Sapphire Gemstone Guide

Sapphire Gemstone

Sapphires and rubies both come from the mineral corundum and are often found together, they are both 9 on the Mohs scale, meaning their hardness is second only to diamonds. Sapphire is the traditional birthstone for September meaning sapphire jewellery will make an excellent gift for a special September birthday. It is also the traditional gift for a fourty fifth wedding anniversary and is thought to represent truth and loyalty. The word sapphire comes from the Greek word 'sappheiros' meaning blue gem. Throughout history, sapphires have been seen as the gem of royalty. Sapphires have become extremely fashionable since Prince William proposed to Catherine Middleton with the sapphire engagement ring that belonged to his mother, Lady Diana.

Sapphire Colour

Normally associated with the colour blue, sapphire is actually the name for any corundum gemstone that's not red, this is known as a Ruby. Although available in many colours one of the rarest sapphires, known as padaradscha, is of a vibrant pink-orange tone and is of very high value.

Sapphires are valued by three components, hue, saturation and tone. Hue is the colour, saturation is the brightness and tone is the shade or depth of colour. Sapphires have primary and secondary hues, in blue sapphires the primary hue is blue with secondary hues of voilet and purple or green, sapphires with violet and purple secondary hues are valued higher than those with green. As with rubies it is not uncommon to heat treat sapphire gemstones to enhance their colour (this is a permanent process).

Caring for sapphire

Renowned for its hardness, when you own a piece of sapphire jewellery, keep it safely in a cloth or pouch, so that it does not scratch other jewellery items. Whether it's a pink sapphire pendant or a blue sapphire ring, try not to expose it to high temperatures which could affect the colour of the stone.

Sourcing Sapphire

Sapphires are mined underground in many places around the world including Sri Lanka, Thailand, Eastern Australia and Madagascar, which is currently the world leader in sapphire production. They can also be synthetically produced and these are known as 'created sapphires'.

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