The sky is just a gigantic blue Sapphire stone into which the earth
is embedded – this belief was cherished in ancient times. And, in
fact, does there exist a better image to describe the beauty of an
immaculate Sapphire of purest blue? This gemstone exists in all the
shades of blue skies, from the deep blue of evening skies to the
bright and deep blue of a clear and beautiful summer sky which
charms all people. The splendid gemstone, however, also comes in
many other colours, not only in the transparent greyish misty blue
of far horizons, but also displaying the bright fireworks of sunset
colours – yellow, pink, orange and purple. So Sapphires are really
and truly heavenly stones, although they are being found in the hard
soil of our so-called "blue planet”.
Blue is Sapphire's main colour. Blue is also the favourite colour of
about 50 per cent of the population, men and women alike. This
colour, which is strongly associated with sapphire, is also linked
to emotions such as sympathy and harmony, friendship and loyalty.
These emotions belong to features which are permanent and reliable –
emotions where overwhelming and fiery passion is not the main
element, but rather composure, mutual understanding and unshakeable
trust. Sapphire blue has thus become a colour related to anything
permanent and reliable, and this is one of the reasons why women in
many countries settle on Sapphire for their engagement rings.
Sapphire symbolises loyalty and faithfulness, while at the same time
expressing love and yearning. The most famous musical example for
this melancholic shade of blue can be found in George Gershwin's "Rhapsody
in Blue". Sapphire's blue colour is also evoked where clear
competence and controlled brainwork are the issue. After all, the
first computer ever to wrangle a victory from a chess grandmaster
and world champion was named "Deep Blue".
What makes Sapphire a fancy stone?
Its beauty, magnificent colours, its transparency but also its
resistance and permanence are characteristics which gemstone lovers
and experts assign to this gemstone – however, this does not only
apply to blue Sapphire as will be pointed out later on. Sapphire
belongs to the corundum group which is set apart from other
gemstones by their very good hardness (Grade 9 on the Mohs' scale).
They are second in hardness to diamonds only, and diamonds represent
the hardest mineral on Earth! Because of their good harness,
sapphires are easy to care for as gemstones and demand from their
wearers only the usual and normal care.
The corundum group consists of pure aluminium oxide, which a long
time ago was caused to crystallise into beautiful and splendid
gemstones by the pressure and heat in the depths of the ground.
Small proportions of other elements, mainly iron and chrome, are
responsible for the resulting colours and make the basically white
crystals a blue, red, yellow, pink or greenish Sapphire. But this
dies not necessarily imply that any corundum is a sapphire. Which
stone may be termed a Sapphire – this is a question which for
centuries has fuelled heated discussions among experts. Finally
agreement was achieved to call ruby-red Sapphires "Rubies”, and all
other colours "Sapphires".
If we talk about Sapphires, most gemstone lovers will immediately
think of a velvety blue. It is an adaptable colour which is
attractive on many people. A blue Sapphire is optimally suited to a
well-balanced style of life, where reliability is joined with spirit,
and where there is an openness for new ideas and influences – just
like the woman wearing it. The fact that this beautiful gemstone
does also exist in many other colours was for a long time an piece
of information known to insiders only. In the gemstone trade any
non-blue Sapphire is termed "fancy”. And to clear up matters the
colour denominations are also used, so that when talking about fancy
Sapphires , we talk about yellow, purple, pink, green or white
Sapphire, etc. Fancy sapphires are the epitome of individualism, the
perfect choice for women who love unique coloured gemstone jewellery.
These Sapphires exist in a charming variety of designs - set in
rings, as pendants or earrings, as solitary stones, in elegant
line-ups or as sparkling pavée.
But there are even more surprises about Sapphire: for example, there
is an orange colour variety with a fine pinkish undertone, which has
been given the poetic name ”Padparadsha”, meaning "lotus flower”.
Another rarity are the star Sapphires . These are stone cut in
half-dome shape displaying a star-shaped light phenomenon, which
seems to dance magically across the stone's surface when the
Sapphire is moved. There exist rumours about gemstone lovers who
have forever and truly lost their hearts to these sapphire rarities
– but then, permanence and loyalty come along with these stones.
Top-Sapphires are rare
Sapphires, these gemstones of the skies, rest hidden away in only
few places of the earth and have to be brought to daylight in
laborious procedures. Sapphires are found in India, Burma, Ceylon,
Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, Brazil and Africa. From the gemstone
mines the rough crystals are supplied to the cutters, where skilled
hands turn the into sparkling gemstones. A cutter must draw on all
his experience and deftness when cutting sapphire, because these
gemstones are not only hard, they also display a different colouring
and satiation depending on the perspective. Therefore, then, the
cutter must align the orientation of the stone in such a way as to
bring about the best possible display of colour.
Depending on the place of occurrence the depth of colour as well as
the shade displayed by the cut stones will vary, which in turn
offers a wider range to select from. So shall a woman who has
decided on a sapphire go for the medium blue stone evoking the
summer skies even on a rainy day? Or should she rather prefer a
lighter blue, because it sparkles brilliantly also in the evening?
Bright daylight makes most Sapphires shine more vividly than the
somewhat muted artificial light. Therefore the most highly cherished
colour for blue sapphires is not the darkest blue as is often
claimed, but a deep and satiated blue, which even in dim artificial
light remains to appear blue.
For experts and connoisseurs the Cashmere-colour with its velvety
sheen is considered the most beautiful and valuable shade. The
wonderful Cashmere gemstones, which were found in 1880 after an
avalanche had come down in a height of 5000 m, and which were
intensively mined then for eight years, have for all times set the
standard for our ideas of the colour of a top quality Sapphire.
Typical for the Cashmere colour is a pure and intensive blue, which
is enhanced by a fine, silky gloss. It is reported that this colour
does not change in artificial light. But Burma-colour is also
considered especially valuable. It ranges from rich royal blue to
deep cornflower blue.
The oldest Sapphire mines are situated in Ceylon, today called Sri
Lanka, where gemstones were mined in ancient times. The expert
recognises Ceylon sapphires from the luminosity and brilliance of
their light to medium blue colour. Most blue Sapphires, however,
come from Thailand or Australia.
Their value depends on size, colour and transparency. For very fine
qualities these criteria are supplemented by information on the
origin of the gemstone. The colour as such is not necessarily linked
to the geographic origin of the Sapphire, and this explains why
there are such enormous price differences between the respective
qualities. The most valuable sapphires are real Cashmere stones.
Almost as highly cherished are stones from Burma, followed by
Ceylon-Sapphires. Another factor reflecting on the price for a
sapphire is a possible treatment, as in our age of gemstone
cosmetics a stone which has definitely not been treated becomes more
and more desirable. And if this rare beauty should be a real
Cashmere- or Burma-Sapphire with a certificate to document this,
than you will definitely have to pay a collector's price.
Only rarely some courageous pioneers will succeed in locating a
gemstone occurrence of such dimensions as happened in Madagascar
some years ago, when in the Southeast of the island there was found
a large gemstone occurrence stretching out across several kilometres.
Since then, there have not only been enough blue Sapphires on the
market, there also appeared some magnificent yellow and pink
Sapphires of special beauty and transparency. In the meantime
experts also succeeded in finding the first evidence for two larger
gemstone occurrences in Tanzania, where good, although not very
large Sapphire crystals are found in blue, yellow and orange colours.
And recently Brazil has joined the ranks as third country where blue
to purple and pink Sapphires have been found. So, Sapphire lovers
may rest assured: The "heavenly” gemstones with the fine colour
spectrum will be available in the future in sufficient amounts.
Top-quality Sapphires, however, remain a rarity in the gemstone
mines all over the world.