Total Pageviews

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Year of the Sapphire II

Blue stone ring with white stones on the sides, looping wires
Custom Blue Sapphire and Diamond Ring

Sapphire and ruby are members of the corundum family.  Corundum is an aluminum oxide.  Color is caused by the presence of chromium oxide in ruby (and pink sapphire), titanium and iron oxide in blue sapphire, iron oxide in yellow sapphire, chromium and iron oxide in orange sapphire, iron and titanium oxide in green sapphire and chromium, titanium and iron oxide in purple sapphire crystals.  As with many gem materials, corundum itself occurs fairly commonly, but in the transparent or translucent form it is extremely rare. 

It's quite a color range you get out of the material.  In fact it also comes in black but that is only seen in star sapphires.  Star sapphires are often opaque so the colors will read differently in them sometimes.

But it's really pretty amazing to think about all of the colors that corundum comes in.  Personally I have always preferred purple sapphires.  Maybe it's just that I like the color purple or that I have always liked things that are different, but I have always found them to be more appealing that blue sapphires.  Although, as with all gemstones, that depends on the quality of the individual stone.  I'm not going to think a muddy looking purple sapphire is prettier than a fine rich blue sapphire (like the one in the picture above).  But I think I would always rather have a really fine purple stone than a really fine blue one.  And as it happens, they tend to be less expensive too.  Well at least they used to be.  When I first opened my store more than 30 years ago, purple sapphires used to be much, much less expensive than blue sapphires.  Most of that was because of the demand for blue sapphires, not because of the rarity.  Purples were actually much harder to come by, but all the public knew about in those days was blue sapphire.  Most people had never even heard about purple sapphire, no matter actually seen one.  But I'm happy to say I educated an awful lot of people about them and today, thanks to efforts by similar like minded jewelers, it's actually fairly common knowledge that sapphire occurs in a wide variety of colors.  And, unfortunately, pricing has gone up on them significantly with that widespread acceptance. 

My next article will discuss orange and padparadscha sapphires a bit.  I love oranges too!

The stone in the ring above is a .88 ct. heated blue sapphire. 

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Year of the Sapphire

Magnificent blue sapphire in custom ring
I've decided that this is the year of the sapphire, at least in my life, and I'm going to be focusing a lot more on sapphires.  Actually, I'm going to include rubies too because ruby and sapphire are both corundum so they're related by everything except color. 

I'm running a picture here that I also ran in my last blog article because I do want to talk a bit about this particular stone.   It wasn't huge (under a carat) but it was just a stunning stone.  All too often people are focused on how big gemstones are but I can assure you that there is an absolutely huge number of very, very ugly large sapphires out there. I personally love sapphires because of the range of colors they are available in, their durability and because of how stunning some of them can be if you're willing to look around for them a little bit.  The sapphire in this ring was one of a group I got in for a customer to look at to pick out a stone for an engagement ring.  Fortunately for me, he didn't pick the one in the picture. I immediately fell in love with the stone because of the fact that it was a little lighter than most of the commercially sold stones and because of that it had a wonderful sparkle to it.  Darker stones can have beautiful color but often they are so dark that you just don't get much sparkle in them (something that happens in most colored stones).  I told my dealers that I wanted to keep that stone as well as the one the customer bought and, sure enough, within a week or so one of my great customers came in and picked it out for a ring for herself.  It was fortunate that she has a fascination for high quality gems, has a great eye, and has bought a lot of great beauties from me over the years. 

This was a heated sapphire, which is a little uncommon for a sapphire in this tone (heating tends to darken stones) but as I have always said, you should buy a stone you love, not one that falls into some particular category.   If you want to read more about heat treatment in gemstones click on my blog directory link to your right and look for the section on gemstone treatments.  I will be getting back into the topic in future articles this year but for now you can get some answers to your questions about gemstone treatments there. 

In my next article I think I'll talk about all the wonderful colors that sapphires come in. 

Please remember to follow me on Instagram.   Pictures are uploaded at least a few times every week.