The Passion of
A symbol of sincerity and faithfulness.
Sapphire comes from the word “sapheiros,” which
means “bright blue stone” in Greek and has been
cherished for thousands of years for its color,
durability, hardness and luster. Ancient Mediterranean
culture honored sapphire above all other gems, and
early Buddhists believed in its power for spiritual
awareness. One of the world’s most famous blue
sapphire engagement rings is the one worn by
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, which previously
belonged to the late Diana, Princess of Wales.
Sapphire and ruby are both members of the mineral
species corundum. Corundum is a naturally colorless
material, but may have different colors when impurities
are present. The rich hues of blue sapphire are
universally known but fancy sapphires come in many
colors including pink, yellow, purple, colorless, black,
green and the rare pinkish orange sapphire referred to
in the trade as Padparadscha. Nevertheless, the most
preferred and most valuable sapphires are deep color
saturations known in the trade as “Royal Blue” and the
soft velvety blue called “Cornflower Blue.”
Blue sapphires normally have inclusions, so the lack of
visible inclusions can have a positive impact on value.
However, in some cases inclusions can increase the value
of a sapphire when extremely fine particulate clouds
scatter the light, giving the stone a velvety appearance
without affecting the transparency.
Kashmir has a long history of mining spectacular blue
sapphires that have set records at prestigious auction
houses. The velvety “Cornflower Blue” hue and minute
inclusions observed in Kashmir sapphire make them the
most sought after. Myanmar (formerly known as Burma)
is also a highly sought after source of blue sapphire.
In the United States, the state of Montana has been a
leading producer of both blue and fancy color sapphire.
High temperature treatments are used to improve color
or to enhance the clarity of blue sapphire. Diffusing
titanium or beryllium into sapphires at high temperatures
can achieve a desirable color. Treated sapphire may
employ temporary treatments like oiling and dying to
hide fractures along with using lead glass to fill pits and
cracks for more transparency.
Sapphire comes in many colors, including the rare
pinkish orange sapphire called Padparadscha,
meaning “lotus blossom” in Sinhalese.
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