Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Apple #99: Sapphires


I was given a sapphire recently. I had thought that all sapphires are a deep blue color, but it turns out they come in all sorts of colors. The one I have is a lilac purple, and it's very sparkly and pretty and I like looking at it. The jeweler said it came from Montana.
  • Sapphires are made of a material called corundum, or aluminum oxide. This substance is what makes sapphires very hard stones. They are the second-hardest mineral that exists, behind diamonds.
  • Sapphires have additional trace elements, such as iron or chrome, which turn the otherwise white crystals various colors, including blue, green, yellow, orange, purple, pink, or red.
  • Red sapphires are better known as rubies.
  • The word "corundum" comes from the Sanskrit word kurivinda, which means "ruby."
  • Non-blue sapphires (except for the red ones) are referred to as "fancy" sapphires.
  • One of the fancy colors that people get especially excited about is orange with pinkish undertones. This color has been named padparadsha, which means "lotus flower," and it is very rare.
  • The oldest sapphire mines are in Sri Lanka. Today, sapphires are mined in India, several areas in the Middle East, Southeast Asia including Burma and Sri Lanka, Australia, Brazil, and in the US in Montana and North Carolina.
  • Sapphires were first found in Montana in 1865. Several commercial sapphire mines operated in Montana in the past, but most have ceased operating for one reason or another. Now most sapphire mining in Montana is done by individual hobbyists. (The jeweler said my particular sapphire was found by a guy named Skip who likes to look for sapphires.)
  • Most sapphires from Montana tend to be grayish-lavender or bluish-gray, but as the picture below indicates, other colors of sapphires can also be found in Montana.
  • No matter where they come from or what color they are, sapphires are thought to symbolize faithfulness and loyalty. "Fancy" sapphires are considered to express individualism as well as the loyalty.

These are all sapphires from Montana. They or sapphires like them are available at JS Sapphire Jewelry Store.

This is your last chance to cast your vote for your favorite apples!

US Geological Survey, Gemstones, Sapphires
Amethyst Galleries, Minerals, The Mineral Corundum
Mineral Data, Corundum
Google, eHow, How to Choose High-Quality Sapphires
International Colored Gemstone Association, Sapphire and Sapphires: Beautiful Beyond Blue

1 comment:

  1. What a lovely photo of the sapphires. Your Apple Corps, however, wants to see YOUR sapphire.


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