It is always common hearing people referring to the blue color of sapphire. However, sapphire is actually a gemstone. It is a stunning gem second to diamond and has wide shades of the rainbow colours with exception of red. The red shade of the mineral is called ruby. The blue sapphire is the most popular sapphire gem making its demand higher than any other type.
Sapphire is a mineral known as corundum. It is the second hardest mineral after diamond. It has different shades of colours. The variation of colours is attributed to traces of minerals within the corundum. The pink colour in the pink sapphire, for instance, is due to traces of chromium while the blue colour in the blue sapphire is due to traces of titanium. A combination of other trace elements produces an array of colours. The natural up hazard traces of elements in the sapphire makes the gem to have different refractive indexes. This makes sapphire unique. All forms are dissimilar and rare ones are usually irreplaceable.
Corundum occurs naturally in many countries. However, pure and fine quality of the stone occurs in few countries. Two countries, Madagascar and Sri Lanka have for a long time produced the best quality sapphires in the world. Other major producers of the commercial gemstone are Australia, Kenya, Thailand and Tanzania. It is not easy to get sapphire which has good quality. Exchange of sapphire wedding rings among the royal families is a clear indication the value of these gemstones. Prince Charles engagement ring to Diana and Michael Wilding to Elizabeth Taylor were sapphire rings.
Here are some of the renowned sapphire engagement and weddings of all time.
1. Yellow Sapphire.
Though rare, this is one of the most undervalued types. It is clean, bright and mainly found in Sri Lanka. The yellow sapphire rings are stunning in every lighting condition. Their appearance rivals that of a yellow diamond. In recent times, the popularity of these jewels has been on an upward trend. In fact, they are fast becoming a fertile ground for investment.
2. Orange Sapphire.
According to most gemologists, this gemstone is unique to Australia. Finding pure orange sapphire exceeding 3 carats is very rare.
3. White Sapphire.
This is the only available pure form of sapphire as they do not contain traces of any other mineral. Simply put, they are simply corundum. White sapphire resembles a clean diamond. Interestingly, though, white sapphire rings are less preferred by many couples.
4. Color Shifting Sapphire.
These gemstones have different refractive indexes. They can therefore naturally radiate different colours when subjected to light. The colour variation is only slight and may oscillate from green to yellow, or purple to blue, or red to green. The colour shifting corundum is mainly mined in Tanzania. Colour shifting sapphire rings is rarely considered as collector’s pieces. It is, therefore, difficult to find them in the market. However, if available, most likely, their cost may be extremely high.
5. Padparadscha Sapphire.
Padparadscha sapphire is the rarest. They are in high demand and very popular with many gemstone dealers. Padparadscha has a striking pink to orange colour. The striking features of the gemstone make it one of the most beautiful and difficult to replicate sapphire rings in the market. The mineral occurs naturally only in Sri Lanka.
6. Star Sapphires. Unlike other previous gems, this one is a cut one. Star corundum is held with a lot of esteem as they are believed to have some supernatural powers. They have a star create by an array of internal crystallized like minerals in the corundum. It is possible to the needle-like structures which make up the star when you subject the gem to light. The gemstone is mainly found in Sri Lanka.
Shopping Tips for Sapphire Rings
In order to find a good sapphire ring, you will need to choose from a wide range of synthetic and treated sapphires. Navigating through a maze of colours will make your work even more difficult. To ensure you get an original jewel, you will need to purchase your ring from a vendor who has a clear and stringent refund policy.
The ring will also have to be evaluated by an independently contracted gemologist to ascertain if the ring is genuine. This is particularly important if the stone has not been appraised by a reputable laboratory or do not come with an authentication certificate.
Take a close look at the price of the gemstone. This will give you a hint whether it is a treated or synthetic jewel. The value of a natural stone which has not undergone any enhancement will high. The impact of heat treatment will definitely be minimal. The prices of other enhanced sapphires will be moderate. Note the minimal cost per carat of sapphire. For instance, a quality colour shifting sapphire rings costing more than the usual rate is probably a Beryllium diffused gem.
Do not be in a hurry when shopping for a coloured precious stone ring. Be cautious about of gemstone deals which look too good for the normal market rates. Always engage the services of a reputable gemstone dealer.
After been mined, some dealers usually process the corundum to improve its colour and form. These processes, however, are not necessary as treatment may reduce the overall appearance or form of the gemstone. Before purchasing any sapphire wedding or engagement ring, it is important to assess if the sapphire jewel you intend to purchase is treated. A good gem is the one that has not been heat treated, surface diffused, irradiated, or beryllium treated.