All corundum (aluminium oxides) that is not red is called sapphire. The word sapphire comes from the Greek ‘sappheiros’ meaning blue. However, sapphire does not occur only in blue color. Sapphires can be yellow, green, brown, purple or pink, depending on the presence of various types of minerals. For example, the presence of chromium produces pink sapphire and the presence of iron produces yellow and green sapphires.
Sapphires are mainly found in Sri Lanka, India and Burma. Indian sapphires come from Kashmir. They are cornflower blue in color and are regarded as the finest blue sapphires. Sri Lankan sapphires are the most common and are typically light to medium blue in color. The majority of fancy-colored sapphires available in the jewelry industry are from Sri Lanka. The most common of these fancy sapphires are yellow, or golden, and pink in color. The pinkish orange ones are the rarest and most expensive.
Sapphires are also found in Thailand and Australia, and they are dark blue in color. The gems obtained from these two countries generally belong to the category of the inexpensive to average priced range of sapphire gems in the jewelry market. Montana is the only important source of sapphires in the United States. The sapphire produced is of an attractive metallic blue in color. China, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria have recently also become sources of sapphires.
Most of the sapphire gems being sold today have had their color enhanced, most commonly by heating. The purpose of heat treatment is to enrich the color and improve the stone’s clarity. With this method of treatment, colorless or paled-colored stones can be turned into brilliant blue or yellow ones. Depending on the original material and the type of heating process, heat treatments of Opal gemstones can produce a variety of results. For example, sapphires that have rutile (titanium dioxide) crystals can be treated by heating and then being cooled rapidly. This would result in the rutile crystals dissolving into the corundum and the gemstone becomes clearer. Colorless or pale-colored stones after undergoing heating without the presence of oxygen would turn to rich blue color. However, if these stones are being heated in the presence of oxygen, they would turn into intense yellow color. Most yellow sapphires have been treated in this manner.
Sapphires have been of great significance to past societies. For example, the Mystical Jews considered the blue gemstones as a secret message from the beyond. The Persians believed that the world is resting on a giant sapphire and the sky is a reflection of the color of the stone. In Europe, during the Middle Ages, sapphires were believed to be an antidote against poisons. Although sapphires occur in a wide variety of colors, traditionally blue has been the most popular and valuable. The blue sapphire gem was widely used in jewelry of royalty and was considered the most appropriate stone for ecclesiastical rings. It is known to be the bestower of truth and good health.
Gemstones are considered beautiful, rare and durable. The beauty of a gemstone is undiminished with time. A gemstone could sparkle as brightly many years from now. It has lasting value and is well liked by many. Hence, beautiful pieces of gemstone jewelry are created and widely used for personal adornment as well as gifts for friends and loved ones. Presenting these beautiful items as gifts is always well loved and cherished.
Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September. As such, a piece of jewelry with this gemstone makes a perfect elegant birthday present for those who were born in that month. Sapphire is also the anniversary stone for the 5th and 45th year. A piece of jewelry with this gemstone can also be a great anniversary present in these years. You will be amazed how this beautiful gemstone can be made into different jewelry items such as rings, bracelets, earrings, necklaces, brooches and pendants. With such a wide variety of items, you will never experience any shortage of gift ideas.