The first sapphires was found in U.S in 1865 within the gravels of the Missouri River. Sapphires are today mined in Cambodia, Thailand and India however the three famous regions are Kashmir, Burma and Sri Lanka. The name is derived from the Latin word “sapphire” which means blue. Sapphire has an intense blue colour tone like the midnight sky. Sapphires can also come in other colours pink, orange yellow and greens but the blue is the most popular, the more intense the blue is the more valuable it becomes. Most natural gems go through heat treatment to improve the colour and clarity which is an accepted permanent enhancement. All jewellers must be able to tell you which one has gone through any treatments.
Sapphire jewellery is ideal for person with active lifestyle as the gem is durable and great for everyday wear and tear. It belongs to the corundum family and at the top two hardest gem with diamond on top. It can be cut and shaped in various styles due to the flexibility of the gem. Sapphire is the most valuable blue gemstone, it is desirable for jewellery for its durability and excellent colour and lustre. Except the rarest sapphire orange-pink known as Padparadschah can be more valuable than the fine blue. It is pleochroic therefore lighter and different tones when viewed from different angles. In jewellery sapphire is used as the centre piece gem with smaller gems around it such as bracelets, rings and pendants.
Sapphire is the birthstone for month of September and is known to represent serenity and loyalty making a perfect ‘something blue’ gift for a bride to be. It is also a traditional gift for 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. Sapphires are often linked to royalty as it was worn by medieval kings as they believed it would protect them from their enemies and more recently it has become ever more popular since the engagement of Kate Middleton.
Sapphire is a very durable gemstone however it will need to be looked after to ensure that it is kept looking its best. Sapphire jewellery should be stored in a soft pouch or jewellery box to prevent scratching and damage. Soap and liquid cleaners should be avoided as these may cause sapphire stones to dull. Harsh detergents or chemicals such as bleach or chlorine may cause erosion to sapphire stones so these should be avoided; sapphire jewellery should be removed when cleaning or swimming. To clean sapphire rinse thoroughly with water and dry with a soft jewellery cloth.