A sapphire is from the family of gemstones called corundum, its sister stone is the ruby. The basic elements are oxygen and aluminium, and the blue colour is created by the addition of iron and titanium atoms. Actually, pure sapphire is colourless, but the common thought is that a sapphire is always blue. But in recent years the popularity of other colours of sapphire has grown, from pink, green, yellow and even purple. One of most valuable sapphires is called the padparadscha. Translated from Sanskrit it means, lotus coloured, a variety from pink red to orange red, and can be referred to as having the ‘aura of a sunset’.
Sapphires have long been thought of as a symbol of truth and nobility, and very often found in Royal Regalia, and of course the sapphire and diamond cluster given to Princess Diana as her engagement ring is now worn by Catherine, presented to her by Prince William. Sapphire the birthstone for September and used as the anniversary stone for the 45th year, and is also used for the tenth anniversary. Its 9 on the Moh scale, so almost as hard as diamond, and if looked after it will last for many years.
It has a high degree of refraction so it will have a brightness. Many have inclusions and this is not a reason to discard as many clean stones, as many of these have been treated. Although heat treatment is not necessarily a bad thing, as thus can help enhance a stone’s beauty. Star sapphires are another popular example, usually seen in a cabochon cut sapphire , and the silky inclusions give a six rayed star effect. One of the most notable of these is the 563 carat Star of India, with a star effect both on the top and the base of the stone, which is very unusual.
Sapphires are found all over the world, from Scotland to Australia, although the most famous deposits are in Sri Lanka (notably for the cornflower blue colouration) Thailand, and Kashmir. The latter has a beautiful velvety rich blue colour, and are now no longer available, so have become very valuable. Scottish sapphires are only found in one location, its a SSI area and a protected site, so could be as rare as a true Kasmiri stone.
Heat treatment is a centuries old procedure. So the buyer should not fear this practice as to purchase a truly original high coloured sapphire is not only rare but highly expensive, and a heat treated stone only enhances, and does not devalue.
We have many sapphire items on our website www.vintagetom.co.uk either set on their own or with diamonds. All are pre-owned vintage or antique, plus our store in Frome, Charles Hart have many new sapphire rings on offer.