The name Sapphire is derived from the Greek term “sappherios” that implies blue. Back then, any blue stone like Lazurite was referred to as Sapphire. Initially, only the blue-colored stones were referred to as the Sapphire. In the present era, an array of gemstones of all colors except red are referred to as Sapphire. The most desired color of this precious gemstone is the cornflower-blue. Some of the grayish-blue and blue variants of Sapphires that are found in Sri Lanka, Colombia, Tanzania, Thailand and other, exhibit a violet-red or reddish tint under the effect of artificial light.
Sapphires are commonly used for precious jewelry. The gemstone is best known for its remarkable hardness (9 in Mohs scale), the Sapphires are therefore, used in some of the non-jewelry applications as well including high-durability windows, scientific instruments and much more.
Sapphire is one of the most precious and popular gemstones. It is extensively used in the jewelry industry. The fine-colored Sapphire that comes with a royal blue tint and excellent transparency can reach up to the value of several thousand dollars per carat. Though blue-colored Sapphire is the most preferred variant used in jewelry, other tints including pink, orange and yellow are also becoming popular in the recent times.
The rare orange-pink variant of the Sapphire gemstone that is known by the name “Padparadschah” is supposed to be even more valuable and precious than the blue Sapphire.
Sapphire is considered to be the birthstone of September.
The main types of Sapphire gemstone in addition to the precious blue Sapphire are:
- Yellow Sapphire (sometimes referred to as the “Golden Sapphire” when intensely colored)
- Pink Sapphire
- Green Sapphire
- White Sapphire (the Sapphire that is colorless)
- Purple Sapphire
- Green Sapphire
- Black Sapphire
- Orange Sapphire
Sapphire Treatments & Enhancements
Sapphire is usually treated with heat for intensifying the rich blue color. It is also done to remove all the inclusions for increasing clarity and transparency. Sapphire that comes with a natural, unheated color is much more valuable and precious than the one that is treated by heat. Sapphires are sometimes given their characteristic color with the means of diffusion process as well. This process is used to alter the original color of the stone artificially. The colors of the diffused Sapphires include that of royal blue, bright orange, bright yellow, and orange-red.
The diffusion is usually carried out by the treatment of the stone to heating in an overlay of beryllium metal. The diffused Sapphires tend to be less expensive even after their rich color tints.
Sources of Sapphire
Some of the important sources of Sapphire include that of Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Thailand, Burma (Myanmar), Australia, Tanzania, Madagascar and the United States (Montana). The Kashmir region of India & Pakistan is also famous for their rich Kashmir-blur Sapphire. But now, supply from the Kashmir region has become limited.
The most popular Sapphire is the one named “Star of India” that is one of the biggest Sapphires in the world at 563.35 carats.