SAPPHIRE: The September Birthstone | Boca Raton, FL
Sapphires | Boca Raton, FL
The Birthstone of September
"The sapphire... is a concentration of azure." - Charles Blanc
When it comes to blue gemstones, sapphire is simply unbeatable. At Devon's Diamonds & Decor in Boca Raton, we carry a large variety of sapphire jewelry.
Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September. It is a gem that has been cherished for thousands of years. “Sapphire” comes from the Greek word sappheiros, which means blue stone. Although the term sapphire usually refers to the blue variety (which is the most popular) of corundum (ruby is the red variety). In addition to being the September birthstone, sapphire is also the gem commemorating the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.
Sapphire is the blue variety of the mineral Corundum. It is one of the "Big 3" of jewelry gemstones—the other two being emerald and ruby. Sapphire is a durable stone that is best known as a blue gem, but is also available in most colors. Sapphires are the second hardest mineral known to man, rating 9 on the Mohs scale (diamonds are a 10). Its exceptional hardness and toughness makes them superior gemstones, especially when made with jewelry.
Today a great deal of high quality sapphires are mined from the island of SriLanka, once known to be Ceylon. Ceylon sapphires have exceptional qualities such as unflawed hues, immaculate transparency and they come in desirable sizes. Other common places to find sapphires include Burma, Australia, Thailand, Western Cambodia, China, and Nigeria. They are also found right here in the United States, with Montana's sapphires being one of the most prized. Montana was actually the first place in the United States to discover gem-quality sapphires. They were discovered in 1865 by early gold prospectors mining the Missouri river.
Sapphire and the 4 C's
Color: This is the most important quality factor when it comes to grading a sapphire. The most highly valued blue sapphires are velvety blue to violetish blue, in medium to medium dark tones. While most people are familiar with the blue variant of sapphires, they do come in almost every color. The only color corundum stone that the term sapphire is not used for is red, which is considered a ruby. The other colors for sapphire are yellow, purple, orange, and green. Each color has its own quality variations. Preferred sapphires have strong to vivid color saturation, regardless of hue.
Cut: This is one of the most important factors in appearance. Like diamonds, sapphires are cut in the same shape styles. In terms of grading the cut of a sapphire, there is a lack of standardization because each stone is cut to maximize it’s color. To achieve the best overall color, maintain the best proportions, and retain the most weight possible, cutters focus on factors like color zoning, pleochroism, and the lightness or darkness of a stone.
Clarity: This refers to the inclusions. Unlike diamonds, where the clarity is graded based on their clarity at 10x magnification, sapphires are looked at based on their visual appearance. Sapphires typically have some inclusions but if they have extremely high clarity, they will be rare and very valuable. The price can drop if the inclusions threaten the stone’s durability.
Carat Weight: This allows for precise measurements. Sapphires tend to be heavier than diamonds. Therefore a 1 carat diamond is going to appear bigger than a 1 carat sapphire. Sapphires can range in size anywhere from a few points to hundreds of carats. Most commercial-quality blue sapphires weigh less than 5 carats.
Sapphire Treatments & Cleaning
Most sapphires today are heated, which is the most common treatment for the stone. Sapphires are heated for several hours before they are cut. Unheated sapphires that are a rich blue can command enormous prices in today’s market. Warm, soapy water is always a safe choice for cleaning the September birthstone. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe for untreated and heat-treated sapphires.
5 of the World's Most Famous Sapphires
The Star of India - Weighing in at 563.35 carats, the Star of India is one of the largest sapphires in the world, with a unique star shape that appears on both sides.
Princess Diana's Sapphire and Pearl Choker - This was originally given to Princess Diana as a brooch by the late Queen Mother. Princess Diana then turned this stunning gem into a stunning choker featuring seven strands of pearls.
The Blue Giant of the Orient - Weighing in at 466 carats, the Blue Giant of the Orient is the largest faceted sapphire in the world. In 1907, it disappeared under mysterious circumstances and only resurfaced this century.
The Logan Blue Sapphire - Weighing in at 422.99 carats, this sapphire is internally flawless and the second largest faceted blue sapphire in the world.
Stuart Sapphire - Weighing in at 104 carats this cabochon-cut sapphire is part of the Royal Crown Jewels of Queen Elizabeth II. It was acquired by her ancestors in the 14th century.