source. Some of the most valuable and desired blue sapphires in the world come from Kashmir, India The mines yield sapphires of a rare deep cornflower-blue often with a silky sheen. Cornflower blue is completely blue and not purple or violet, which makes it very rare.

Sri Lanka is another famous location for sapphires. Beautiful sapphires have been mined on the teardrop-shaped island since antiquity. Ceylon blue sapphires are known for their dreamy blue hues with a tinge of violet.

4. The King – Padparadscha 

Saw Princess Eugenie’s gorgeous padparadscha engagement ring?

Padparadscha means lotus flower in Singhalese. This beautiful orange pink hue is striking yet delicate. Think: beautiful summer days and romantic sunsets.

Padparadscha is the rarest of sapphires. Unheated stones of fine quality command a high premium for its rarity and beauty. While stones of a similar colour are mined outside Sri Lanka today, purists insist that only those mined there can hold the coveted padparadscha name.

5. How to buy a Sapphire

The golden question.

We say, it all depends on how the stone speaks to you. 😉

Realistically though – your budget, colour preference and treatment preference play crucial roles.

Always view a stone in real life.
Look for eye-clean stones with an even colour distribution, good tone and a strong saturation. View the gem in the daytime and observe the stone’s lustre under daylight if possible.

Natural vs Lab-Grown
Lab-Grown sapphires exist in the market alongside natural sapphires that form in the Earth. Lab-Grown sapphires are cheaper as they are produced under artificial conditions. If in doubt, always request for the gemstone to be assessed by an independent and professional gemmological laboratory.

Decide whether you are comfortable buying a treated stone.
Commercial grade sapphires are typically heat-treated to improve colour  and remove impurities. While standard heat is an accepted form of treatment and stable under normal conditions, unheated sapphires command a much higher price premium as they are rarer. If your budget allows we recommend a quality certified unheated sapphire.

We hope you enjoyed reading our #GemGeek Sapphire guide.

Enjoyed reading about Sapphires and would love more #GemGeek articles like this?
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