- If you know your gemstones, you know that sapphire is a form of corundum – a mineral family which also includes the rarest precious gem, the ruby. Along with the emerald, these gems make up the “Big Three” of cardinal gemstones.
- One of the most highly sought-after colors is the exotic Padparascha sapphire, which in its natural pinkish-orange color is one of the rarest gems on earth. It takes its name from an Oriental lotus blossom.
- Star sapphires are formed when needle-like formations of titanium dioxide inside the sapphire reflect light through the dome of a cabochon-cut gem. This phenomenon is called asterism.
- Star sapphires have six rays. One rare variety has twelve rays. Occasionally, a sapphire is discovered with a golden star.
- The largest gem sapphire in the world is the “Black Star of Queensland,” discovered in Australia in the 1930s. Its finished weight is 733 carats. It was once exhibited in the Smithsonian alongside the infamous Hope Diamond.
- Some sapphires have been known to change color, a property more often associated with the birthstone alexandrite.
- There is a story that one of these specimens, known as the “Saphire Merveilleux,” was used in medieval Europe during infidelity trials. The accused woman who had to wear the stone was at the mercy of the person who knew how the light source affected the color change.
- Since sapphires have been connected with truth, fidelity, and chastity, it was once considered the ideal gem for engagement rings.
- Kate Middleton’s sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to Princess Diana has been called the world’s most famous sapphire. This design harks back to the day when sapphires were the wedding gem of choice.
- Sapphires have an especially renowned folklore. They have been among the most prized gems since ancient times with strong associations of faith, enlightenment, and the divine. They represent eternity, loyalty, wisdom, and the ability of the soul to transcend.
Image: GIA Sapphire Education
Birthstone of the Month: Sapphire