We have talked generically about the corundum and examined the ruby and its characteristics in detail. Now let’s discover the magic of the sapphire.
The most valuable and rarest sapphires in the world are from Kashmir. Trace elements of iron and titanium give them a beautiful cornflower blue colour.
In ancient times, due to its appearance similar to a clear blue sky, the sapphire symbolised divine justice and hope.
In Christianity, sapphires were considered to facilitate prayer, and the most beautiful colours were compared to the blue cloak of the Virgin Mary.
During the Middle Ages, it was believed that a sapphire worn by an impure person would fade, so it was used as an engagement ring to test the fidelity of wives while their husbands were away fighting in wars and crusades.
Instead, Buddhist tradition thought the sapphire helped to achieve “non-attachment” from material things of worldly life.
The sapphire, along with the various shades of the corundum, is more prevalent than the ruby since the colouring elements that characterise it are much more present in nature than chromium, which is responsible for the ruby’s red colour. In fact, the purple comes from vanadium, the yellow and green contain trivalent iron, while the shades of orange are due to the presence of chromium, iron and vanadium. Pink is given by a slight presence of chromium.
Among the coloured corundum, there is the Padparascia which is Senegalese for “lotus flower.” This corundum has a deep yellow-orange colour.
Like the ruby, internal inclusions sometimes create special effects on the surface of the gemstone. The most remarkable effect is given by small needle-like inclusions that create glittering or a six-point star that produces the star ruby and star sapphire.
The largest blue star sapphire is the 536-carat“Star of India” preserved at the American Museum of Natural History of New York.
Other famous sapphires are found in the British crown jewels: the St. Edwards and Stuart.
But perhaps the most famous sapphire is “The Panther” weighing 152.35 carats consisting of a panther in platinum with diamonds and sapphires created by Cartier in 1949. It once belonged to the Duchess of Windsor.