Blue Sapphire Education
Sapphires are among the most frequently used gemstones in fine jewelry – next to diamonds!
We are going to break down what makes up a sapphires, and all the differences between a diamond below!
What is a Sapphire?
The official birthstone of September, a sapphire is a mineral comprised of aluminum and oxygen formed within the Earth’s crust under high pressure. They are mined in alluvial deposits around the world, but the prettiest and most valuable sapphires are most commonly found in countries like Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia & Myanmar.
Corundum, the scientific name for Sapphires, is rated 9 on the Mohs’ Scale of Hardness, just one notch below diamonds which are rated 10 in hardness on the same scale.
What Determines Its Color?
Trace elements of atomic particles like chromium or iron can cause the corundum to appear in different colors. The formation of corundum with chromium and iron as neighboring deposits is what gives corundum its red color – or what you’re likely familiar with as a Ruby. That’s right, a Ruby is actually a red colored sapphires!
Elements such as iron and titanium cause the mineral to have a blue color!The more trace elements within the mineral, the richer the color. Below is a table of common sapphire colors as well as the specific atomic elements which influence the color.
PRO TIP: Go with your personal preference on color of a sapphire as “popular” colors like Ruby (red corundum) are more expensive and not worth extra if you don’t like the color as much!
How Is It Graded?
You may be familiar with the 4 C’s of diamonds, but wondering what’s the grading system, for a sapphire? The color of a sapphire is measured by its hue, saturation and tone (vivid, strong, medium, slight) which refer to the richness and shade of color if a sapphire.
PRO TIP: Look for semi transparency within the stone which can allow light to flow through and color to illuminate.
Similar to diamonds, Sapphires are also graded by how they are cut from the raw mineral deposit. Sapphires can be hand cut (most valuable) or machine cut (more affordable).
Just like a diamond, gemstone’s such as corundum entrap pieces of the Earth’s mantle and sentiments within its formation. Although clarity is not as important in corundum, it does play a factor in selection.
PRO TIP: Unlike diamonds, inclusions are less visible in a colored stone, don’t shop for the vanity of a high clarity stone if inclusions aren’t visible and won’t detract from daily wear.
Sapphires, unlike diamonds, are commonly treated in order to maximize the color or clarity. The most common treatment type is Heat Treatment, which uses heat to permanently enhance or lighten the color of the corundum. There are also treatments such as fracture filling which infuses a cobalt rich form of glass into cracks of a lower quality gemstone to improve its overall look, but this is not a permanent treatment.
PRO TIP: Treatments like fracture filled corundum can cause many issues when cleaning, as heat used during cleaning can cause the treatments to loosen.
Our Selection of Blue Sapphires
The My Trio Rings Sapphire Collection is comprised of round, pear and emerald shaped sapphires set in white, yellow or rose gold. Our sapphires are heat treated, ensuring a high level of quality through normal wear and maintenance. Our designers recommend blue-blueish green hues which balance rich tones with an affordable price for couples on a conscious budget!
How Is A Blue Sapphire Valued?
Ruby (red) and blue sapphires are the most sought-after varieties and are therefore considered more valuable and therefore more expensive. Secondary to color is location from which it as sourced, as some regions are known to produce lesser but finer quality sapphires. Stones can be naturally formed or treated to lighten or intensify their color and this will impact the end value of the stone. This combined with the fact that synthetic gemstone variations have been available long before the modern-day synthetic diamond rush, it’s important to affirm the gemstone is of natural origin before purchase.