Sapphires, the fairy-tale blue gems, have held a fascination of humankind for thousands of years. The very moniker stems from Ancient Greek etymology, the word ‘sapheiros’, which refers to the colour blue.
The colouration of the gemstone often harks to the heavens above in literature and in some religions - for example, the Ancient Persians thought the sky reflected the light from sapphires, which is why it was blue!
Looking at the fascinating science behind the stone, one can discover that the gem is in the same structural family as rubies. The only difference between them is the colour, which is always red for ruby due to higher amount of chromium in it, and all other varieties (mostly blue, but also orange, green, grey, even pink ones) are called sapphire. Iron and titanium in its chemical structure are responsible for the varying colours. Majority of natural sapphires today are heat-treated to bring out the richer colour, like the most desirable cornflower blue shade. The faint sheen you can see inside the cut sapphire is referred to as ‘silk’ and jewellers make the most of this exquisite feature by generally choosing circular cuts to fully show it off.
Sapphire mining in Australia started at the beginning of the last century and reached its peak in 1970s. Today a good number of mines along eastern shores of Australia generate a commercially viable amount of stones every year, however, majority of the jewellery grade natural sapphires come from Sri Lanka and India.
The sapphire is a beautiful choice for a special piece of jewellery due to its colour, durability and long-standing desirability. It makes for an original and interesting engagement ring or a perfect anniversary gift – sapphire jewellery pieces are often given on the 45th or even 65th wedding anniversaries, but there is no need to wait that long to show that special someone how much you care. Sapphire earrings would make a gorgeous graduation gift for a student. The jewel is also very popular for cocktail parties, as the fabulous colour lends a sophisticated flair to all outfits.
Jewellery designers often use sapphires in silver jewellery pieces as the cool shimmer of silver emphasises the vivid blue of the gemstone.
The sapphire is a popular choice for those wishing to deviate from traditional diamonds when a special occasion arises. Prince William of England gave Kate Middleton a sapphire gemstone ring, which had previously been his mother Princess Diana’s engagement ring, creating a craze for the blue hued gemstone.The traditional September birthstone, there are many meanings surrounding the gem. It is often thought to represent romance, including loyalty and devotion, making it popular as a gift among lovers. It can help promote serenity within the wearer, keeping feelings joyful.
One of the most popular alternative claims associated with the gemstone over the years is its ability to maintain good health to those that wear it, as it can expunge poisons and exterminate snakes! It also is known to surpass negativity, encourage strength of character and mental acuity. Some believe that the mental focus the jewel lends its wearer can aid them in contacting angels or spirit guides.
The jewel measures a 9 on the Mohs scale, rendering it almost as hard as diamond. You can take good care of your gem by preventing it from touching abrasive substances, sudden temperature differences or hard knocks. A soft cloth combined with soapy, lukewarm water should remove grime easily and once dry, you can polish up your gemstone to gleam again.
The sapphire is a special gemstone, highly prized and very desirable. The wonderful colours available, including the popular deep blue, make it exceptionally flexible in the type of designs it suits. The glorious shades available mean you can have it mounted in any metal, based purely on your personal preference, knowing that the gleam of the stone that the Ancient Persians found so enchanting will continue to work well within your jewellery wardrobe for many years to come.