Sapphire Stone Guide
The word sapphire comes from the Greek word sappherios meaning blue. Since ancient times, sapphire has been sought after for its beauty and value. The stone 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 stone.
Unlike diamonds, with sapphire stone you won’t find an “ideal” cut geometrically configured for maximum brilliance. Because inclusions are common in sapphire stone, we look for sapphires that are cut such that these inclusions do not inhibit the color and luster of a stone.
The fine jewelry industry recognizes the highest quality sapphire stone by their blue or violet-blue hue, a medium to medium-dark tone, and saturated color. Though they are most frequently found in blue, a pink sapphire, yellow sapphire, padparadscha sapphire and teal sapphire are also common and sought after. Sapphires come in every color but red. Trace minerals, iron and titanium; give blue sapphire its deep color. “Royal blue sapphire” is one of the most desired colors; an intensely vivid blue. Cornflower blue, just as coveted, is a clear, softer, deep blue.
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 sapphire stone is those that are lightly- to moderately-included and have a medium to medium-dark color.
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.
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 fine 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.
Our expertise, fine craftsmanship and superior service make buying at Caram a special experience. Our goal is to guide you through the variety of choices available to you and to help you to find the product that fits your needs.