Derived from the Latin word Saphirus and Greek word Sapheiros, which both translate to blue, Sapphire is the breathtaking September birthstone first found in the United States of America in Montana during the 1860s. Although their name means blue, the semi-precious gemstone comes in almost every *rainbow color, including pink, yellow, white, green, orange, and even black.
The Buyer's Guide to Blue Sapphire
Like any other stone, blue Sapphires come in a wide variety of cuts, colors, carats and vary in terms of durability, all based upon the stone's specifications and quality. Buyers also have the option between natural none treated Sapphires natural treated Sapphires and lab-made sapphires.
The Buyer's Guide to Blue Sapphire - Natural v.s. Lab-created Stones
Natural Sapphires are a blue variant of the mineral corundum, which forms due to volcanic processes deep within the Earth due to the high temperature and intense amounts of pressure. The rich, beautiful, iconic colors arise as a result of the mineral Aluminum Oxide. These stones form as they cool, and larger stones occur after longer cooling periods. This is a process that takes millions of years, further driving the value and commodity of sapphires.
Lab Made Sapphires are still considered real Sapphires, because no synthetic material is used to replace the corundum used to create Sapphires. the only major difference being they are formed in a lab environment as opposed to forming naturally below the Earth's surface. Chemically created, these stones often have fewer imperfections than their natural counterparts while forming faster and at a fraction of the cost.
Although lab-made sapphires are grown under simulated conditions, they are no less hard or visually different from their rare natural counterparts. If anything, Sapphires created in a lab have fewer inclusions, perfecting their appearance. Lab-made Sapphires also vary less in color, as they are created with the intent to be as blue as possible.
While lab-made Sapphires are no less of a gemstone than natural Sapphires, many people tend to favor natural Sapphires because they believe it adds to the sentiment and rarity of the jewelry to use a stone that underwent the intense and grueling volcanic processes.
The Buyer's Guide to Blue Sapphire - Determining the Quality
Along with weighing the decision between purchasing a natural Sapphire v.s. one created synthetically, there are other factors to consider, like the size, color, clarity, cut, and durability.
- Size. In natural Sapphires, the size depends on how long the stone cooled below the Earth's surface during the formation process. Sapphires are available in sizes ranging from just a few point carats to hundreds of carats. However, the average commercial Sapphire is about 5.00 or fewer carats.
- Color. Sapphires are available in a wide variety of colors far beyond the blue spectrum, including pinks, yellows, oranges, and even black.
- Clarity. Due to the formation process, it is almost inevitable that Sapphires will have a few inclusions that are masked by their deep, rich color. Clear sapphires are incredibly rare and understandably far more expensive.
- Cut. Unlike diamonds, there isn't a standard cut for Sapphires. Personalized cuts add personality to the piece. However, it is common to see the stone finished with a step, brilliant, mixed, or cabochon cut. The cabochon cut is the easiest to produce and least expensive. A step cut allows for an incredibly smooth finish, whereas brilliant and mixed cuts are made to maximize sparkle and color intensity.
- Durability. Corundum (sapphires) are incredibly hard. The only gemstone harder than a Sapphire is a diamond, according to Moh's Scale. It is incredibly unlikely that Sapphires will crack, chip, or break through the stress of daily wear and tear.
The incredibly beautiful, durable, and mesmerizing September birthstone Sapphire comes in a wide variety of cuts, sizes, and colors. For more content about gemstones and jewelry, head on over to our blog main page.