We all know and love the timeless radiance of a royal blue sapphire, but did you know that sapphires come in a dazzling array of colors?
Oscar Heyman Sapphire, Tsavorite and Diamond Bracelet. M.S. Rau.
Unique, captivating and timeless, the sapphire gemstone is truly one of the most exquisite stones you can add to your collection. Ranging in a variety of gorgeous hues and styles, these gems have versatility unlike almost any other stone.
Whether you are looking for an antique sapphire ring or the perfect accessory for a special event, we are sure you will find precisely what you need with our online selection. Read on to learn more about this gorgeous gemstone and discover some of the most stunning gems in history.
What are sapphires?
Sapphire Mesh Bracelet, 62.73 Carats. M.S. Rau.
What is a sapphire and how does it compare to other fine stones? The sapphire gemstone is known for its brilliance, color, and durability. Best known for its rich blue hue, sapphires can also be found in a host of other gemstone colors, including pink, purple, blue, yellow, and orange. While natural sapphires can be found all over the world, they are most often mined in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Eastern Australia, North America, China, Madagascar, and Africa.
Though blue is the sapphire’s most recognizable color, sapphires are found in a range of colors and hues. All crystals that belong to the corundum family are classified as sapphires, except red-colored stones. Red crystals in the corundum species are given their categorization and classified as rubies.
How do sapphires get their color?
Ceylon Yellow Sapphire Ring, 28.99 Carats. M.S. Rau.
The origins of gem coloring can often be perceived as mysterious since every part of the thousand to million-year process takes place deep within rock structures most of us hardly recognize as significant. Within these rock structures, the trace elements present in the environment during the formation of the sapphire crystal dictate the gem's color. Blue sapphires owe their rich ocean-hued coloring to the presence of iron and titanium. Various other trace elements can yield diverse colors, including:
- Chromium: pink, orange, or red
- Manganese: purple
- Vanadium: green
- Cobalt: yellow
- Nickel: brown
Why sapphires are an excellent gemstone for jewelry
Sapphires, a member of the corundum species, rank a nine out of ten on the Mohs scale for hardness, making them an excellent choice for highly durable jewelry that can be worn every day, such as an engagement ring. Additionally, sapphires are the September birthstone, making them great gifts for Virgos and Libras.
Tiffany & Co. Ceylon Sapphire and Garnet Ring by Jean Schlumberger. M.S. Rau.
Blue sapphires, esteemed for their allure, are unearthed from diverse corners of the globe, spanning regions like Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Madagascar, Australia, Tanzania and even Montana. The earliest known blue sapphires were found in Sri Lanka, and they have been mined there for centuries. These sapphires stand among the most sought-after colored gemstones and are highly treasured among gem collectors for their distinctive deep and vivid shade of blue. Among the spectrum of blue sapphires, those with a deep, cornflower blue hue command the highest value. While enhancements can be applied to augment their color and clarity, untreated blue sapphires tend to hold greater worth.
Here is a quick guide to some of history’s most famous blue sapphires:
Star of India. American Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C. Source.
The Star of India: This 563.39-carat blue sapphire is the largest blue star sapphire in the world. It displays a star-shaped figure that is caused by light reflecting off of rutile needles within the stone. This gem is about 2 billion years old, making it one of the most well-known objects in the world.
The Logan Sapphire. National Museum of Natural History, Washington DC.
The Rockefeller Sapphire. Christies. Source.
The Logan Sapphire: This 422.99-carat blue sapphire is the second-largest faceted blue sapphire in the world. It has a deep blue color and is cut in a cushion shape. The Logan Sapphire is on permanent display at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
Kate Middleton’s Engagement Ring. Vogue. Source.
The Rockefeller Sapphire: This 133.19-carat blue sapphire was once owned by John D. Rockefeller and has a cornflower blue color and oval shape. The Rockefeller Sapphire is currently on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
Princess Diana's Engagement Ring: The engagement ring of Princess Diana, now worn by Kate Middleton, the new Princess of Wales, features a 12-carat oval blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds. The sapphire ring was originally the engagement ring of Middleton's late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.
Orange Ceylon Sapphire Ring, 38.07 Carats. M.S. Rau.
Throughout history, the allure of orange sapphires has left an indelible mark. Originating in Sri Lanka, these gemstones have been meticulously mined for centuries, captivating civilizations across the ages. Among these admirers were the ancient Greeks, who deemed orange sapphires divine gifts, adorning both jewelry and objects used in sacred ceremonies. The Romans too held orange sapphires in high esteem, believing in their ability to safeguard against malevolent forces.
Today, the spectrum of significance that orange sapphires encompass is still captivating:
- Passion: The fiery hue of orange is intrinsically linked to passion and love.
- Creativity: As a color associated with creativity and imagination, orange sapphires are thought to kindle these artistic traits.
- Confidence: The hue's connection to confidence and self-esteem is reflected in the belief that orange sapphires enhance these qualities.
- Joy: Orange sapphires are believed to infuse joy and happiness into the wearer's life.
- Healing: Beyond symbolism, orange sapphires are attributed with healing properties, often employed to alleviate conditions such as depression, anxiety and fatigue.
With their vibrant history and multifaceted symbolism, orange sapphires continue to shine as radiant gems, bridging the past with present beliefs and aspirations.
Pink-Purple Sapphire Ring, 5.02 Carats. M.S. Rau.
Purple sapphires stand among the most highly sought-after colored gemstones and are highly treasured among gem collectors. The earliest known purple sapphires were found in Sri Lanka, where they were mined there for centuries. Today purple sapphires are found in various locations worldwide, including Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Tanzania and Australia.
Purple sapphires boast a rich and ancient history, holding significance for civilizations like the Greeks and Romans, who revered them as protective talismans embodying wisdom, royalty, and spirituality. The Greeks of antiquity regarded these gems as divine offerings and incorporated them into jewelry and sacred rituals. Similarly, the Romans cherished purple sapphires, believing in their ability to ward off malevolent spirits.
Today, Purple sapphires hold multifaceted meanings, encompassing:
- Wisdom: The color purple symbolizes wisdom, and purple sapphires are thought to amplify intellectual prowess and foster mental clarity.
- Royalty: A longstanding association between purple and royalty persists, casting purple sapphires as emblems of opulence and authority.
- Spirituality: The color's spiritual connotation aligns with the belief that purple sapphires aid in spiritual growth, forging connections to higher realms.
- Love: Love's essence is also intertwined with purple, making purple sapphires tokens of affection and endearment.
Ceylon Padparadscha Sapphire Ring, 15.17 Carats. M.S. Rau.
While "sapphire" is a well-known term, "padparadscha" is more enigmatic. Recognized by gem experts, it might not be as familiar to the general public. The padparadscha, a rare and exceptional member of the sapphire family, is renowned for its scarcity and distinct color. Its captivating hue blends red, orange and yellow, reminiscent of a delicate lotus blossom meeting a sunset's glow. While its exact color varies, it typically ranges from rich salmon-pink to pinkish-orange and orangy-pink shades.
Its unique name originates from the Singhalese word "padma raga," meaning aquatic lotus blossom. In Sri Lanka, where this gem's name finds its inspiration, the lotus flourishes in murky waters, symbolizing purity and enlightenment. This name elegantly marries the gem's luminous color with the rich symbolism of its origin.
Throughout history, the serene landscapes of Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, were the exclusive wellspring of padparadscha gemstones. These precious gems were found nestled in the verdant foothills and tranquil riverbeds of the region. Although Madagascar's mines now yield padparadschas, Sri Lanka remains the sole purveyor of the most exquisite specimens. In the late 1990s, the gemstone market witnessed a significant surge in padparadscha availability, accompanied by heightened consumer interest and growing recognition from experts.
So, why pick a sapphire?
Whether you're drawn to the serene depths of the blue sapphire, the playful warmth of the yellow sapphire or the romantic allure of the pink sapphire, one thing is certain: sapphires are more than just gemstones. They are storytellers, carrying with them the fascinating narratives of the Earth's geological history. As you embark on your own journey through the world of sapphires, may you find joy in discovering the perfect shade that resonates with your personality and taste. Looking for a one-of-a-kind piece to add to your jewelry collection? Shop our collection of estate sapphire rings now!