Hot Pink Sapphire
Pink is the color of romance and passion and is also the color of happiness. Pink sapphires are found in colors ranging from pale baby pink, rose pink, bubble gum, cotton candy, fuchsia, raspberry, hot pink to pinks with hints of lavender and peach. Light pink sapphires can even look like the very rare pink diamond. Pink sapphires are by far the rarest of the pink gemstones.
Light Pink Sapphire RIng (looks like a pink diamond)
At MySapphireSource, we offer over 70 carefully selected styles of pink sapphire engagement rings. For each and every ring, the center pink sapphire was hand picked for its exceptional color, clarity and overall appearance. Pink sapphires in sizes of up to 1 carat are fairly easy to find in all shapes, but in sizes over that, certain shapes are very rare. For example, one shape we will find very infrequently is the princess cut in sizes over 1.5 carats. The gem material is so valuable and cutting a princess cut stone leads to a lot of wasted material, so gem cutters simply do not cut large princess cut pink sapphires.
Most people have heard that diamonds are the hardest gemstone and are harder than most things on the planet. Hardness is defined in the jewelry industry as resistance to scratching. So that means that almost nothing can scratch a diamond. And that is why a diamond is generally recommended as the top choice for an engagement ring stone.
Sapphires are tougher than diamonds. Example of a sapphire ring from MySapphireSource.
But did you also know that while the hardness of a diamond is excellent, the toughness of diamonds is only fair to good? Toughness is defined as resistance to breaking, chipping or cracking. In considering day to day wear and tear, this is a critical consideration. If hit just right, a diamond can easily break or chip. So that’s why we encourage consumers to consider various gemstones, particularly sapphire, when selecting an important ring that will be worn every day. Sapphires and rubies are the second hardest gemstone and have a toughness level of excellent (better than the toughness of a diamond). Sapphires are much less prone to breaking or chipping than a diamond.
Yellow Sapphire Engagment Set
More sapphires over 100 carats in size have come from Sri Lanka than any other location.
423.00 ct Logan Sapphire in the Smithsonian (wikipedia.com)
Sapphires have been mined in Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) for over 2000 years. These sapphires are known for their brilliance due to their generally lighter tone than Kashmir or Burmese sapphires. This lighter tone is, in general, due to a lower iron content found in those sapphires. The cornflower blue color of these gems is normally associated with Ceylon sapphires.
Sapphire mining has been and still is a primitive operation. Today the government actually restricts mechanized mining, partly to keep the output low so the miners will have work for hopefully hundreds of years.
The island is Sri Lanka has one of the world’s largest concentrations of gems and over 40 gem species are mined there. Sapphires are generally recovered from river gravel. Some fashioning (treatment and cutting) is done locally but much of the output is treated and cut in Thailand.
Sri Lankan (Ceylon) Sapphire Engagement Ring Set
Burmese Ruby set with Trillion Diamonds
Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) is known for its exceptional rubies. It is not widely know that Myanmar also produces very fine quality sapphires.
Sapphires from this country command very high prices for the top quality gemstones with intense or vivid saturation with rich royal blue color. The best sapphires maintain their exceptional color under all lighting conditions, incandescent, daylight and fluorescent, something you rarely see in sapphires. These sapphires do not have the velvety appearance that Kashmir sapphires are known for. Just as with any origin, not all sapphires from Myanmar are so outstanding. Some sapphires are dark or even very light in color.
Fine Burmese Sapphire (from Myanmar)
Rubies and sapphires have been mined in Myanmar for about 800 years. Sapphires are about 10 percent of the output. Mining has been sporadic over the years due to the remote location. Even today, political and economic troubles limit mining activities. Mining is done by government-run and private businesses using both mechanized and primitive techniques. Once the rough is mined, it often heads for Thailand, where the majority of sapphire and ruby fashioning (treating and cutting) is done. Some gems leave Myanmar through unauthorized channels and smuggling is common.
Most Burmese sapphires are heat treated to remove or reduce the silk inclusions. Heat treatment improves the luster and clarity and it can also lighten the darker stones. Because of their origin, fine Burmese sapphires do command higher prices than sapphires of other origins like Madagascar or Montana, but identifying the origin can be difficult if not impossible. Origin identification is most often possible through the identification of that origin’s characteristic inclusions. But since inclusions can be significantly altered by heat treatment, identification can become impossible after heat treatment has been performed.
Kashmir - the Himalayas are in the background
Sapphires have been mined all over the world and each location produces characteristically different colors and qualities of sapphires. The locations include Kashmir, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Montana. Determining a sapphire’s exact origin can require sophisticated testing and a sapphire’s pedigree plays an important role in its value. This post will focus on the most famous sapphire location, Kashmir. Kashmir is located high up in the Himalayan mountains in the disputed border area between India and Pakistan. The climate is exceptionally harsh and geographically inaccessible most of the time.
That coupled with a politically unstable environment just about prevents all mining there today. The heyday of mining in Kashmir occurred from 1881 to 1887. A landslide in 1881 exposed a deposit of gem quality blue sapphires at an elevation of nearly 15,000 ft. Mining techniques at that time were quite primitive as you can imagine. Only a very small quantity of rough was recovered and since the area is relatively inaccessible for reasons already mentioned, there has been little output since then.
The velvety appearance is caused by the scattering of light from silk-like minute inclusions.
Many people consider Kashmir sapphires to be the finest in the world and the benchmark by which all other sapphires are judged. The finest gems have a vivid royal blue color with a velvety appearance which is caused by the scattering of light from minute inclusions.
Of course, the quality of all gems mined from Kashmir are not this fine quality with many stones having strong color zoning or color being confined to certain areas of the crystals. Kashmir sapphires are extremely rare and if the origin can be proven, these sapphires would normally sell from thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars per carat.
An Introduction to Sapphires:
Although sapphire means blue in Latin, sapphires can be found in a rainbow of colors. Kings once believed these stones offered protection form harm and envy. Sapphires are calm and relaxing. Until the discovery of extraordinary stones in Kashmir in 1880, Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon) was the standard bearer of sapphire. The Kashmir supply was essentially exhausted by 1930, leaving Sri Lanka as the location of the world’s most beautiful sapphires. In the 1990′s Southern Madagascar became one of the top sources of good to fine quality sapphires. Sapphires are also mined in the US (Montana), Australia, Thailand, Cambodia and Northern Madagascar, however these locations don’t produce as fine a sapphire and are mainly used to supply “commercial grade” sapphires to the industry. Sapphires come other colors such as red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and pink. Colors other than blue are referred to as “rainbow sapphires” or “fancy sapphires”. Sapphire is the traditional gift for the fifth and forty-fifth wedding anniversaries and the birthstone for September.
Buying a Sapphire:
A Beautiful Blue Sapphire Ring
Overall, sapphires can be considered the ideal colored gemstone. Besides the amazing selection of colors, sapphires are highly durable with a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Sapphires in sizes of more than 1 carat are considered to be important. Minor inclusions are generally acceptable although certainly not as many as with ruby or emerald. Nearly all of the sapphires sold by MySapphireSource are eye clean and most important, all are very pleasing to the eye. We offer a wide range of colors from a traditional Ceylon blue, to rich lustrous royal blue, to many styles with bubble gum and baby pink, orange, and yellow sapphires.
Care of Sapphires:
Since sapphires are tough and durable, they can withstand most cleaning methods. While steaming and ultrasonic cleaning will not damage the gemstone, these methods are not recommended by us as they may loosen the setting, and subsequently, stones may fall out. Your jewelry may be cleaned with a soft-bristled brush or a cloth with plain or soapy water. Sapphires should not be put in hot or boiling hot water since a stress fracture due to thermal shock my result. Avoid exposure to hairspray, perfume and chlorine, which can dull gemstones.
Offered on MySapphireSouce.com
We created this blog to provide those who want to learn about sapphires as much information as possible. Our focus will be on all aspects of sapphire including sapphire properties, mining, treatments, cutting, care and uses (and anything else that we can think of).
We hope that you will find the information interesting and informative. As a company specializing in sapphires, we will also give our readers the inside scoup about the sapphire jewelry industry and what on-going factors affect current sapphire pricing. We have a passion for sapphires and hope that you find learning about what goes into creating a beautiful piece of sapphire as wonderful as we do.