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June 15, 2021
September’s modern birthstone is the sapphire, and it is often associated with romance and royalty. Historically this gemstone was a favorite of nobility and clergy alike; it was thought to represent truth, nobility, sincerity, and faithfulness. Today sapphires are a favorite of jewelers all over the world because of their unique beauty and durability. We here at EC Design Studio absolutely love sapphires and regularly create custom sapphire rings, as well as ready to buy pieces. Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but sapphires make spectacular soul mates!
Sapphires are widely known to come in shades of blue, but they actually come in a vast array of colors, excluding red (which in the aluminum oxide/corundum family is reserved for rubies). Blue, green, and yellow are the most common sapphire colors. Golden yellow, orange, apricot, purple, and pink sapphires do occur in nature but they are more rare. A sapphire’s color is dependent on the mineral content of the deposit from which it came. Mineral deposits not only vary between countries of origin, but also specific mining regions. Higher titanium content results in shades of blue; variable amounts ferrous and ferric iron create yellow and green colored stones; and stones that are pink in color or red (i.e. rubies) have higher chromium content. Regardless of the color specifics, the richer the color and better the clarity, the higher the value of the stone.
Not only are these colorful gemstones beautiful, they are also quite tough. With a hardness rating of 9 they are the third hardest mineral and are classified as ‘relatively hard’; for reference, diamonds have a hardness rating of 10. Sapphires do not have a tendency to break easily when struck and are relatively scratch resistant, therefore these unique colorful stones are perfect for everyday wear. For these reasons and more, sapphires have become a popular choice for alternative engagement rings.
Kashmir, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka have historically been known as prime regions for sapphire deposits. Sapphires were first discovered in Kashmir around 1881 and gems from this region are coveted in the auction world to this day. Myanmar, formerly Burma, is known to produce prized sapphires in ideal deep, intense hues of blue. Sapphires can also be found in other countries throughout Asia and Africa, as well as Australia and the United States.
EC Design is quite fond of the amazing sapphires ethically sourced from Montana (US) and Australia. Stones from Montana range in color from pale blue-greens and teals to pinks, yellows, and oranges. Australian sapphires tend to be richer in color and can be found in deep blue-greens and teal as well as vibrant acidic yellows and spring greens. Single stones that contain multiple color tones, known as parti-sapphires, can also be found in Montana and Australia. They are truly unique and who doesn’t love a fun parti! ;)
As with most gemstones, warm, soapy water is an approved cleaning solution. We also recommend scrubbing gently with a old toothbrush to clean up around the bezel and behind the stone. If a deeper cleaning is required, natural sapphires stand up well to ultrasonic and steam cleaners.
While one of the largest sapphires (weighing in at over 60 carats) was once owned by the famous John D. Rockefeller, one of the most beloved stones comes in at a mere 12 carats. Princess Diana was known as the ‘people’s princess’ and her beautiful blue sapphire and diamond engagement ring became recognizable the world over as a result of her popularity. That precious family heirloom is now worn by Diana’s eldest son’s wife, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.
No matter the cut, color, or carat, sapphires are highly sought after due to their beauty, versatility, and durability. They make beautiful birthstone gifts, treasured mother’s ring additions, and exquisite engagement rings. Whatever the reason, sapphires are sure to make you smile.
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