The word sapphire comes from the Latin sapphiru or the Greek word "sappheiros", which means blue.
Sapphires have been found across the globe in countries as Australia and Kashmir, China and Cambodia.
Sapphires are often associated with loyalty and dignity and are a favorite gemstone for royalty. Traditionally, sapphire symbolizes nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness. It has decorated the robes of royalty and clergy members for centuries. The association was reinforced in 1981, when Britain’s Prince Charles gave a blue sapphire engagement ring to Lady Diana Spencer or even Prince William to Kate Middleton.
In ancient Greece and Rome, kings and queens were convinced that blue sapphires protected their owners from envy and harm. During the Middle Ages, the clergy wore blue sapphires to symbolize Heaven, and ordinary folks thought the gem attracted heavenly blessings. In other times and places, people instilled sapphires with the power to guard chastity, make peace between enemies, influence spirits, and reveal the secrets of oracles.
In folklore, history, art, and consumer awareness, sapphire has always been associated with the color blue. Most jewelry customers think all sapphires are blue, and when gem and jewelry professionals use the word “sapphire” alone, they normally mean “blue sapphire.”
A special orangy pink sapphire color is called padparadscha, which means “lotus flower” in Sinhalese, the language spoken in Sri Lanka. Stones from Sri Lanka were initially the only ones labeled with this marketable name.
Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide. It is typically blue in color, but natural "fancy" sapphires also occur in yellow, purple, orange, and green colors."Parti sapphires" show two or more colors. The only color which sapphire cannot be is red - as red colored corundum is called ruby another corundum variety. This variety in color is due to trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, copper or magnesium.
Sapphires belong to the family of minerals known as corundum. They are among the strongest natural gemstones in existence, second only to diamonds.
The most valuable sapphires are a mid color blue with a concentrated hue which remains constant under all lighting conditions. The largest cut and polished sapphire, with a weight of 61,500 carats is the Millennium Sapphire.
Most natural sapphires undergo heat treatment to improve their color and clarity. This industry-accepted practice results in a permanent enhancement and helps protect against accidental chipping or breakage.
Sapphire is the birthstone for September.
It is also a traditional gift for those celebrating 5th or 45th anniversaries.
Gem and mineral hardness is measured on the Mohs scale.
Sapphire ranks 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. Corundum (ruby and sapphire) is relatively hard. It has excellent toughness and no cleavage, which is a tendency to break when struck. This makes it a great choice for rings and other mountings subject to daily wear.
Corundum is stable under normal wearing conditions, which means it’s resistant to the effects of heat, light, and common chemicals. Boric acid powder will etch the surface of even untreated stones. Fracture-filled, cavity-filled, and dyed stones can be damaged by even mild acids like lemon juice.
If your sapphire jewelry is the victim of a hard knock, take it to a jeweller or goldsmith immediately and ask to have it checked under magnification for loose stones. If you wear your sapphire regularly, periodic checkups are important in order to make certain the stones continue to sit securely in their mountings.
Avoid storing sapphire in a container or bag with other gemstones. Place them separately in a soft fabric bag or lay them separately in a flat compartment to guard against scratching softer, more easily damaged gems and other polished gold items.
An occasional cleaning and minimal maintenance will keep your sapphire bright and sparkling for years.
The best method to clean sapphires and to eliminate dullness is to clean sapphires by applying a mixture of mild liquid soap and warm water. Gently scrub your sapphires and the jewelry mounting using a soft toothbrush. Rinse immediately with clean warm water and dry with a lint-free cloth for sparkling results.
Do not use common jewelry cleaner, since these formulas may cause irreversible damage also on the setting if not used correctly.
Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe for untreated, heat-treated, and lattice diffusion treated stones.
Fracture-filled, cavity-filled, or dyed material should only be cleaned with a damp cloth.
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