A September birthday provides a fantastic opportunity to receive a gift of sapphires. This gem represents nobility, truth, sincerity and faithfulness, which makes it a great 5th or 45th wedding anniversary gift as well.
Sapphires are best known for their brilliant blue color, but these gems also come in green, yellow, pink, purple, violet and orange, as well as variations in between. There are even gray, brown and black versions. Colors other than blue are considered fancy sapphires.
The most valuable sapphires display a vivid, velvety blue color. Gems mined on the island of Sri Lanka (once known as Ceylon) are so renowned for their light-blue hues that such sapphires are often called Ceylon sapphires.
Some sapphires undergo a phenomenon known as color change; most often, sapphires transform from a blue hue in fluorescent lighting to a purple hue in incandescent lighting. Larger stones with few inclusions are rare and come at a high price.
History of Sapphires
Sapphires are named from the Greek word “sappheiros” and the Latin word “saphirus,” both of which translate into the color blue. Some believe that the name also refers to the planet Saturn, and ancient Persians believed that the sky obtained its blue color from the reflection of sapphires. They considered blue sapphires as holy, as did the Catholic Church, and found the blue color representative of the heavens.
Sapphires were set into the jewelry of kings and the clergy, and some cultures held that the gems could promote good luck and protect against witchcraft.
How Sapphires are Formed
Both sapphire and ruby are members of the corundum family. This mineral is made of a combination of aluminum and oxygen and only develops in an environment that has no silicon. When trace elements are introduced into that environment, the stones take on a variety of colors in various concentrations.
Some corundum displays asterism, which is known as a star effect. That abnormality creates a six-ray star pattern on the curved surface of a cabochon sapphire.
Although sapphire is most associated with blue hues, the gems come in almost all color shades and can create a rainbow of options. Although pink corundum gems are considered sapphires, red gems are rubies.
Style Elements of Sapphire
With all sapphires, color is the key indicator of the price of the gem. Vivid blue sapphires in medium tones of velvety blue to violet-blue tend to have the highest values. Hints of green or gray will detract from the overall worth of a blue sapphire. Gems mined in Kashmir, Myanmar and Sri Lanka often carry a premium price.
Sapphires with a pinkish-orange known as padparadscha are among the most valuable of the fancy colored gems.
Similar to diamonds, sapphires are assessed by the 4Cs (color, clarity, cut and carat size) and their country of origin.
Famous Sapphire Jewelry
Sapphires have long been held in high esteem for their beauty. In fact, the world’s most famous engagement ring, which has graced the hands of both Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, features a 12-carat Ceylon sapphire at the center.
The Star of India is perhaps the most famous sapphire in the world, and at 563.35 carats, it is certainly the largest. It is approximately 2 billion years old and is one of the most well-known objects in the collection of the New York Museum of Natural History. It is a beautiful milky blue with a pronounced star effect.
The Hall Sapphire necklace designed by Harry Winston, Inc. is a spectacular example of sapphire jewelry. This necklace includes 36 sapphires from Sri Lanka with a total of 195 carats. The sky-blue color of the sapphires is accented by a phenomenal 435 diamonds, with a total carat count of 83.75.
Purchased in 1934 from an Indian Maharajah, a 62.02 carat sapphire was brought into the Rockefeller family holdings. The stone was cut in a rectangular step and mounted in a brooch worn by Rockefeller’s first wife. His second wife had the stone set into a ring and accented by two triangular side diamonds, which is how it remains today. It has been sold multiple times since her death in 1971.
At Worthington Jewelers, we are proud to offer a wide selection of sapphire jewelry in a number of unique settings. From October 13th – 22nd, our Semi-Annual Bridal Jewelry Sale and Trunk Show is back. Stop in to check out our huge selection of rings — all at Buy One, Get One 50% Off! Stay tuned for our upcoming blog for all the details.