Sapphire is the birthstone of September, and in its many colors is fashioned into timeless pieces of many styles. It is either faceted or cut “in cabochon” (dome-shape) to wear in rings, pendants, earrings and pins. It may be linked between expanses of chain for wrist or neckwear. Sapphires are set into the simplest of designs as well as the most elegant of pieces.
The finest Sapphire color is rich, velvety cornflower blue, but it also occurs in tones ranging from very light to dark and colors ranging from violetish-blue, bluish-green, yellow, slightly reddish-orange, brown, nearly opaque black, colorless, pink, violet and pinkish-orange. Corundum (Sapphire’s mineral name) occurs in red, but this is what we know as ruby. A particularly lovely pinkish-orange is referred to as “Padparadscha” which is taken from the Sinhales for “lotus-colored.” Although Sapphire is found in many colors, these are not all commercially available at any given time. Some are rare collectors’ items.
Fine, needle-like inclusions are what give Sapphires their velvety quality. When these inclusions are numerous enough to make the stone translucent or opaque and are oriented properly, they allow light to be reflected in such a way that a star floats across the surface of the stone with movement. When a cutter recognizes this potential in a piece of rough Sapphire, he will cut it in a dome carbochon shape. Stars are not visible in faceted stones.
Methods have evolved over the centuries to enhance the purest hues of Sapphire. This is often achieved by controlled heating of the gemstones to improve their clarity and color. Heating Sapphires is a permanent enhancement, as lasting as the gems themselves.