What colour do you think of when I say “Sapphire”? Blue? You wouldn’t be wrong…..but there are so many more!
Rubies, for example, are a red sapphire. The mineral Corundum makes a sapphire a sapphire but trace elements of different minerals give them their colour. Blue is created by by having trace elements of titanium, chromium gives us the pinks and reds (rubies) depending on the amount, iron will produce yellow sapphires…..having more than one trace element will give us beautiful greens and purples too!
My personal favourite is the stunning Padparadscha sapphire, it’s a pale pinkish orange colour and it’s name is derived from the Sanskrit word for lotus flower. They are also the rarest so can be very expensive.
Sapphires have traditionally symbolised sincerity, truth, faithfulness and nobility, and was also said to have healing powers. In Medieval Europe, sapphires were thought to cure plague boils and diseases of the eye!
Deep blue sapphires have long been associated with royalty which is perhaps where the colour “royal blue” comes from. Kings throughout history believed that the gemstone would protect them from their enemies.
Although Sapphires are found in many countries including Australia, USA and Thailand, historically Kashmir, Myanmar and Sri Lanka are important sources of this gemstone. In 1881, Sapphires were discovered in Kashmir when a landslide in the Himalayas revealed a large pocket of cornflower blue crystals. As these gemstones started appearing further south, the Maharaja of Kashmir took control. In the next six years, thousands of blue sapphires were found and it’s this that gives Kashmir it’s reputation for beautiful, covetable gemstones.
Jungle covered hills in the Magok region of Myanmar produce a rich, intense blue sapphire that is still known as “Burmese” sapphire. It’s often found next to Ruby deposits but in lower quantities than it’s red neighbour.
Now, this is the one that most people would be familiar with when talking about Sapphires. Sri Lanka has been a source of beautiful blue sapphires for more than 2000 years and display amazing saturation and brilliance. It is also one of the few places where Padparadscha sapphire can be found.
Sapphires are rated 9 on the Moh’s scale of hardness, diamond being the only natural substance that can scratch it. This makes it perfect for wearing in jewellery as it’s so durable.
So, with all these colours available, which would you choose?