Source: Australia, Madagascar, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, USA
Birthstone: September (Alternate: Lapis)
The name "sapphire" (Saphir French or German, Zafir Spanish, Zaffiro Italian) was originally derived from Greek "Sappheiros," as well as the Sanskrit Kuruvinda "Sanipruja" meaning "hard stone," and the Hebrew word "Sappir" meaning "gem.
Sapphire colours range from canary yellow to blue, brown, gray, green, orange, pink, purple, and colourless.
Most sapphires contain inclusions which are visible to the naked eye or under low magnification. These inclusions may appear as clouds, feathers, veils, silk fibres or rutile needles and may resemble an internal fingerprint impression in clearer stones.
The most desirable blue sapphire colour is an intense, pure and primary blue with a slight hint of violet and very little of the grey or green colour components.
Specific colour grades of blue sapphire are commonly refers to as:
Ceylon Blue, Cornflower Blue, Electric Blue, Kashmir Blue, Royal Blue, Sky Blue, Velvet Blue and Violet Blue.
Skilled gem-cutters will insure that the faceted stone has some colour in the culet to enhance the colour when viewed through the table and crown. From the side however, these stones will have little colour.
The finest sapphire in the world had originated from Kashmir. The Kashmir region was famous for its blue sapphires which exhibited an intense, vivid blue hue that came to be known as "Kashmir Blue”.
The region was fully depleted by the early 1900's. This fact adds significant value to any stone that is positively identified as a true Kashmir sapphire.
Second only to Kashmir in quality and mystique, some of the world's most valuable sapphire has been found in Mogok Valley in Myanmar (Burma). There is also a very rare orange-pink or red-orange Sri Lankan variety called "padparadscha sapphire" which can be as valuable as diamond. Ceylon yellow sapphires display a pure canary-yellow, brownish-yellow compared to other varieties of yellow sapphire which can have greenish overtones.
Australia have also produced some of the finer specimens of greenish-yellow, golden, green, orange, and blue sapphire, as well as the unusual multi-coloured sapphires which are marbled with hues of blue, green and yellow. The Tundouro mine in Tanzania also produces a yellow sapphire with a distinctive greenish-yellow colour.
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