The top five questions people have about sapphires
What you need to know about sapphires
Sapphires are an incredible gemstone, having been used in fine jewellery for over 2,000 years. These dynamic stones are durable, everlasting, and come in every colour of the rainbow.
We think sapphires make ideal gemstones to use in an engagement ring due to their high sparkle, rich colour, and ability to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use. From Princess Diana’s world famous ring, to everyday designs that dazzle, sapphires deliver time and time again.
To get you familiar with these colourful stones, below we answer the top five questions people ask our gemstone specialists about sapphires.
1. Why is a sapphire the birthstone for September?
For decades sapphires have been recognised as September’s birthstone. Many hold that a blue sapphire is the official birthstone of September, however any colour of sapphire can be used to celebrate those born in this early autumn month.
As a birthstone, sapphires represent wisdom and learning, as well as romantic connection. In some folklore history sapphires were known as the ‘traveller’s protector’, to be worn as a talisman of guidance for those on a journey.
2. What’s special about a sapphire?
Unlike diamonds which are known for their fire and scintillation, sapphires are known for their variety of colours. It’s the wide variety of bright and nuanced tones that make this gemstone truly special.
Sapphires are made deep within the ground when various elements and minerals are compressed by the pressure of the earth’s crust. The colour of a sapphire is determined by subtle variations in the amount of each element found in and around the gemstone.
For example, a yellow sapphire is caused by high amounts of iron within the stone. More iron than titanium will create a green corundum stone, while more titanium than iron will give a sapphire a blue shade.
3. Are sapphires expensive?
Sapphires usually come at a much lower price point per carat than diamonds. Of course there are exceptions for sapphires of extremely high quality, but in general you can get a sapphire for less than a diamond. That being said, sapphires are one of the most prized precious gemstones and as such they’re a substantial investment.
Their cost partly comes from their rarity and the labour it takes to source them, but also because of their hardness. Sapphires score a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, making them second only to diamonds in terms of durability. Their hardness also gives them a high reflective index, meaning they have a dazzling sparkle.
4. What colour sapphire is most valuable?
Of all the sapphire types, Kashmir and Ceylon blue sapphires are amongst the most coveted. These are seen as the ideal royal blue that’s classically associated with sapphires, which is why they come at a premium price point.
But while Kashmir and Ceylon blue sapphires are rare (given that they’re only found in the geographical locations they’re named after), the Padparadscha sapphire is the rarest sapphire in the world. This type of sapphire is a delicate orange-pink colour that glows with warm sunset tones. Padparadscha translates to ‘tropical lotus flower’ in Sanskrit, reflecting its striking colour.
5. Where do sapphires come from?
Sapphires can be found all around the world, from Australia to Thailand to the United States. At Taylor & Hart, we primarily source our sapphires from the Ratnapura region of Sri Lanka. Our in-house gemstone buyer, Maneesha, is located in Ratnapura and she works alongside local miners and traders each day to find the best sapphires the region has to offer.
In Sanskrit, Ratnapura literally translates into ‘City of Gems‘. The sapphires mined in Ratnapura are amongst some of the most beautiful gemstones I’ve ever seen. And we still use traditional mining methods in this region that are less reliant on mass production infrastructure, making it known for its sustainability.