Where do star sapphires come from


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1. To which group does the sapphire belong?
2. Where does the name sapphire come from?
3. How do the colors of the sapphires come about?
4. What are the properties of the sapphire?
5. Where do sapphires come from?
6. Where can I find sapphires?
7. How expensive is a sapphire?
8. Are there any imitations of sapphires?
9. What healing effects does the sapphire have?
10. Sapphire jewelry


The sapphire is precious, popular and beautiful. Blue sapphires are particularly popular as a gemstone. The sapphire was already highly regarded in antiquity and the Middle Ages, and it was said to have healing properties. Because the sapphire is very hard, it is a stone for eternity. But where do sapphires come from? And what makes them such popular gemstones?

1. To which group does the sapphire belong?

The sapphire belongs to the group of corundums. Its "brother" is the ruby, which also belongs to the corundum group. The color red is reserved for the ruby, while the sapphire includes all other colors. The name corundum comes from Indian and was chosen because of the hardness of the corundum. There is no clearly defined line between sapphire and ruby. Light red, pink and violet corundum are also counted among the sapphires because they would only represent inferior stones in the rubies.

2. Where does the name sapphire come from?

The name of the sapphire comes from the Greek and means nothing else than blue. The name was previously used for several different gemstones. So it happened that the gemstone, which is actually a lapis lazuli, was wrongly called sapphire well into the Middle Ages. Then around 1800 it was recognized that the sapphire and the ruby ​​are both corundum. Originally only the blue sapphires were actually called sapphire, all other colors had different names. However, these were misleading and today the name sapphire is used for all color varieties. So that the sapphire does not go under in different colors, the colors are mentioned as color quality in front of the name, which gives rise to terms such as yellow sapphire or green sapphire. When the name sapphire is used alone, it always means the blue sapphire. Leuco sapphire is the name for a colorless sapphire and padparadscha are called orange sapphires.

3. How do the colors of the sapphires come about?

With blue sapphires, the color is created by iron and titanium. Vanadium gives the color of purple sapphires. Yellow and green are created by trivalent iron and pink by chromium. The combination of chromium, iron and vanadium leads to orange varieties of sapphire. It should be noted that the colors can look different in artificial light than in daylight. The most desirable and valued color of sapphires is a pure cornflower blue.

4. What are the properties of the sapphire?

Not only the great colors of the sapphire are impressive, but also its other properties. With a Mohs hardness of 9, sapphire is the second hardest gemstone in the world. The only thing left in front of him is the diamond, which has a hardness of 10. The hardness of the sapphire is just as high as the hardness of the ruby ​​and clearly different in both directions.

When fired at around 1700 ° C, sapphires with inconspicuous or cloudy colors acquire an intense blue color that is even permanent. Many of the sapphires used in jewelry are burned. However, this can cause cracks which are initially filled with oil or wax, but which reappear over time.

In rare cases, deposits can cause a cat's eye effect or a six-pointed star, the star sapphire. Did you know that the largest star sapphire was found in Myanmar in 1966 and weighed 63,000 carats, which corresponds to 12.6 kg?

5. Where do sapphires come from?

Sapphires occur in various host rocks. This can be limestone, marble, basalt or pegmatite. The extraction of sapphires is very easy. A hole is dug in the earth and the gem washers then dig the stones out of the hole. The gemstones are then selected by hand.

6. Where can I find sapphires?

Sapphires are generally more common than rubies because the red of ruby ​​is rare. The most important deposits for sapphires are in Australia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Myanmar. The best sapphires used to come from Kashmir (India), but the resources are now almost exhausted. Sapphires are also found in other countries such as Brazil, China, Cambodia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Tanzania and the USA.

The sapphire is by far not as rare as the ruby, but it is still one of the rarities. The large stones in particular are highly valued, so it is no wonder that a sapphire that bears the name “Star of India” is the property of the American Museum of Natural History in New York. At 536 carats, this sapphire is said to be the largest cut sapphire in the world and has therefore rightly earned its place in the museum.

Other famous sapphires are the “Midnight Star” (a black star sapphire), the “Star of Asia” (star sapphire with 330 carats) and the two famous sapphires from the English crown treasure, the “St. Edward's sapphire” and the "Stuart sapphire". In the USA, three sapphires, each weighing 2000 carats, were chosen as the basis for sculptures by Washington, Lincoln and Eisenhower.

7. How expensive is a sapphire?

There are many synthetic sapphires and imitations on the market. The price for real sapphires rises all the more due to the diverse range on offer.

How expensive a sapphire is depends to a large extent on its color. Further criteria are the purity, the size, the cut and the proportions. Large sapphires are very expensive while small sapphires are quite affordable in price. The origin of the gemstone is also important for the price and how much a sapphire costs. Therefore, when buying, you should pay attention to the indication of the country of origin.

A 1-carat heat-treated sapphire costs around € 250. The price also depends on the color and purity.

8. Are there any imitations of sapphires?

There are many imitations of sapphires on the market. These imitations are made of glass or quartz. How do you recognize imitations of sapphires? The glass imitations can be recognized by the refraction of light because they lack birefringence. Quartz imitations can be unmasked based on their density. If it is compound sapphires, it can be seen under the microscope. Today sapphires and rubies are very often produced as syntheses, which are difficult to see even with a microscope. Since the sapphire is a very valuable gemstone, you should have a gemological report carried out before buying so that the authenticity of the stone can be determined.

9. What healing effects does the sapphire have?

The blue sapphire in particular is said to have a positive effect on the eyes. It is used for eye problems and to improve eyesight. This use is known from St. Hildegard von Bingen. Sapphires are also said to help with fever, headache and asthma. A dark blue sapphire can serve as a sedative before sleep.

10. Sapphire jewelry

Since the sapphire is almost as hard as the diamond, it is often used for jewelry that is often worn and that should be particularly durable. Sapphires are often used in rings and chains in jewelry production. The blue of the sapphire looks particularly noble in combination with silver or stainless steel. If it is combined with gold, it is reminiscent of the jewelry of the earlier kings and is accordingly graceful.

With regard to the effect of sapphire jewelery, the American screenwriter Anita Loos put it aptly: "A kiss on the hand can make you feel very, very good, but a diamond and a sapphire bracelet are forever."