Kind of like a big-time celebrity who is notoriously private out of the public eye, Sapphire is one of those stones that absolutely everyone has heard about, but no one really knows anything about. “They’re the blue one’s, yeah?” Obviously not private in a Kardashian way, more like a Beyoncé situation. Yes, I just compared sapphires to Beyoncé; perhaps Kate (the Duchess of Cambridge) is more appropriate Bey is an Emerald girl after all.
More commonly known as the blue variety of Corundum (AI2O3), Sapphire can in fact be almost any colour of the rainbow (including a rare colour-change Sapphire), a little-known fact that is always received with widened eyes of surprise. Having said that, the red variety of Corundum is known as Ruby, the other much loved and adorned celebrity gem and this is yet another nugget of information most are unaware of. Yep, Ruby and Sapphire are like totally related!
In its purest state Corundum is colourless and owes its varying hues to traces of metallic oxides Fe (iron), Ti (titanium) and Cr (chromium). Fine velvety blue is the most sought after, with golden yellow and pink becoming increasingly popular. Other colours are, but not limited to, pale blue, blackish or greenish blues, purple-violet, green, brown, black and the rare pink/orange ‘Padparadscha’ Sapphires from Sri Lanka. Parti-coloured stones (a mix of two or three colours) can present a unique and interesting gem and are quite common in Australia, Madagascar and Tanzania.
The Corundum group is undoubtedly the most popular coloured gemstone for fine jewellery, favoured not only because of the vibrant and delicate shades, high lustre and excellent brilliance when faceted but also because of its 9 ranking on MOHs scale of hardness, just under Diamond at #10. Our Ruby and Sapphire crystal jewellery is beautiful and durable.
Belonging to the trigonal crystal system, crystals present a hexagonal pyramid form or a bipyramid form with horizontal striations (similar to that of Quartz). Colour is often patchy and uneven and the core of the crystal may be colourless or an entirely different colour.
Straight and angular colour banding is common in natural stones parallel to prism, pyramid or basal pinacoid faces.
Synthetics, treatments and imitations are extremely common for Sapphires and so finding a completely natural, unadulterated, high grade Sapphire over 5 carats in size is extremely rare. Extremely. Fine needles of Rutile (referred to as silk) are a very common inclusion and when paired with straight or angular colour bands can be diagnostic of a natural stone. As I’ve said before, not all inclusions are ‘bad’ – they’re something to be celebrated in our unique crystal jewellery pieces and we should learn to love and appreciate (particularly since sources are not as abundant as they once were and this may be our only hope for survival). When it comes to Sapphires, clarity is the end game and what is most desirable, but that’d not to say beauty cannot be found in the stones that lack transparency.
Bunny Bedi, owner and designer at Made in Earth, has discovered hidden talent in some of the more ‘c-grade’ celebs.
“We aim to keep our prices within a certain range, this range doesn’t accommodate for fine gem quality Sapphires. It does, however, have room for some stunning Sri Lankan stones. Although they lack some of the transparency, they do exhibit excellent colour and lustre from their rose cut surface,” he says. “Added to this, some of the parti-coloured gems with blends of green-orange, blue-red and brown-yellow and can have quite beautiful silk running through the stone showing chatoyancy when light is reflected from beneath the surface”.
Heat treatment to remove silk inclusions is common practice with the end gem achieving a higher clarity and in turn a more vibrant colour. At the end of the spectrum, Sapphires dense with silk inclusions (in 3 directions orientated at 120 degrees to each other) can produce a 6-pointed star known as an asterism. These ‘Star Sapphires’, with a clear sharp star as well as a fine blue body colour, are rare and valuable stones.
Internationally known best-selling author of the Love Is in The Earth Series, Melody holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Art degree in Mathematics. Made in Earth’s Melody Collection contains jewels set with crystals from Melody’s personal collection that she has obtained on her journeys around the world.
Bunny was excited to obtain her crystals as they capture rare and unusual specimens. “Natural blue sapphire crystals from Madagascar are a part of this range. Although they lack clarity they have excellent hexagonal prism forms. It’s nice to be able to offer our clients something unique in an otherwise common gemstone.”
You could literally write a book on Sapphires (in fact I think it has already been done) but what is important to know is that Sapphires will surprise you at every turn. Notoriously private away from their blue, clear and sparkly persona, it’s all the other colours, forms and features that make Sapphire a truly remarkable mineral. As with any gem, embrace the unusual and find the beauty in the unknown. Our Sapphire crystal jewellery collection has it all. Amazing coloured rings, pendants, earrings, and bracelets with amazing clarity in varying cuts and sizes.