Sunday, September 19, 2010

Gem of the Sky

The ancient Persians believed that the sky was a huge sapphire into which the Earth was embedded.

Sapphire Crystal - photo by Kluka

When thinking of sapphire, what likely comes to mind is an image of a deep blue gemstone. Although sapphires are often a beautiful blue colour, sapphires can also be yellow, green, white, colourless, pink, orange, brown or purple.

Pink Sapphire Crystal - photo by Rob Lavinsky of

Sapphire is never red as a red sapphire would in fact be a ruby. Sapphire and ruby are the same mineral, corundum. It is the presence of small amounts of other elements such as iron or chrome which gives sapphires (or rubies) their colour.

Sapphires that are not blue are described as “fancy sapphires”. The most coveted of the fancy sapphires are the padparadscha sapphires, which are found mostly in Sri Lanka. It is a stone with a pink-orange colour.

Faceted Padparadscha Sapphire - photo by Alextryan

The value of a sapphire depends on its size, colour and transparency. The best sapphires have a rich, translucent colour. The most valuable colour is a cornflower blue. Sapphire is commonly heat treated to improve the stone’s colour. Heat treated stones do not have as much value as a natural stone of comparable colour.

Sapphire is the second hardest mineral, after diamond. It is a 9 on Moh’s scale of hardness. The hardness of the stone makes it easy to look after and makes sapphire an ideal choice for all types of jewelry, including items that typically take more abuse, such as rings and bracelets.

Faceted Sapphire from Montana - photo by Astynax

In ancient times, a gift of sapphire was considered to be a pledge of trust, honesty, purity and loyalty. This tradition is in part the reason that sapphire remains a popular choice for engagement rings.

Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September.

Featuring artisan handmade creations by the Etsy Starving Artists jewelry team. SATeam members create handcrafted jewelry and beads. More information about our team and its current Etsy shop owner members can be found at


Cat said...

Interesting article and beautiful pictures on top!

mcstoneworks said...

September girls are lucky to have such a beautiful birthstone. Love the featured sapphire from Montana.

tjrjewellery said...

Very educational - the raw crystal examples are beautiful.

BeadSire said...

Beautiful selection - Sapphire is an amazing stone

galadryl said...

Super pieces, really love the spinner ring. Thanks for all the info.

Alegria Designs said...

beautiful pictures and great article!

Bonnie said...

Beautiful examples of sapphire. Thanks for an informative read.