Sapphire gemstone properties
So what is the sapphire?
- blue or dark blue gem-quality corundum, the stone of high value, you can say of the highest class. Actually, it can be not only blue. It's just like when it comes to a sapphire, people imagine a bright blue gemstone. The sapphire is characterized by unusual strength and hardness that makes the stone long-lived and resistant to external effects.
The word "sapphire" is likely derived from Babylonian "sipri"-scratching, which indeed can be so, given the hardness of this mineral. In Russia before the 19th century, sapphires were called as "azure yahont". Today, the gem-quality corundum of any color, except the red one -ruby, are called «sapphires».
Physico-chemical properties of Sapphire
- Sapphire is a precious variety of corundum.
- Mineral class: Oxides.
- The formula of a chemically pure corundum - Al2O3.
- Color: Blue, blue, pink, yellow, green, colorless, red-orange, purple.
- The color is determined by the impurities of metals: Titanium, chromium, manganese, ferrum, vanadium.
- The luster: glassy.
- Transparency: From transparent to opaque.
- Refractive index: 1,766-1,774.
- Hardness on the Mohs scale – 9.
- Density-4.0 g/cm.
- Is the mineral fragile?: No.
- Cleavage: none.
- Syngony: trigonal.
- Fracture: conchoidal
The homeland of the best blue sapphires - Kashmir
The color of the qualitative Kashmir Sapphire is just magnificent, it is a perfectly velvet medium blue color. Often, this color is described as "sleepy," emphasized by the milk haze that comes from stone’s cavities filled with liquid, or crystals, so tiny, that it's hard to see them even under a powerful microscope.
It should be noted, however, that not all Kashmir sapphires are really good. The buyer should remember that a gemological certificate confirming that the stone had been extracted in Kashmir is not a guarantee for its high quality. The experts, buying the stone rely on the fact that once you see the true royal blue shade of the Kashmir sapphire, it can no longer be forgotten. The color of other sapphires is graded only in comparison to Kashmir.
Burmese sapphires can also be of great quality: their color is more saturated, going closer to ultramarine blue, and there are qualitative samples of large sizes among them. The Sapphires from Sri Lanka are usually paler, some of them are almost colorless; but the best stones are though closer to the color of the Kashmir stones.
To the expensive jewellery stones relate opaque star sapphires, in which after processing in form of cabochon, you can see the 6-or 12-ray star, sliding on the surface when the stone is rotated. This property (asterism) is caused by the inclusion of thin needles of rutile, which are oriented in certain crystallographic directions, intersecting at an angle of 120 °, or by the presence of hollow tubular tubules passing through the crystal in the same directions.
Another one variety of sapphire's color, that is worthy of a separate title: Padparadscha,Songea, Tunduru.
Padparadscha is a pink-orange sapphire. If the specialists’ assumption is correct, the name of the stone was derived from of Sinhalese -"padma ragaya" ("padma" - lotus, "raga" - color"), the color of the lotus flower. The sages of Ceylon, where this stone was first found, described its color as a middle between the pink color of lotus and the orange color of the Ceylon sunset. While neither yellow nor orange sapphires are Padparadscha. Padparadscha weighing more than two carats, is very rare, above five carats is considered as collectible item, and the largest one among known in the world today is in the historic Museum of New York and its weight is about 100.18 carats. .
Songea Sapphire, like Tunduru, is gorgeous. They got their names according to their mining site in Tanzania. These beautiful gems are diverse in color gamma and at the same time unique. They are mined in stone rocks on rivers or just in the wilderness in a shallow depth. The weight of the sapphires mined in these places rarely exceeds 1.5-2 carats. It's mainly small fragments of crystals, but they're so wonderful. And these are not empty words. The price of treated sapphire from these places is $2,000 or more per carat of excellent quality.
Pink sapphires are also found there. Their size rarely exceeds two carats. Good samples of sapphires of this color can be relatively expensive. Green, yellow, and two-tone sapphires also have their charm and relevant value.
Price – the rule of four "C"
Natural sapphires are extremely rare and expensive. Their and many other transparent gems' price is defined by four main characteristics. In the West, jewellers are well aware of the so-called "four-c rule", named so of the first letters of four terms describing the quality of the precious stone.
The first characteristic is the color. For any gem, as I have mentioned earlier, this is a governing factor. And the color is determined by its origin. The best sapphires are from Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Ceylon.
The second important criterion is clarity. Even the smallest inclusions, sometimes unseen by the naked eye, can reduce the value of the precious stone by an order of magnitude, or even more than that.
The third criterion is cut. There are certain gem cutting techniques, aimed to elicit the beauty of the game of light as much as possible. The perfection of cut can have a significant impact on the price of the stone.
Finally, the last, but more than decisive criterion - the carat weight, the weight or mass, expressed in carats. It is worth to remind that one carat equals 1/5 part of the gram. For example, the brilliant with weight up to 0.3 carats is considered small, up to 1 carats - medium, and above 1 carat - large. Usually the carat weight is measured, including the second decimal place.
Sapphire and its magic properties
The Sapphire is the stone of soul and the fall, it's the indicator of woman's devotion, the symbol of virginity, truthfulness and goodness, purity, conscience, and repentance. This stone-mascot strengthens the informal power of a man over other people, strengthens the spirit and it's a stone of the highest level teachers. In the East countries, it was associated with such excellent human qualities as friendship, humility and unselfishness. In some legends there is a mention of ring with a sapphire which helped to distinguish the truth from a lie.
Especially "strong" are considered those stones, on which surface due to the inclusions of rutile occur three intersecting rays during the cutting. They are associated with great forces- Faith, Hope, Love.
Men, who are wishing to attract the attention of a beloved woman, gave them a drink from the cups, «energized» by the power of Sapphire. Sapphire keeps and enhances bravery, uplift the heart, please the emotion and strengthen muscles and nerves. It's a mascot if wise people, it awakens a thirst for knowledge.
Healing Properties of Sapphire
The natural sapphire is a remedy for heart diseases (weakness of the heart, rheumatic heart disease, inflammation of pericardium) and women's diseases, asthma and leprosy, furuncles, and other types of «evil» skin diseases. It cures kidney diseases, bladder and urinary tracts diseases, and helps to discharge and dissolve kidney stones. It helps in the treatment of diabetes, headaches, inflammations of joints and middle ear, in сase of paralysis after a stroke and chronic digression, has a positive influence on eczema and other skin diseases and epilepsy. ии.
The Natural sapphire strengthen the eyesight, clears the eyes, break the blood stains in them, heal the wounds, plague and rabies, provides calming effect, rescue in case of thirst, fever, and especially melancholy.
A ring or bracelet with the sapphire on the left hand can help with asthma, heart and nerve diseases. It was believed that these marvelous stones could cure leprosy and other "evil" skin diseases. The water, where the sapphires were held, helps to treat eye diseases.
Sapphire for Zodiac signs
Sapphire ornaments are recommended for people born under the sign of Aquarius, Sagittarius. For Capricorn this gem is contraindicated. The planet of sapphire is Jupiter.