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September - The Royal Sapphire

History of the Sapphire

The soft tones of Fall are upon us, and nothing compares to the soft brilliance of a magnificent royal blue Kashmir colored sapphire. The soft, rich, velvety blue is the ultimate in sapphire colors. Sapphires were discovered around 1882 in Kashmir, a small Indian state in the Northwestern Himalayas. The original prices of around $1 per carat in London at that stage are a far cry from what Kashmir Sapphires can command today - up to tens of thousands of dollars for the top gems.

If Kashmirs are out of range for most consumers, other areas of the world produce beautiful celestial, bright blue gems, namely Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Burma and Africa. Sapphires from Australia and Thailand have a darker, navy tone to them, preferred by those who desire darker toned gems. Not to be missed are the sapphires mined in Montana - the brilliant, very lively, electric blue Yogo Gulch Sapphires. Some Yogos appear to have their own light source.

Sapphire Color Gemstones

Sapphires actually come in every color but red, which is exclusive to its sister gemstone ruby. Both ruby and sapphire are part of the Corundum group of minerals. Next to diamond, sapphire is the second hardest gemstone, ideal for all types of jewelry, especially rings. Sapphire is available in yellow, orange, pink, orangey-pink (Padparadschas), purple, green, colorless and black.  Better quality sapphires are usually free of inclusions or lightly included. The word originates from the Latin for blue: “Sapphirus.”

Sapphire Gifts

September’s birthstone is also the preferred gift for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries, historically symbolizing truth and keeping promises. Sapphire is a popular choice for brides who prefer something other than a traditional diamond. Queen Elizabeth, Princess Diana, Kate Middleton, Joan Crawford, Jean Harlow and Debra Messing all have or had sapphire engagement rings.

Sapphires are routinely enhanced by traditional heating methods to intensify the color and/or improve clarity. Because of this, natural unheated and untreated sapphires command a premium price. Often, ultrasonic cleaning for sapphires in generally safe, but soapy water and a brush will also do. Some coated sapphires, including diffusion treated gems, should not be cleaned mechanically, and worn with care. At Mark Schneider Design, we are careful not to stock diffusion treated sapphires.

Sapphire Fine Color Gemstone Jewelry by Mark Schneider Design

Mark has designed several award winning pieces using sapphires, including the Blue Sapphire Bridal Ring, which recently won an AGTA Spectrum Award. Inquire or email us for details about our beautiful custom designed sapphire jewelry and our stock of loose sapphires.