Sapphires belong to the family of corundum minerals.
Sapphire is one of the 3 prominent icons of jewellery coloured gemstones—the other two are ruby and emerald. A durable stone that’s designated as a birthstone for September, it captures jewellery buyers with its practicality and aura of romance.
Sapphire is one of the two gem-varieties of corundum, the other being ruby (defined as corundum in a shade of red). Sapphire comes in various colours and the most popular colour for the sapphire is blue. Although blue is the best-known sapphire colour, they occur in other colours, including gray and black, and they can be colourless.
A pinkish orange variety of sapphire is called Padparadscha. The Blue color is caused by the mineral titanium within the crystal. High concentrations of titanium in the sapphire increases the color saturation. Sapphires which are overly dark or dull can be due to much color saturation which is not desirable and lowers the price of the stone. Blue sapphires also need trace amounts of the following element, iron. Iron alone produces green sapphires but when mixed with titanium it produces blue sapphire.
Among the sapphire family, the blue sapphire is most popularly bought. Trace elements of iron and titanium present in the corundum create the colours ranging from Kashmir blue, royal blue, cornflower blue to blue.
The desirable tone for a blue sapphire is always a medium to medium dark tone with vivid saturation and usually with the presence of slight greenish and greyish hues, the sapphires will cost less.
Regardless of the price tag, we strongly encourage gemstone buyers to choose a gemstone of their preference and liking that fits their personality and character as opposed to going for popular market choices.
The rarest colour in sapphire is the padparadscha, which resembles the lotus colour. In the ancient times only the royalties were able to afford and wear a padparadscha.
Derived from the Sinhala language, Padparadscha refers to the lotus flower and the Padparadscha sapphire carry the colour which resembles the pink-orange found in lotus. There are different tones of the Padparadscha and they vary from the salmon colour to sun rise colour and to the sunset colour.
Very frequently referred to as the ‘King of Sapphire’s, the Padparadscha is the rarest among the corundum family. In the ancient times only the royalties were wealthy enough to dawn the Padparadscha sapphire. The colour of the Padparadscha sapphire has always been debated by several gemmologists in recent times and we highly recommend the purchase of Padparadscha with proper certifications always.
Princess Eugenie’s marriage to Jack Brooksbank, a padparadscha sapphire engagement ring was sighted. A natural unheated untreated stones of a good quality can soar to more than USD50,000 per carat, easily rivalling rubies and emeralds of the same size. Therefore, Princess Eugenia’s at approximately 5 carats will likely be over £100,000.
Pink to Violet Sapphire
Chromium causes the sapphire to be coloured pink. If the chromium concentration gets very high it will form a ruby but at lower levels pink sapphires are created. Titanium will cause the sapphire to have a more purplish pink hue.
It’s a never ending debate amongst gemmologist about a vivid pink sapphire and a ruby. The line of distinction between both of them is very grey and differs from lab to lab. The trace element chromium is responsible for the pink colouration in pink sapphires and there are various shades depending on the concentration of this trace element.
Ranging from a baby pink to a dark fuchsia colour, the pink sapphire has been the favourite colour amongst ladies from all walks of life.
Violet sapphires always have purple as the dominant colour. They range from medium to dark reddish purple to violetish purple with weak to vivid colour saturation. Violet colour appears in sapphires because of the presence of the trace mineral of vanadium. Its good to take note that higher concentration vanadium will cause the creation of a colour change sapphire.
Yellow to Orange Sapphire
Yellow colouration is caused by the trace element iron. Here the element titanium is undesirable as it can cause green colouration in yellow sapphires, thus the most valuable yellow stones are relatively titanium-free.
The yellow sapphires cover a large range of hues, going from pastel yellow to golden yellow with the most sought after colour known as the canary. The brightness and the purity of the yellow increases the value of the gemstone.
The main trace element responsible for the yellow colouration in sapphire is iron & chromium and the higher concentration of iron will lead to a richer hue. Almost all the super fine quality of yellow sapphires have come from Sri Lanka. Other countries such as Thailand, Burma and Madagascar also produce yellow sapphires but their intensity of the hue cannot be compared on the same platform as those from Sri Lanka.
Orange sapphires range from yellowish orange to reddish orange. The finest orange sapphires are strong, pure orange to red-orange with medium tone and vivid saturation.
Teal to Green Sapphire
Gaining an enormous popularity, the teal sapphire is emerging as a very popular gemstone among new age ladies. Previously emeralds were much preferred against teal sapphires, but green sapphires have always had the added advantage of being tougher and harder than emeralds and also the mixture of green with yellow and blue have been in trend and have garnered much support in the past decade.
The presence of trace element iron produces the green colouration in teal sapphires. The presence of titanium and chromium creates the play of colours which can become a beautiful bi-colour to tri-colour sapphire.
Commercial-grade sapphires may contain a less desirable greenish blue colour or strong greenish blue that is visible as you view the gem. Uniformly green sapphires that are saturated in colour are actually rare and many collectors prize them. In green sapphires, a mix of yellow and blue sapphire accounts for the colour a person sees.
Colour Change Sapphire
Colour-change sapphires are corundum’s chameleons—stones that change colour under different lighting. Under daylight equivalent (fluorescent or LED daylight-balanced) light, the typical colour-change sapphire’s basic colour ranges from blue to violet. Under incandescent light, it ranges from violetish purple to strongly reddish purple. Some rare colour-change sapphires change from green in daylight to reddish brown in incandescent light.
When gem experts judge colour-change sapphires, they describe the color change as weak, moderate, or strong. The strength of the stone’s colour change is the most important quality factor affecting its value.
A pure corundum without the presence of any trace elements is known as a colourless sapphire. They are also very commonly referred to as the white sapphires. They are a perfect alternative to diamonds as they are much more affordable and at the same time they are durable too!
Black sapphires have a high concentration of iron and titanium present within the corundum. This creates the stone’s black colour.
Did you know that sapphire is the second strongest natural gemstone after diamond. The only natural item that can scratch a sapphire is another sapphire or a diamond.
In 1926, at the age of 53, American tycoon Harrison Williams bought a beautiful cornflower blue Sapphire during a stopover in Sri Lanka (then Ceylon) of his year-long, around-the-world honeymoon. The 98.57 carat cushion-cut gem, which is now known as the Bismarck Sapphire, is one of the world’s finest Sapphire. Its displayed at the Gem Gallery at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. The Bismarck Sapphire Necklace prominently displayed between two other famous sapphire pieces, the Hall Sapphire and Diamond Necklace and the Logan Sapphire.
Other famous Sapphires includes, Napoléon’s Engagement Ring for Joséphine, The Star of Bombay, Blue Giant of the Orient, Stuart Sapphire, Rockefeller Sapphire, The Blue Belle of Asia and Kate Middleton’s Engagement Ring.