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Sapphire

Localities:

Australia, Cambodia, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand and USA (Montana)

Common Shapes:

Ovals, cushions, pear, emerald cuts & others

Interesting Facts

Long associated with the island of Serendib (Sri Lanka or Ceylon), Sapphires are also found in quantity in Australia, Africa, Cambodia and Burma. While blue is the color most often associated with this gem, Sapphires actually come in a wide range of colors, known collectively as "Fancy Sapphires". Of the fancy colors, Padparadsha attains the highest prices. Padparadsha is a native Sri Lankan phrase, meaning the "lotus blossom" and refers to a specific pink/red-orange color.

Characteristics:

Similar to rubies, Sapphires come in many different shapes and sizes, providing great variety to gemstone lovers. With hardness just below that of diamonds, Sapphires are one of the toughest gemstones, and with no cleavage, breakage rarely occurs. Intense medium dark blue is the most sought after color for Blue Sapphires. Found predominantly in Sri Lanka, Padparadsha is the most sought after Fancy Sapphire. A variety of Yellow and Gold Sapphires are readily available. Green Sapphires are found in Australia and Thailand. Violet Sapphires tend to exhibit color change especially when viewed under daylight. The characteristic five or six-rayed star of Star Sapphires is caused by titanium inclusions within the stone. Star Sapphires come in all shapes, sizes and colors but black Star Sapphires are the most common.

Evaluation:

Blue Sapphires
Intensity, uniformity and purity of color are the most important characteristics when evaluating a Blue Sapphire. Fine Blue Sapphires should not contain any overtones or secondary colors. As the overall beauty of the stone will depend on the cutting, this characteristic must always be taken into consideration. Dark Blue Sapphires will appear black under low light settings, while fine Blue Sapphires will maintain their color in any light.

Fancy Sapphires
For Fancy Sapphires, the wearer's preference is the most important determinant, since these gemstones come in many different shapes, colors and sizes. Again, intensity, uniformity and purity of color are the most important factors. Cutting is also an important evaluation factor.

Star Sapphires
Concentration of color is the most important factor for judging the beauty of these stones. The shape of the star must be sharp and in the center of the stone in order to accentuate the beauty of this unique type of Sapphire. A Star Sapphires' translucency can never be neglected, for greater translucency relates to a higher value.

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