The popular gemstone sapphire is one of the most valuable and precious gems in the world. It is used extensively in all forms of jewelry. A rich, cornflower-blue color with excellent clarity can reach several thousand dollars per carat. The most popular color used in jewelry is blue. However, sapphires do come in a large array of colors. The color padparadscha, a rare orange-pink variety, can be more valuable than the rich, cornflower-blue. Sapphire is also the birthstone of September and the 45th wedding anniversary stone.
The term sapphire covers all gem colors and varieties from the mineral corundum. Ruby, however, which is also a red variety of corundum, was specifically named back in ancient times. Corundum is common in nature, however, finding large deposits is extremely rare. Significant deposits have occurred in South Africa, Sri Lanka, Burma (Myanmar), Russia, Thailand, Madagascar, Australia and Montana, in the United States. In the past, corundum was made into sandpaper and grinding wheels for industrial purposes. However, for the most part, today it has been replaced by synthetic materials.
Sapphire is an extremely tough and durable gem making it a perfect, everyday gem to wear. The diamond is the only natural gemstone harder than a sapphire. But keep in mind, sapphires can chip or crack if not handled properly.
If shopping for a sapphire, remember, they are not just blue. No two sapphires are alike. They each have their own unique color and brilliance. Colors other than blue, or red, which is called “ruby”, are referred to as “fancies” or “party colors”. You might even come across a “pinto”, which is a stone with more than one color within it. Sounds like shopping for a sapphire might be a delightful treasure hunt to me!!!