Take a poll of ten friends and family about their favorite color. Chances are 5 out of the 10 people polled will name blue as their favorite color. In fact, 50 percent of the population name blue as their favorite.
Blue is an interesting color, favored throughout history, and associated with significant meanings.
The color blue and blue sapphires represent purity, trust, dignity, strength, loyalty, and authority. Of course, the color represents the natural elements of sky and water. It is a soothing, calming color that invokes peace and calm.
Throughout history, the crown jewels of many monarchies feature sapphires. The French crown jewels are an excellent example of sapphires used to adorn leaders. Princess Diana’s engagement ring was sapphire. As is Princess Kate’s.
Sapphires, like rubies, are one of the hardest gemstones found in nature. Gemstones (other than pearls) form deep within the earth over millions of years. Pressure, heat, and minerals combine to form gems. They are pushed to the upper layers of the earth’s crust.
The brilliant blue of sapphires is created by trace amounts of titanium and iron mixed into the aluminum oxide base.
Sapphires and rubies are sister gemstones. They differentiate only in color. Corundum creates red in rubies while titanium and iron oxide create the blue in sapphires.
The gemstones are found throughout the globe. Yet, stones from Myanmar (Burma), Kashmir, and Sri Lanka are considered more desirable. Sapphire mines are also found in Brazil, Tanzania, Thailand, Madagascar, and Australia.
Natural, untreated sapphires with the purest color blue are most prized. It is difficult to discover a stone with purity and few (if any) inclusions. Sapphires are occasionally treated to enhance color and reduce the appearance of flaws. Treated stones are less valuable but often the enhancements are not obvious to the eye. The processes make sapphires available to more people.
Sapphires are available in colors other than blue. Though blue is the most sought after, common, and popular; other colors exist. The other colors are classified as “fancy sapphires”. These sapphires are every color other than red. Red belongs to rubies. With such a variety of colors, it is no wonder people are obsessed with sapphires.
Fancy sapphires are just as rare as an unblemished blue but less costly. These stones are pink, orange, yellow, lavender, orange, purple, and blue-green colors. Pink sapphires are also called pink rubies simply because pink is part of the red color family. But they have the interchangeable term of pink sapphire or pink ruby.
One of the most valuable fancy stones is the orange-pink / pink-orange padparadscha. Found in Sri Lanka, it is named after a lotus blossom because of its spectacular color. Some of these stones are heat or treated to enhance the color. Often the color and intensity is determined by the geographic area. Sri Lanka padparadscha sapphires are pastel while the same sapphire found in Tanzania is a fiercer color. The Padparadscha is extremely rare and quite expensive.
Obsessed with sapphires but can’t quite afford them? Looking for something similar? French Robin Designs offers a collection of blue topaz, blue quartz, and faux deep blue gemstone jewelry.