Friday, September 23, 2011

Rock Review: Sapphire

All hail the Sapphire, gem of royalty and birthstone to all those born in September!
Geology Buzz
Sapphire is a part of the Corundum mineral family. When thinking of Sapphire, most people think of the lovely deep cobalt color that is the “classic” color for this gem. However, Sapphires actually occur in many colors including pink, yellow, purple, orange and green. When Corundum is crimson, we call that a Ruby. They are a hearty nine on Moh’s scale of hardness and have a vitreous, or glassy, luster. This makes this gem ideal as a faceted stone. Sapphires that fetch the highest price due to their desirability are deep blue in hue with up to 15% violet blue saturation.
Fun Facts
Many Sapphires have become famous throughout the years. One of these is the 423 carat Logan Sapphire, currently on display at the Museum of Natural History in Washington DC. It is a flawless specimen, hailing from Sri Lanka. Several notable specimens of Star Sapphire, Sapphire that naturally exhibits a reflective star shape known as asterism, are also on display at several museums. The Black Star of Queenland, discovered in Australia in the 1930s, is the largest sapphire known to exist. The Star of India, weighing in at 563 carats, is on display at the American Museum of National History in New York City. It was donated by famous robber baron J.P. Morgan in 1900 and has even survived a jewel theft! Thankfully it was recovered and returned to the museum for everyone to enjoy. The Star of Bombay, originally owned by silent film actress Mary Pickford, is also on display at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.
Long before William and Kate, Sapphires were used as the focal stone in engagement rings of royalty for hundreds of years. The tradition of Sapphires as engagement rings dates back to medieval times when they were worn as a physical symbol of faithfulness, honor and commitment of the betrothed during the engagement period. Considering popping the question? Think about a sapphire instead of a diamond to tell a bride to be that she’s your princess!

Logan Sapphire

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