The sapphire belongs to the family of corundum.
Sapphires occur in many different colors but the most famous and valuable of sapphires is a rich intense blue: The others colors will be referred to as «fancy colors».
Red corundum is known as ruby.
Sapphire has been treasured for thousands of years.
Sapphires come from Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, and Cambodia. Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, China, Vietnam, Madagascar. The United States also produces some sapphire, mostly in small sizes and fancy colors.
The most famous sources for sapphire are Cashmere and Burma, now known as Myanmar.
Cashmere sapphire has a rich velvety color prized by connoisseurs.
Burma sapphires, from the same region that produces fabulous rubies, are also very fine.
However, today, these two sources account only for a very small quantity of the sapphire on the market.
Most fine sapphire on the market today come from Sri Lanka and Madagascar, which produce a wide range of beautiful blues, from delicate sky blue colors to rich saturated hues.
Sri Lanka and Tanzania are also a major supplier of fancy colored sapphires, such as the famous Padparadshah (orange-pink color).
Kanchanaburi in Thailand and Pailin in Cambodia are renowned for deep blue, even colors. Thailand is the world's most important sapphire heating and trading center. Some of the largest sapphire cutting factories are in the Chanthaburi area of Thailand.
In general, a more pastel blue would be less preferred to a vivid blue, but it would be priced higher than an over dark blackish blue color.
As with all gemstones, cut can affect greatly the visual appearance, and sapphires with good proportions and color balance and which have no or barely visible inclusions are the most valuable.
Other popular shades for sapphires are yellow, bright orange, lavender and purple, or a bluish green color.
Generally, the more clear and vivid the color, the more valuable the sapphire.
Star Sapphires Oval cut blue sapphire Sapphires with an unusual kind of tiny needle-like inclusions can be cut in a cabochon shape to display a dancing six-rayed white star. As with rubies, star sapphires are judged by the sharpness of the star, the evenness of the rays or "legs" of the star, and the body color of the stone.
There is no such price difference between heated and non-heated material except for at the very top end of the market.
The other colors of sapphire are likely to be as beautiful and rare - even rarer - the blue one but their value is generally lower.
The yellow sapphires, orange, pink are highly collectible.
As with other gems, the value of sapphire depends on its purity (inclusions visible color cast or reduce the value) and intensity of its color: it must be strong and sustained, neither too pale nor too dark.
Sapphire can be mounted in ring, earrings or pendant.
Nevertheless, always bare in mind that all stones are fragile! even the diamond ....
Sapphire has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale.