In Persian folklore, the Earth was believed to be balanced atop a pedestal of Sapphire, whose reflection was thought to give the sky it’s blue color. Although just a fable, most are familiar with the mesmerizing and vibrant royal blue gemstone. Coveted for their vivid color, beauty and durability, Sapphires have long been popular gems in engagement rings, wedding bands and statement jewelry pieces.
Throughout history sapphires have been associated with royalty and wealth. Over the centuries they have been used to decorate royal crowns, gowns, jewelry, and robes. In fact, the color “royal” blue was first used in England in the early 1800s. The name is said to have originated from a competition to make a dress for Queen Charlotte. In true tradition, Lady Diana wore a Sapphire engagement ring, thought to be the most widely imitated and perhaps most recognizable piece of jewelry in the world. The same ring now adorns the hand of Kate Middleton, as it was bequeathed to Diana’s eldest son, Prince William. Also, The British Royal Crown or Stuart Crown boasts 104 Carats of this beloved gem. Sapphires are also the September birthstone. The history and rich color have made the Sapphire the most sought after of the colored gemstones.
What many do not know is that sapphires come in a myriad of colors: neutrals, from colorless to black and pastels of orange, yellow, green, and purple to much deeper hues of the same. Even the familiar blues vary from light blue to the familiar cobalt, down to a deep tone known as “twilight.” The only color not found in a Sapphire is red. That distinction is reserved for its equally lovely sister stone, the ruby. Both come from the same mineral family known as corundum and have the same chemical makeup. Mixtures of iron, chromium and titanium give them color, and the varying colors are created by any added minerals present.
The rarest sapphire is the Padparadscha, a unique and stunning mix of pink and orange. This scarce stone is primarily found in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Tanzania. Most Sapphires are found in Southeast Asia, but are also mined in Africa, Australia, and parts of the US.
Sapphires are more than just gorgeous stones. They are also used in both industrial and commercial applications. They are used to create watch crystals for several Swiss time pieces and Apple watches. As well, they are sometimes cut as the faces for expensive watches to guard the mechanisms from damage. Some protective glass windows are also made with sapphires as are semiconductor components and transmission and ionization tubes. Lastly, their hardness makes them strong abrasives for use in polishing.