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♦ GEMSTONE STORY
Sapphires are the most common colored gemstone, preceded in popularity only by the diamond. Their rich blue hue and rarity have made them a treasured gemstone. They form under very specific conditions in the earth. While blue is the most common hue for sapphires, they are also available in a rainbow of other colors like yellow, pink, orange and white. For thousands of years, humans have worked hard to find gemstone deposits within the earth and have prized gemstones like the sapphire for their beauty and color. The precious sapphire is prized for its color, durability, and rarity. This is what makes it such a popular choice for all types of jewelry like earrings, necklaces and rings.
Sapphires are a rare gemstone that can take millions of years to form. Like rubies, sapphires are also formed out of the mineral corundum. In scientific terms, the mineral is known as aluminum oxide. Corundum acquires color when there are other minerals that become present as it is forming. Sapphires are typically found in recrystallized limestone and metamorphic rocks that have less silica and a lot of aluminum. When the crystal lattice of the sapphire is forming, if transition metal minerals seep in, the color can transform from white and transparent to a different hue.
For this reason, sapphires are also available in various saturations of colors and can even be available in combinations and shades of colors like orange and pink. When corundum takes on a hue other than red, the gemstone is typically classified as sapphire. Different mineral combinations can result in different colors of sapphire. Thus, there are many color varieties in sapphire including pink, yellow and most popularly blue. With iron present, the sapphire can take on a yellow color. With vanadium, purple sapphires are created.
And most popular, the blue sapphire is created as a result of titanium being present within the corundum rock. Corundum is found in igneous rocks. When those are cooling slowly, large crystals of minerals can form from those that are present within the magma. The purest sapphires are formed during the transformation of igneous rocks. The more slowly the magma cools, the larger the sapphires will be. Conditions in which magma cools slowly and is untouched by other elements and minerals is rare. In most instances, as the magma is cooling there are almost always changes in pressure and environmental factors. As a result of these changes in environment, each sapphire develops a unique look and color. This is also the reason that inclusions and impurities in the sapphires form. This gives each sapphire a unique look, almost like a fingerprint. No two natural sapphires will ever look exactly the same.
Since precise conditions need to exist for a long periods of time as the sapphire is forming, large gemstones are rare. It is quite uncommon to find large natural sapphires, especially those that are free of inclusions. Typically sapphire deposits in the earth are found in a barrel shape that is longer and tapered at the ends and larger in the center. This is simply the way the rough sapphire forms. Once mined, the sapphire can be fashioned into any number of shapes with facets or without. These shapes are then used to craft sparkling jewelry.
Sapphire is a remarkably hard mineral at 9 on the Mohs scale, preceded only by moissanite and diamond. This dense gemstone is a durable choice to craft jewelry that will last for many decades. Sapphire’s hardness is the result of strong and short oxygen and aluminum bonds. It’s vibrant colors, sparkle and hardness make it so that this gemstone has been prized by cultures and civilizations around the world.
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