Thursday, September 1, 2011

Blue Sapphire: September's Birthstone

Sapphire is such a beautiful gemstone. While it comes in a wide variety of colors, blue is by far the most beautiful. Sapphire and ruby are both members of the corundum family of gems. The red colors are called rubies, while the others are denoted as sapphires. The differences in colors are due to the inclusion of impurities. Like rubies, sapphires are very hard, are generally low in flaws, except when needle-like inclusions referred to as silk occur. It is the silk which causes the brilliant six-pointed star effect.
The many colors of sapphires.
Some of the largest faceted gemstones in the world are sapphires. The Smithsonian Institute's National Gem Collection has two spectacular sapphires (among its many gems). One is the Logan Sapphire, a nearly 423 carat sapphire in a brooch setting surrounded by diamonds. The other is the Star of Bombay, a huge star sapphire from Sri Lanka.
Logan Sapphire
Star of Bombay Sapphire
One exceptional feature of sapphires is that an expert craftsman can carve these gemstones to create wonderful images and designs. This carved sapphire dates back to around 1900.
Beautifully carved sapphire.
Vintages has several pieces of excellent sapphire jewelry. I especially love these 1920s bar pins and ring set in hand crafted white gold settings and two of which feature calibre cut sapphires, a favorite of the finest jewelry designers of that era.
Edwardian 18K White Gold Sapphire Ring ($995)
Edwardian Sapphire Jewelry: TL to BR: Ring ($995); 18K White Gold Sapphire & Diamond Bar Pin ($395); 14K White Gold Sapphire & Diamond Bar Pin ($325)
These earrings are much earlier, probably 1860s or 1870s.
Victorian 20K Gold Earrings with Sapphires & Pearls ($495)
The ring is circa 1970 and is romantically inscribed Amore-Carol 1970.
14K Gold Ring with a Star Sapphire & two Diamonds ($495)

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