Coleman Douglas Pearls love a good bit of mid month alliteration! During the Medieval Ages, European lapidaries started calling blue corundum crystal "sapphire", a derivative of the Latin word for blue: "sapphirus". Despite the reasoning behind the name, this stone is actually so much more than the traditional shades of blue. Yes, blue sets off pearls beautifully, from White South Sea pearls through to Tahitian pearls, with the palest cornflower hues to deep Kashimir blues, all matching elegantly with pearls. However, sapphire is the popular name given to the mineral corundum which actually comes in a full rainbow of colours.
The word sapphire without a prefix, implies blue only. Sapphires of all other colors are assigned a color prefix (Green Sapphire, Yellow Sapphire etc) or are collectively termed fancy sapphires. If the color is red, it is a "ruby." Like ruby the most important factor to consider when looking at sapphires of any colour is their hue.
A strong colour is desirable, not too pale and not too dark, with inclusion being not as important in comparison. You can often see colour zoning in sapphires where bands of colour are stronger in some places in the stone than others.
Asterism or the "star effect" is a reflection effect that appears as two or more intersecting bands of light across the surface of a gem. Asterism in sapphires is due to reflections from multitudes of exsolved needle inclusions (silk), which in most varieties consist of rutile and/or hematite. Asterism is rare with the largest star sapphire weighing 1,404.49 carats and would cost you around $300million. So not much then...
Famous sapphires include the Duchess of Cambridge's engagement ring, formerly belonging to Princess Diana. Here at our online pearl jewellery store we also have a selection of sapphire rings, either for you to give to the 'Kate' in your life, or if you just fancy a treat as its Monday! We are open Monday - Saturday from 11am - 7pm so please pop in and have a look.