WHAT ARE SAPPHIRES?

Before we dive head first into the mesmerizing world of sapphires, it is important to understand the fundamentals of this gemstone. Sapphires and rubies come from the same family of the mineral corundum and are primarily differentiated on the basis of their color. This color is a result of the presence of trace elements like iron, magnesium, titanium, chromium or vanadium. Blue sapphires occur, for instance, when aluminum atoms are displaced with those of titanium and iron in the gem’s crystal lattice structure.

Properties of sapphires

Blue Sapphire color and grading

Traditionally sapphires are associated with a royal blue color that is fondly called “cornflower blue sapphire”. While this velvety blue remains the most popular variety, it is interesting to note that sapphires come in a rainbow range of colors. Just within the blue spectrum, blue sapphires have an intense grading system based on their hue, saturation and tone. We will discuss this in detail in oua article”What makes sapphires valuable.”

Sapphires have been immensely popular, not just because of the striking esthetics but also because of their high hardness and response to various treatment methods. Sapphires are in fact, the second hardest natural substance after natural diamonds, with a 9 on the Moh hardness scale.

Being around for as long as they have been, it is inevitable that they have had a strong association with myths and folklore around the world. They have had a long history being associated with royalty around the world which will be discussed further in the “the history of sapphires.”

Sapphires have been mined all over the world with significant deposits in Australia, Cambodia, Cameroon, China (Shandong), Colombia, Ethiopia, India (Kashmir), Kenya, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United States (Montana) and Vietnam. Each mine produces a specific color and type of sapphire, making it unique to them. Read on more about it in our article on “Sapphire mining around the world.”

SAPPHIRE GEMSTONE – BEYOND JEWELLERY

Due to its high hardness, sapphire has found a number of industrial and scientific uses. They are used in:

  • high pressure and vacuum chambers for spectroscopy,
  •  lenses for watches, 
  • barcode scanners,
  •  optics, 
  • lasers and more.

Interestingly, several Swiss watch companies have been using sapphire glass to make the watch more scratch resistant and this has also been adapted by the Apple watch series 3.

Apple 3 watch sapphire

We at Wholesale Sapphires are one of the foremost suppliers of loose sapphires in the world. With a wide range of sapphire roughs and preforms in a variety of color, size, shape and carat, we are one of the exclusive dealers