CARAM | Sapphire Guide
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Sapphire Guide

Sapphire Guide

The word sapphire comes from the Greek word sappherios meaning blue. Since ancient times, sapphires have been sought after for their beauty and value. The sapphire gemstone is a variety of the mineral corundum (aluminum oxide).

 

Sapphires were first mined on the island of Sri Lanka. Since then deposits have been found in Burma, Kashmir, Thailand, and Madagascar among others. The most prized sapphires originate in Burma, Sri Lanka and the now exhausted mines of Kashmir, which have become legendary for the soft, velvety blue color of its sapphires.

 

Color
The jewelry industry recognizes the highest quality sapphires by their blue or violet-blue hue, a medium to medium-dark tone, and saturated color. Though they are most frequently found in blue, sapphires come in every color but red. Trace minerals, iron and titanium; give blue sapphire its deep color.

“Royal blue” is one of the most desired colors; an intensely vivid blue. Cornflower blue, just as coveted, it is a clear, softer, deep blue.

 

Clarity
Like all color gemstones, sapphires often contain trace minerals or fractures called inclusions. Flawless sapphires are rare and valuable, and even high-end sapphires are at least lightly included. Since a darker color causes inclusions to appear less obvious, the best value in sapphires are those that are lightly- to moderately-included and have a medium to medium-dark color.

 

Cut
Unlike diamonds, with sapphires you won’t find an “ideal” cut geometrically configured for maximum brilliance. Because inclusions are common in sapphires, we look for sapphires that are cut such that these inclusions do not inhibit the color and luster of a stone.

 

Carat
Carat Sapphires usually occur in sizes up to 5 carats, and yet, it is not unusual to see gemstones in sizes of 10 to 20 carats.

 

Enhancements
A large number of sapphires available today have been enhanced. Some enhancements, such as heating, are an expected part of the polishing process and are accepted by the jewelry industry. Those gemstones that have not been enhanced are very recognizable by the extravagant price they command. We believe in full disclosure of any treatment that a stone has undergone.