|Dimensions (mm)||8.2 x 6.8 x 3.85mm|
|Weight (carats)||2.55 carats|
Sapphire is a precious gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum, consisting of aluminum oxide (α-Al2O3) with trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, vanadium, or magnesium. It is typically blue, but natural "fancy" sapphires also occur in yellow, purple, orange, and green colors; "parti sapphires" show two or more colors. Red corundum stones also occur, and are called not sapphires but rubies. Pink colored corundum may be either classified as ruby or sapphire depending on locale. Commonly, natural sapphires are cut and polished into gemstones and worn in jewelry. They also may be created synthetically in laboratories for industrial or decorative purposes in large crystal boules. Because of the remarkable hardness of sapphires – 9 on the Mohs scale (the third hardest mineral, after diamond at 10 and moissanite at 9.5) – sapphires are also used in some non-ornamental applications, such as infrared optical components, high-durability windows, wristwatch crystals and movement bearings, and very thin electronic wafers, which are used as the insulating substrates of special-purpose solid-state electronics such as integrated circuits and GaN-based blue LEDs.
Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the gem of the 45th anniversary. A sapphire jubilee occurs after 65 years.
Gemstone color can be described in terms of hue, saturation, and tone. Hue is commonly understood as the "color" of the gemstone. Saturation refers to the vividness or brightness of the hue, and tone is the lightness to darkness of the hue.: 333–401 Blue sapphire exists in various mixtures of its primary (blue) and secondary hues, various tonal levels (shades) and at various levels of saturation (vividness).
Blue sapphires are evaluated based upon the purity of their blue hue. Violet, and green are the most common secondary hues found in blue sapphires.:333–401 The highest prices are paid for gems that are pure blue and of vivid saturation. Gems that are of lower saturation, or are too dark or too light in tone are of less value. However, color preferences are a personal taste, like a flavor of ice cream : 333–401
The 423-carat (84.6 g) Logan sapphire in the National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C., is one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires in existence.
Sapphires in colors other than blue are called "fancy" or "parti colored" sapphires.
Fancy sapphires are often found in yellow, orange, green, brown, purple and violet hues.
Particolored sapphires are those stones which exhibit two or more colors within a single stone. Australia is the largest source of particolored sapphires; they are not commonly used in mainstream jewelry and remain relatively unknown. Particolored sapphires cannot be created synthetically and only occur naturally.
Pink sapphires occur in shades from light to dark pink, and deepen in color as the quantity of chromium increases. The deeper the pink color, the higher their monetary value. In the United States, a minimum color saturation must be met to be called a ruby, otherwise the stone is referred to as a pink sapphire.
Colorless sapphires have historically been used as diamond substitutes in jewelry
Padparadscha is a delicate, light to medium toned, pink-orange to orange-pink hued corundum, originally found in Sri Lanka, but also found in deposits in Vietnam and parts of East Africa. Padparadscha sapphires are rare; the rarest of all is the totally natural variety, with no sign of artificial treatment.
The name is derived from the Sanskrit "padma ranga" (padma = lotus; ranga = color), a color akin to the lotus flower (Nelumbo nucifera).
Among the fancy (non-blue) sapphires, natural padparadscha fetch the highest prices. Since 2001, more sapphires of this color have appeared on the market as a result of artificial lattice diffusion of beryllium.
A star sapphire is a type of sapphire that exhibits a star-like phenomenon known as asterism; red stones are known as "star rubies". Star sapphires contain intersecting needle-like inclusions following the underlying crystal structure that causes the appearance of a six-rayed "star"-shaped pattern when viewed with a single overhead light source. The inclusion is often the mineral rutile, a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide. The stones are cut en cabochon, typically with the center of the star near the top of the dome. Occasionally, twelve-rayed stars are found, typically because two different sets of inclusions are found within the same stone, such as a combination of fine needles of rutile with small platelets of hematite; the first results in a whitish star and the second results in a golden-colored star. During crystallization, the two types of inclusions become preferentially oriented in different directions within the crystal, thereby forming two six-rayed stars that are superimposed upon each other to form a twelve-rayed star. Misshapen stars or 12-rayed stars may also form as a result of twinning. The inclusions can alternatively produce a "cat's eye" effect if the girdle plane of the cabochon is oriented parallel to the crystal's c-axis rather than perpendicular to it. To get a cat's eye, the planes of exsolved inclusions must be extremely uniform and tightly packed. If the dome is oriented in between these two directions, an 'off-center' star will be visible, offset away from the high point of the dome.
At 1404.49 carats, The Star of Adam is claimed to be the largest blue star sapphire, but whenever such claims are made, one should be careful not to equate size with quality or value. The gem was mined in the city of Ratnapura, southern Sri Lanka. The Black Star of Queensland, the second largest star sapphire in the world, weighs 733 carats. The Star of India mined in Sri Lanka and weighing 563.4 carats is thought to be the third-largest star sapphire, and is currently on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The 182-carat Star of Bombay, mined in Sri Lanka and located in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., is another example of a large blue star sapphire. The value of a star sapphire depends not only on the weight of the stone, but also the body color, visibility, and intensity of the asterism. A common mistake made by novices is to value stones with strong stars the highest. In fact, the color of the stone has more impact on the value than the visibility of the star. Since more transparent stones tend to have better colors, the most expensive star stones are semi-transparent "glass body" stones with vivid colors.
A rare variety of natural sapphire, known as color-change sapphire, exhibits different colors in different light. Color change sapphires are blue in outdoor light and purple under incandescent indoor light, or green to gray-green in daylight and pink to reddish-violet in incandescent light. Color change sapphires come from a variety of locations, including Madagascar, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Tanzania. Two types exist. The first features the chromium chromophore that creates the red color of ruby, combined with the iron + titanium chromophore that produces the blue color in sapphire. A more rare type, which comes from the Mogok area of Myanmar, features a vanadium chromophore, the same as is used in Verneuil synthetic color-change sapphire.
Virtually all gemstones that show the "alexandrite effect" (color change; a.k.a. 'metamerism') show similar absorption/transmission features in the visible spectrum. This is an absorption band in the yellow (~590 nm), along with valleys of transmission in the blue-green and red. Thus the color one sees depends on the spectral composition of the light source. Daylight is relatively balanced in its spectral power distribution (SPD) and since the human eye is most sensitive to green light, the balance is tipped to the green side. However incandescent light (including candle light) is heavily tilted to the red end of the spectrum, thus tipping the balance to red.
Color-change sapphires colored by the Cr + Fe/Ti chromophores generally change from blue or violetish blue to violet or purple. Those colored by the V chromophore can show a more pronounced change, moving from blue-green to purple.
Certain synthetic color-change sapphires have a similar color change to the natural gemstone alexandrite and they are sometimes marketed as "alexandrium" or "synthetic alexandrite". However, the latter term is a misnomer: synthetic color-change sapphires are, technically, not synthetic alexandrites but rather alexandrite simulants. This is because genuine alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl: not sapphire, but an entirely different mineral
Etymologically, the English word "sapphire" derives from Latin sapphirus, sappirus from Greek σαπφειρος (sap-pheiros) from Hebrew סַפִּיר (sappir). Some linguists propose that it derives from Sanskrit, Shanipriya (शनिप्रिय), from "shani" (शनि) meaning "Saturn" and "priya" (प्रिय), dear, i.e. literally "dear to Saturn".
A traditional Hindu belief holds that the sapphire causes the planet Saturn (Shani) to be favorable to the wearer. The Greek term for sapphire quite likely was instead used to refer to lapis lazuli. During the Medieval Ages, European lapidaries came to refer to blue corundum crystal by "sapphire", a derivative of the Latin word for blue: "sapphirus". The sapphire is the traditional gift for a 45th wedding anniversary. A sapphire jubilee occurs after 65 years. Queen Elizabeth II marked her sapphire jubilee in 2017. The sapphire is the birthstone of September.
An Italian superstition holds that sapphires are amulets against eye problems, and melancholy.
Pope Innocent III decreed that rings of bishops should be made of pure gold, set with an unengraved sapphire, as possessing the virtues and qualities essential to its dignified position as a seal of secrets, for there be many things "that a priest conceals from the senses of the vulgar and less intelligent; which he keeps locked up as it were under seal.
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