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Blue Sapphire

Blue Sapphire

Blue Sapphire is a truly mesmerising gemstone with a rich history, potent symbolism, and a popularity spanning over 2,500 years.
Ceylon Sapphire Jewellery

Ceylon Sapphire & Diamond 18K Yellow Gold Ring

History of Blue Sapphire

The name ‘Sapphire’ originates from the Latin ‘sappheiros’, meaning blue. This name is believed by some to originate from either the Hebrew 'sappir' (precious stone) or the Sanskrit 'sanipriya'. The reflections of Sapphire is believed by ancient Persians to give the sky its colours. While in Greek mythology it is said the Prometheus was the first to wear Blue Sapphire. As one of the 12 gemstones set in the foundations of the city walls of Jerusalem, sapphire is linked to the Apostle St. Paul.

Composition of Blue Sapphire

Sapphire and Ruby are colour varieties of the mineral Corundum (crystalline aluminium oxide). Corundum produces 'other coloured' gemstones, meaning that trace amounts of elements such as chromium, iron and titanium as well as colour centres are responsible for producing its rainbow of colours.

Properties of Blue Sapphire

Blue Sapphires are transparent gemstones, whose colours include blues, violet blues, greenish-blues. As with most gemstones the intense 'middle' colours are the happy medium, with pure blues being the marketplace ideal. Blue Sapphires are pleochroic meaning different colours are visible from different viewing angles. Blue Sapphires usually look their best when viewed outdoors in natural light or under fluorescents. The most prized colours of Blue Sapphire are 'royal blue' (dark blue with 10 to 15 percent violet) and 'cornflower blue' (medium blue with five to 10 percent violet).

Ceylon Sapphire Jewellery

Ceylon Sapphire & Diamond 18K Yellow Gold Ring

While both Ruby and Sapphires are classed as Type II gemstones, meaning they typically grow with some minor inclusions in nature that may be eye-visible, Sapphires are usually cleaner (and larger) than Ruby, with an eye-clean clarity (no visible inclusions when the gem is examined six inches from the naked eye) being the typical standard. Microscopic inclusions (called 'flour', 'milk' or 'silk') in some Blue Sapphires can convey a 'velvety' or 'sleepy' appearance that increases both beauty and value.

Source of Blue Sapphire

The original source for Blue Sapphire is Ceylon, now known as Sri Lanka. Madagascar has been the new supplier for Sapphires since the early 90s. Arguably the world's finest Blue Sapphires were discovered in Kashmir (India) around 1881, although the deposit was depleted by the 1930s. Other sources for Blue Sapphire include Burma, Australia, Cambodia (Pailin), , Nigeria, Tanzania, Thailand, the U.S.A. (Montana) and Vietnam.

Blue Spinel

Blue Spinel

Blue-Spinel

Spinel derives its name from either the Latin 'spina' (thorn), or the Greek 'spintharis' (spark), in reference to its bright red hues. Historically confused with both Ruby and Sapphire, Spinel occurs in a plethora of colours, including blue, orange, pink, purple and red. Available in pure blues, along with blues with violet or green tints, a variety called Cobalt Blue Spinel (coloured by trace amounts of cobalt) is arguably some of its finest hues. Sources include Madagascar, Tanzania and Vietnam.

Blue Star Sapphire

Blue Star Sapphire

Blue-Star-Sapphire

A unique and rare gemmological phenomenon, Star Sapphires are traditionally the most popular of all star gemstones. Due to an optical special effect called 'asterism' or the 'star effect', parallel needle-like inclusions create a reflected luminous star of light that moves across the gemstone. For Corundum, reflections from a whole host of tiny rutile needle inclusions, also known as silk, cause their stars. The ultimate love charm, a Blue Star Sapphire is said to have been responsible for Helen of Troy's conquests. Historically a common talismanic gemstone, Star Sapphires are said to be a protective 'guiding star' for travellers. All star gems are dependent on a gem being cut 'en cabochon' (cut in convex form and highly polished, but not faceted). While Sri Lanka are the world's 'classic' source, once contributing 90 percent of the Star Sapphires on the market, the gem pictured hails from Madagascar.

Iolite

Iolite

Iolite

Iolite is named after the Greek 'ios' (violet) and 'lithos' (stone). Historically compared and confused with Blue Sapphires, Iolite's blues and transparency explains its common name, 'water sapphire'. Despite the name, Iolite is actually fairly easy to differentiate from Blue Sapphire due to its pleochroism. This means each Iolite crystal has three colours, deep blue, colourless to very slightly brown and colourless to very slightly blue, whose intensity changes when it is viewed from different angles. A beautiful gemstone in its own right, whose colours and characteristics are immediately obvious to the expert eye, Iolite is predominately sourced from India, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. Other sources include Brazil, Burma, Canada, Namibia and Tanzania.

Kyanite

Kyanite

Kyanite

Even though Kyanite was named in 1789 from the Greek 'kyanos', meaning 'blue', it was sold to Europeans as Blue Sapphire until the turn of the 20th century. An interesting mineralogical attribute of Kyanite is that it is a polymorph, meaning it has two different hardnesses. This makes Kyanite challenging to cut well and thus Kyantie's faceting quality is important.

Midnight Blue Sapphire

Midnight Blue Sapphire

Midnight Blue Sapphire

Mined in a wide variety of countries, including Australia, China, Madagascar, Nigeria, Thailand and Vietnam, Midnight Blue Sapphires are characterised by rich, deep, over-colour blues. Midnight Blue Sapphires are affordably priced due to their tone and saturation reducing transparency, something that actually accentuates the gem's lustre, complementing its flashes of colourful brilliance.

Fancy Sapphire

Allthough the classic blue sapphire is the most famous one, this gemstone can be found in a varierty of colours all over the world.

Read more about Fancy Sapphire

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