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Color has the greatest influence on a sapphire’s value, and preferred sapphires have strong to vivid color saturation. The most valued blue sapphires are velvety blue to violetish blue.
Cornflower Blue Sapphires

What is a Sapphire?

A sapphire is a precious gemstone from the corundum mineral. They are commonly known for their striking blue color, though they do appear in a number of other color varieties.

Sapphires have an incredible history, from drawing fame with the royal family to playing a part in ancient legends.

Sapphires are one of the most sought-after gemstones for jewellery (alongside diamonds).

Caring for Your Sapphire

Sapphires are easy to care for at home. Sapphires can be cleaned at home with warm water (NOT COLD) and a splash of any type of dish or cleaning detergent that has degreasing ability. Avoid using anything that has moisturizers, abrasives or anti-static agents or toothpaste as they will leave a residue and scratch the metal. Scrub gently with a soft toothbrush and rinse well. Dry with a soft cloth. For deeper cleaning, allow the piece to soak for 10 to 20 minutes, and then follow the remaining steps of the above procedure.

This process should only be used with sapphires set in gold or platinum as many detergents can react poorly with silver.nYou can also use any cleaner that is specifically designed for use with jewellery. Now sapphires are not bulletproof, so you still need to wear them with care. Stick to the 4 rules of jewellery, No swimming, Gardening, heavy lifting or gym workouts.

What Does a Sapphire Look Like?

When many people think of a sapphire, they think of a gem with a seductive deep-blue color. While blue sapphires are most popular, they can actually come in a range of colors. Along with blue sapphires, you can also find them in pink, purple, yellow, green, white and more.

As a naturally-formed gemstone, sapphires almost always have slight flaws and inclusions. This isn’t a drawback — it actually proves that a sapphire is genuine and makes it unique. If a sapphire appears flawless, it’s most likely a lab-created sapphire.

What Are Sapphires Made Of?

Sapphires come from the mineral corundum, which is a crystallized form of aluminium oxide. Corundum forms in crystalline rocks, which contain what we know as sapphires or rubies, based on other minerals present during formation.It’s this mix of minerals that work together over thousands of years to produce beautiful, rare, coveted gemstones like the sapphire.

Corundum is an extremely hard substance, just about on par with the hardness of a diamond. For this reason, sapphires are extremely durable but not bulletproof. They score a 9 on a scale of 1 to 10 on the Mohs’ scale of mineral hardness, second only to diamonds at a perfect 10.

Padparadscha Sapphire

The Padparadscha Sapphire

Besides the renowned blue sapphires there is the Padparadscha Sapphire, an extremely rare and sought-after pink-orange fancy sapphire originally found in Sri Lanka.

This sapphire can fetch over $20,000 per carat! The name comes from Sanskrit/Sihalese “padma raga,” which means “lotus color” since the stone’s color is reminiscent of a lotus flower.

Sapphire Hue

A sapphire’s hue describes the stone’s balance of color as it relates to its neighbors on the color wheel. With blue sapphires, for example, we would call the stone’s color either blue, slight green, strong green, slight purple, or strong purple.

The closer you can get to “True” blue, the more expensive and desirable the sapphire will be. It’s common to refer to this variety of sapphires as “cornflower blue,” as the cornflower is one of the few flowers said to be purely blue and not violet or purple like most other “blue” flowers.

Sapphire Tone and Saturation

Tone describes how light or dark the color is with the range going from very light to very dark. It’s best to stay in the medium to dark range with tone, as the lighter the tone, the more watered down the overall look of the sapphire.

Finally saturation, the saturation describes how vibrant the color is with the range going from dull/weak to pure vivid. The closer to pure vivid you can get, the better the sapphire’s color will appear to you, and the more money it will fetch.

As we said, the most desirable sapphires will have vivid, highly saturated color without areas of brown or gray. These areas are known as extinction and are affected by lighting quality, position, tone, and cut. Usually the darker the stone’s color, the darker endors.


It is highly unlikely to find sapphires without any inclusions, or imperfections, at all. If there are no inclusions, gemologists will suspect the sapphire to be fake or treated, all sapphires will have rutile needles or “silk”.

Most sapphires on the market today have been heat-treated to improve their clarity and color. (If they’ve not been treated at all, they can be sold for big money.)

Whereas with diamonds, gemologists use 10x magnification to inspect the diamond’s inclusions, with colored gemstones, we are only concerned with non-magnified careful examination.In other words, we are looking to see if the stone is “eye-clean” to the naked eye. The cleaner the stone, the higher the price tag.


There are no standardized cuts for sapphires as there are with diamonds. Where as with diamonds you could choose an “Excellent” cut to showcase the diamond’s color and fire, with sapphires — and most colored gemstones — you are relying on the gem cutter to maximize each individual sapphire’s unique combination of color, clarity, and brilliance.

In general, a well-cut sapphire will be symmetrical and reflect light at the proper angles in order to enhance the stone’s luster. It is often the case that gem cutters will cut more deeply when the sapphire’s tone is light.

This makes the stone appear to have a deeper, darker color. And the opposite is also true: if the sapphire is very dark, then the gem cutter may choose to make a shallow cut to bring more light in and thereby lighten the overall look of the stone.

Common Shapes
The most common shapes of sapphires are usually oval, round, cushion, and emerald.


Just as gemstones vary widely across the spectrum in terms of their color and hardness, so too they also differ in density. This is apparent when we consider the carats, or weight of the sapphire vs a diamond.

Since sapphires are usually heavier, a one carat sapphire will look smaller than a one carat diamond. It is more accurate to measure the size of the sapphire in terms of its millimeter diameter. A rule of thumb is that a one carat sapphire generally measures 6 mm.