Fascinatingly beautiful and exotic, sapphire has been held in high esteem since the ancient times. The rich color and breathtaking brilliance of this gemstone make it a popular choice among contemporary jewelry designers as well. A ravishing alternative to diamonds, sapphires come in every color of the rainbow – right from deep blues to pretty pinks. This alluring gemstone derives its name from the Greek word sappheiros, which was probably used to refer to lapis lazuli.
Sapphire is a gemstone variety of a class of minerals called corundum. This magical gemstone is a combination of aluminum and oxygen. It has a structure similar to that of a ruby, the only difference being the color. With a Mohs rating of 9, this stone is the second hardest substance on the earth. Sapphire’s incredible hardness, rich color, durability and luster have made it one of the most coveted stones in the world.
While blue is the most sought after color, sapphire is also available in several other hues such as purple, green, pink, yellow and black. Non-blue sapphire stones are popularly referred to as fancy sapphire stones. Padparadscha sapphire, with an orange-pink hue, is an extremely rare colored variety of sapphire that was originally found in Sri Lanka.
Burma, Kashmir, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Cambodia, China, Columbia and the US are some of the well-known sources of sapphires. Those sourced from Burma and Kashmir are the most popular varieties. These stones are known their hue, saturation and superior clarity. Rare and strikingly beautiful Kanchanaburi alluvial-mined sapphires from Thailand are used in high-end sapphire jewelry. Sri Lanka is considered to be the producer of the largest sapphires in the world. Featuring a dark blue hue, sapphires sourced from New South Wales and Queensland in Australia are well liked. Since the year 1996, sapphires of superior quality have been recovered from the basaltic rocks in Madagascar, Africa.