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September - Sapphire

The Details:

The most well-known color is blue, but Sapphires are also beautiful in shades of pink, yellow, and other colors. The most desirable color, if blue, is said to be cornflower blue - an intense color, neither too light nor too dark. Sapphire's name was originally linked to the color blue, and some of the legends surrounding the stone might actually apply to other blue stones such as Lapis Lazuli. But fancy colored Sapphires, the other members of the Corundum family of gemstones, offer a myriad of colors other than Blue. So take the blues out of September with fancy color Sapphires such as green , yellow, orange, pink, purple, violet, brown, black, gray or colorless . The black and gray varieties are most often seen in star sapphires.

The rarest and most valuable collector fancy sapphire is the padparadscha, which is Sinhalese for "lotus flower". This gem is occasionally found in Sri Lanka. A gem padparadscha will range between $5000-$10,000 per carat. Large padparadscha can exceed these prices. Some unscrupulous dealers have been selling some of the new African fancy sapphires as padparadscha. However, these stones have too much orange-brown to be properly labeled as padparadscha.

The second most valuable fancy sapphire is the electric pink. The best of these stones have a pure vibrant color without violet or purple. What makes these stones exceptional is an electric intensity and a tone that pushes it way above a pastel color. Although technically pink sapphires in America, some cultures, such as the Japanese and Europeans, buy and sell these stones as "Burma rubies". Gem pinks sell from $1500-$3000 per carat. Large multi-carat sized pinks can exceed $4000 per carat store cost!

Yellows and golden sapphires are interesting gems usually getting their yellow appearance as a result of heat treatment. Sometimes collectors may find a non-heated stone. These gems are relatively unknown by "the public". Top grade yellow Sapphires should look like a canary diamond-bright, vibrant goldens, and electric orangy yellows. They should not look pastel. Yellow sapphire is available for $750-$1500 TK per carat in two to five carat ranges. Ten carat sized stones can reach $2150 TK per carat.

Sapphires are also discovered purple. Some exceptional purples are found in Africa. They are often described as intense cherry-orchid purple. Exceptional one carat purples range from $1000-$1275 TK per carat. Africa also mines a color change sapphire. They tend to go from a grayish blue in daylight to a cranberry red in incandescent light. These stones are hot collector items. Green sapphire is a relatively abundant stone. The problem is that it usually has black or gray colors which dramatically reduces its value. These gems sell below $ 150 TK per carat. Sapphires have superior durability.

According to Ancient Persians the Earth rested on a giant Sapphire and it was the stone's reflection that colored the sky. To some religions the blue color represents the heavens. It was an ecclesiastical gem, symbolic of purity. To derive the most benefit from this holy stone, therefore, it was necessary to be pure oneself. According to the Bible, sapphires were in the Garden of Eden and something like them will be in the heavenly Eden. It has been a holy stone to the Catholic Church as legend is the Ten Commandments were engraved on Sapphire. Sapphire is identified with chastity, piety, repentance, and it is said that King Solomon wore a Sapphire ring.

Egyptians associated the clear sapphire with the eye of Horas, Greeks identified the white sapphire with Apollo and was used by the oracles at Delphi. The stone was used by the Greeks to stimulate the opening of the third eye and to tap into the subconscious. In the old days, it was used to banish envy and jealousy. Sapphire would keep one's thoughts pure and heavenly and help those in the right find justice in legal matters. The peaceful, heavenly hues of blue stones were often thought to calm the mind, body, and spirit.

Sapphires were used to cure all eye ailments, purify the blood, and fortify the heart. Mixed with milk, this gem dried up ulcers, boils, and pustules. It would also cool fevers, sharpen eyesight, and protect against mental illness. The gemstone was also thought to be a powerful amulet to protect against poisonous creatures and was lethal to venomous insects and reptiles hiding nearby. Wearing a sapphire acted as an antidote against poisoning and if rubbed on a wound would stop bleeding. It was thought to be effective in quelling inflammation of the eyes. Soldiers wore them to prevent capture by the enemy.

Sapphires were believed to have gender: dark stones were designated female, light ones were male. September's birthstone is thought to make its wearers amiable, wise, virtuous, and strong. It also promotes chastity in virgins and insures fidelity in marriage. If given to a mate it would dull if you were ever unfaithful. Clear sapphires, like diamonds, are the guardians of love. When given to one another it enhances love for each other and tunes your psyches to one another.

Perhaps the most important attribute of Sapphire was said to be that of protection against sorcery. It is said to lessen the powers of the cast spells of evil ones or evil spirits. Sapphire was worn as a protection stone and to return any negative vibrations to the producer. It was thought to banish evil spirits and frighten devils. It would turn evil sorcery and negative spells back against the sender, provide advance warning of hidden dangers, and free the mind of the enchanted. If a wicked person wore it, it wouldn't shine and would crack.

The main sapphire-bearing rocks are marble, basalt, or pegmatite, mined mainly from alluvial deposits or deposits formed by weathering. Sapphires rarely are mined from the primary rock. Corundum stones (sapphire and ruby) are gems with the smallest hexagonal unit cells. They resemble boxes with hex ends and rectangle sides. This structure can be seen distinctly then viewed under a gemscope. They have four axes -- three that intersect each other at 60 degree angles, and one perpendicular to the other three. In the spectrascope, sapphire shows iron absorption in a wide band from 450-460 nm, with a fainter band to 470 nnm.

When a sapphire shows asterism, it is called a "star" sapphire. The star is seen in cabochon cut sapphires (rounded, dome-shaped cuts) as several movable arms, or rays of white light, radiating from the center. Black star sapphires are usually cut in a flat cabochon. And they need to be worn with more care than other sapphires to prevent separation between their "twinning" planes. "Twinning" occurs when alternating layers grow in different directions.

Prices of almost all sapphires have increased only slightly since our Tenth Edition Catalog was printed. Kashmir sapphires continue to command the highest prices. But prices of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) sapphires have increased dramatically in the last five years. Also, there has been a significant increase in prices of stones of three carats and larger.

I'll bet you've noticed a sapphire on the market know as Diffused Sapphire. Diffused is not a geographical location like Ceylon, Thailand, or Burma. Diffused is a process where man takes colorless or pale corundum and treats it with elements that give sapphires their blue color. The colorless or pale stones they once were are now beautiful rich blue stones that anyone would love to possess. They even sometimes rival the finest blue Ceylon color. The diffused sapphires are quite durable as long as they are never repolished or recut. The treatment to produce blue is only .25 to .50 millimeter into the stone's surface. Therefore, recutting or repolishing would remove the enhanced color. But it does not make the surface any softer than any other natural sapphire. The prices on these diffused stones are very reasonable, running about 1/6th the price of natural colored sapphire of similar color. Because they are repolished, a small layer of the colored surface is cut away leaving concentrated color zones at the facet junctions. The zoning can be detected by immersing the stones in methylene iodide. Diffused sapphires do have some people in the jewelry trade a little nervous because they can be mistaken for very expensive natural colored sapphires. Fortunately identification of diffused sapphire is fairly easy. Probably the most important enhancement besides that designed to improve color is that used to improve clarity. Controlled heating and cooling can dissolve the slender rutile needles (called silk) right into the crystal structure to improve the clarity.

How to care for Sapphires:
Since sapphires are so hard and durable, they are easy to care for, however it is not recommended to wear a ruby if you are doing any sort of rough work or are using harsh chemicals. Rubies should be stored in a fabric-lined box, away from other pieces of jewelry, as they may scratch other, softer gemstones. When it is time to clean them, you can use soapy water and a brush, or a commercial jewelry cleanser. It is important to rinse the stone thoroughly and dry it, after cleaning it. If you take care of your sapphire, it will stay with you, and retain its beauty for many years to come.

Mohs hardness: 9

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