Learn About Loose Sapphire Gemstones
Sapphire Gemstone Properties
Sapphire loose gemstones, the birthstone for September come in a wonderful array of colors. Colors other than blue, like pink, purple, yellow golden, orange, padparadscha among others are considered “fancy” colored sapphires. Because sapphire gemstones come in so many colors and are durable, they are the gemstone of choice for gemstone ring designers and jewelry makers. Sapphire gemstones are one of the “big three” of the precious gemstone family along with emerald and ruby . Like its corundum cousin ruby, sapphires also possess wonderful physical characteristics like durability, no cleavage and extreme hardness (9 on Mohs scale). This durability and hardness are one reason that it is the most popular choice after a diamond for an engagement ring. Pure corundum is white in color. Presence of very small traces of iron is responsible for the coloring of a sapphire. Some corundum’s also have presence of chromium which is responsible for the red color of a ruby gemstone. Sapphires can also be blessed with the unique characteristic of asterism caused by the presence of minute quantities of rutile inclusions. These rutile inclusions reflect light back in the form of a six rayed star that glides across the surface of the gemstone.
Sapphire Gemstone History and Lore
The word sapphire is derived from the Latin word " sapphirus", meaning blue. The history of sapphire dates back to the seventh century B.C. The oldest sapphire mines are in Sri Lanka. Indeed Marco Polo described sapphires in his thirteenth century book detailing his visit to the island of Serendib (Sri Lanka). In medieval times, blue sapphire was much sought after by European royalty. In ancient times it was believed to ward off harm and envy as well as to make stupid men wise and ill tempered men good tempered! One of the most famous sapphire deposits in located in Kashmir. This deposit dates from the 1800’s and produced magnificent sapphires of a very intense pure blue color that is intensified by the presence of very fine silky inclusions.
Sapphire Gemstone Sources and Occurrences
The largest sapphire source in the world is Australia. In 1987 about 75% of the world's supply came from there. Thailand is the next largest producer of gem quality sapphires. In the 1990’s a huge deposit of fine quality blue sapphire and fancy sapphires was discovered on the island nation of Madagascar. This deposit is still being mined and numerous other deposits have been discovered all over the island. The most valuable gems come from Sri Lanka, Burma and Kashmir, although the Kashmir production is almost non existent. Sri Lanka has been mining for sapphires since before the time of Buddha. Another major source of sapphires is the Yogo Gulch deposit in Montana. Other important high quality sources recently discovered are Burma and Tanzania.
Sapphire Gemstone Evaluation and Valuation
The most important considerations for the evaluation and valuation of a sapphire, both blue and fancy color is color, size, quality of the cutting and clarity. Sapphire gemstones, along with Ruby gemstones also are valued by the source of origin. A Burma or Kashmir sapphire gemstone will have a higher value than a Sri Lankan sapphire of equal quality. Source can be determined by gemological tests so this has become an important criterion in valuation of very fine, larger gem sapphires. The treatment of sapphires also plays an important factor. Natural, untreated sapphire gemstones will have a higher valuation than a similar quality heat treated sapphire as they are much rarer. Color is of course the most important consideration when buying a loose sapphire. If the sapphire appears dark in low light conditions or appears lifeless and dull, its value will be greatly diminished. Find a reputable gemstone dealer in your area or online that has the knowledge and trained eye for color experience to know what if a sapphire worthy of your money. When buying a loose sapphire gemstone, only buy from someone who offers an unconditional 100% guarantee for any gemstone they sell. In the case of online gemstone dealers only purchase from someone who offers a trusted certificate with the gemstone, offers free shipping and in the case the stone must be returned, covers all shipping, insurance and return costs which can be very costly.