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What is Sapphire?

By J.Gunsch
Updated May 21, 2024
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Sapphire is a precious stone or gem that is a form of corundum, a hard mineral of aluminum oxide. Sapphire is prized for its translucent beauty. It is the focal point of many pieces of fine jewelry. Sapphires can be set in pendants, rings, earrings, brooches and tiaras.

Sapphire is usually thought of as a deep blue gem. However, sapphire is found in many different shades of blue, as well as many other colors. Sapphires that are any color other than blue are called fancy sapphires. Fancy sapphires can be orange, yellow, green, pink, or purple. Red sapphires are called rubies.

A very unusual type of sapphire is called the star sapphire. Star sapphires produce the appearance of a six point star that is the result of tiny crystal inclusions in the stone. The symmetry and balance of the star, along with the shade and translucence of the stone, make for a more perfect star sapphire. Star sapphires are very valuable because of their rarity.

Sapphires are found buried in the continents of Africa, Asia, Australia and South America. Growing in hard crystal clusters, they are laboriously mined and than turned over to a cutter. Sapphires are second only to diamonds in their hardness, which makes them easy to care for and virtually indestructible.

A skilled cutter gives sapphires their individual shapes and meticulously works to bring out their optimum reflective potential through the cut. Before a sapphire reaches the hands of a cutter, it hardly resembles the end product that we see and prize. A sapphire in the raw appears cloudy or solid, dull and common.

Sapphires are a favorite choice for engagement rings because of the emotions associated with them. Sapphire is symbolic of love, permanence, loyalty and trust. Sapphire is also the birthstone for those born in September, which provides even more sentiment to an already beautiful piece of jewelry.

Sapphires are also thought to have healing properties. They are used to heal or relieve arthritis, swelling and painful conditions that affect the joints and muscles. Sapphires are also thought to ease mental illnesses and abdominal discomforts.

Throughout history, sapphires have been used to enhance physic powers, and to assist in clairvoyance and the ability to move objects with the mind. They were also believed to promote telepathic powers, the ability to communicate through thought. This might explain why sapphire is a favorite among lovers!

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Discussion Comments

By anon177887 — On May 19, 2011

Were black sapphires used in the making of buttons and where can I find pics of these buttons?

By anon162443 — On Mar 23, 2011

To anon36491: About Montana and the United States. There is no true mining of sapphires here. Thus it is not included.

By anon128932 — On Nov 21, 2010

I bought a set of earrings and a ring which cost me a $1,096. The jeweler said it's a diamond although I don't even know how to look and differentiate between a diamond from a white sapphire. By the way, the stones are small and it is on a white gold. Is there any possible means where I can say that the jewelry I bought was a real diamond or white sapphire?

By anon36491 — On Jul 13, 2009

Why is North America not included in the list of continents where sapphires are found? I live in the US, in Montana, where there are many local areas where sapphires are found.

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