Since time memorial, Sapphire has been treasured for its captivating beauty and exoticism. Natural Sapphire gemstone's rich colour and stunning brilliance make it popular among modern jewellery designers. Sapphires come in every colour of the rainbow, from deep blues to pretty pinks, and are an incredible alternative to diamonds. Sapphire derived its unique name from the word "Sappheiros" most likely referred to lapis lazuli.
Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the corundum mineral family. Aluminium and oxygen combine to form this fantastical gemstone. Sapphire and Ruby all have similar structures except for their colour. This exquisite is extremely hard and is the second hardest substance on earth, with a diamond topping the chart with a Moh scale of 10. Sapphire boasts a hardness rating of 9. Due to Sapphire's outstanding hardness, rich colour, durability and sparkle, this gemstone is one of the most sorted stones in the world.
While blue Sapphire is the most popular colour, Sapphire also comes in purple, green, pink, yellow, and black. Any colour apart from "Blue" is termed as "Fancy Sapphire". Padparadscha sapphire is an extremely rare coloured sapphire variety discovered initially in Sri Lanka and has an orange-pink colour that resembles the sunset.
Some well-known sapphire sources include Burma, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Cambodia, China, Columbia, and the United States. Sapphires from Burma and Kashmir are highly famous for their colour, saturation and clarity.
Sapphires from these regions display premium colour, saturation and clarity. In high-end Sapphire jewellery, rare and stunningly gorgeous Kanchanaburi alluvial-mined sapphires from Thailand are used. Sri Lanka is known for producing some of the world's largest sapphires. Sapphires from New South Wales and Queensland, Australia, have a dark blue hue and are also well appreciated by many. Sapphires of outstanding quality have been recovered from basaltic rocks in Madagascar, Africa, since 1996.
Some historians believe that the tablets on which the Ten Commandments of Moses were written were made of sapphire. It was also one of the stones that natural sapphires were put on the breastplate of the High Priest of Israel. According to the ancient Persians, the earth rested on a massive sapphire that reflected the gem's colour into the sky —this magnificent stone, known as the gem of gems, symbolized hope and faith.
Natural Sapphire, regarded as a symbol of wisdom and good fortune, has been connected with royalty for centuries. The British Crown Jewels, which feature stunning blue sapphires, attest to the country's royal affiliations. The Sapphire engagement ring worn by Princess Diana and Princess Kate ignited a significant sapphire trend among young couples. Sapphire engagement rings are a wonderful way to express one's commitment because they convey a sense of trust, loyalty, and understanding.
Blue sapphires were thought to protect the wearer from harm by the ancient Greeks and Romans and had also been thought to attract blessings from heaven, influence spirits, and aid in the reconciliation of enemies. Sapphire is the birthstone for those born in September and the gem for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. Sapphires are also thought to have calming and healing properties bringing harmony to the body and keeping unwanted thoughts at bay.
Hardness and Strength
Sapphires have a trigonal crystal system and a refractive index rating from 1.76 to 1.78. This stunning gem melts at a temperature of 2040°C and has outstanding toughness with no cleavage ( the tendency for a stone to crack when struck). Natural Sapphires are also used in non-ornamental applications due to their incredible hardness. Pleochroic sapphires are those Sapphires variants that change colour when viewed from a different angle.
Heat treatment is commonly used to enhance the colour and clarity of sapphires. Heating also aids in the removal of inclusions and increases the transparency of the stone. Natural Sapphires available on the market today have been heat-treated. Unheated, pure natural sapphire in their natural colours are very pricey.
Quality and Grading
Sapphire is one of the most sought-after coloured gemstones globally, and it is categorized as a "precious stone". The mesmerizing colour, transparency, and durability of this stunningly beautiful gemstone entice jewellery consumers. A sapphire's price is determined by its quality, determined by many variables such as colour, clarity, cut, and carat.
The colour of a sapphire is one of the most important factors influencing its value. Though blue is the most widely known sapphire colour, Sapphires also come in purple, pink, orange, green, yellow, and black. Sapphires with the most intense colour are generally thought to be the most valuable, and such gems are very pricy. The most expensive sapphires are velvety blue to violet-blue sapphires. The colour saturation in these sapphires is also very strong and vivid.
In natural sapphires, inclusions are almost always present. When a sapphire stone is devoid of inclusions, it could undoubtedly be synthetic. Inclusions that reduce the stone's brilliance, lustre, and durability reduce its value as well. Any top grade natural sapphire should be free of any imperfections(inclusion).Cavities, colour zoning, concaves, fingerprint inclusions, silk, and discoid cracks are all frequent types of sapphire inclusions.
The shape of the rough sapphire heavily influences the finished shape and size of the sapphire. Since most rough sapphires are from hexagonal pyramids in a barrel or a spindle, the finished sapphires are regularly deep. Gem cutters generally work on rough sapphires to maximize the gem's transparent colour and final weight while minimizing colour zoning and inclusions.
Large sapphires are more challenging to find compared to more petite sapphires. The majority of commercial-quality sapphires weigh less than 4 carats. The price of a fine-quality sapphire is directly proportional to its size. Quality stones are rarely cut to smaller sizes because this tends to result in weight loss.
For natural sapphires, there is no universal grading system. Nevertheless, these gems can be divided into the following grades:
The top 1% of sapphire falls into this category. They have a genuinely distinctive and deep colour, are very slightly included(VSS), and display a high degree of brilliance.
The best 10% of natural sapphires available are given this grade. They have a few inclusions and medium to rich colours.
These sapphires are among the top 20 to 30 percent of all sapphires on the market. They have a dark to medium colour and are moderately included.
50 to 70 per cent of all the natural sapphires available are in this category. They're known for having heavy to moderate inclusions.
Instruction and Care
Sapphires, like diamonds, are long-lasting and suitable for everyday wear. But even so, dirt and grime can settle on your jewellery over time and frequent wear, making even the most valuable gems look faded and gloomy. The best way to keep your jewellery shining for a long time is always to keep it clean.
Below are some suggestions for keeping your sapphire jewellery in good condition.
- It is necessary to take extra precautions when wearing sapphire jewellery. Before you put them on, finish your makeup first. Similarly, make sure you've already removed your jewellery before removing your makeup.
- Wearing your sapphire jewellery while doing manual labour, such as gardening, washing, or cleaning, is not a good idea. Scratching or chipping It may end up being scratched or chipped.
- Wearing jewellery while swimming or bathing is also not a good idea.
- Never expose your sapphire jewellery to harsh chemicals such as chlorine bleach or anything with moisturizers or abrasives.
- Easily clean your sapphires with warm water and a dash of cleaning detergent, and a soft toothbrush.
- Thoroughly rinse and pat dry with a soft cloth after cleaning. Repeat the procedure if the stone is still cloudy.
- Keep your sapphire jewellery in a separate compartment to avoid scratching
- Store your sapphire jewellery away in a cool dry place and away from direct sunlight and heat.
- It is recommended that you have your sapphire jewellery professionally cleaned at least once a year.