Focus on Blue Sapphire - Charles Nobel

Focus on Blue Sapphire

February 1, 2023

Part of the corundum family, sapphire is most known as the blue variety of the mineral, though it can be found in a wide range of different colours including red which is more commonly referred to as Ruby.


Origins and Traits

Normally mined from alluvial deposits the most famous locations for sapphire mining include Australia, Sri Lanka, Thailand and more recently Madagascar.

Sri Lankan or Ceylon sapphires are known for their Royal Blue and Cornflower blue colours whilst Thai sapphires from Kanchanaburi tend to exhibit vivid blue colourings. Sapphires that originate from Madagascar can vary in quality, though the nicer material has a bluish-purple colouring, and some better stones are comparable to those mined in Sri Lankan and Thailand. Finally, Australian sapphires tend to have a more green / blue colouring with some particularly dark almost black material coming from the area.

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Most sapphires are heated at extremely high temperatures to “enhance” their colour and clarity. Some very poor-quality sapphires stones are treated with chemicals altering their colour making them a more desirable gemstone. Whilst these treatments may “improve” the look and desirability of the gemstone they don’t lead to an increase in the stones value.

These gemstones may still be referred to as being natural as they are not lab created in their nature, however, the rarest type of sapphire in the marketplace is an untreated, natural stone that has had no enhancing processes carried out on it. Accounting for less than 1% of gem quality stones these untreated, natural sapphires are significantly less common and more valuable than their treated counterparts.

When buying an untreated sapphire, it is important that the piece is accompanied by an independent document verifying this to be the case, stating that there is no evidence of treatments.


Famous Sapphires

Some of the most famous sapphires in the world adorn some of the most stunning jewellery items in the world.

The stunning Stuart Sapphire is found in the back of the Imperial State Crown where it had been moved to by Edward VII. Oval in shape and measuring 3.8cm long and 2.5cm wide the oval Sapphire originated in Asia and weighs 104cts.

The Rockefeller sapphire has undergone many transformations over the years that has seen it not only reset by the likes of Cartier and Tiffany but also recut to maximise it’s beauty. Probably the most famous owned of the stone was the Rockefeller family. It is currently set as a ring and owned by a private collection.

Whilst there are other famous sapphires we couldn’t leave this section without discussing the engagement ring that is best know for belonging to Princess Diane. Created by Garrard for King Charles’s proposal to Diane, it is believed to be inspired by a royal heirloom created by Prince Albert for Queen Victoria. The heirloom in question is a stunning Sapphire and Diamond brooch, also crafted by Garrard which Queen Victoria loved so much she wore it on her wedding day,


Which Sapphire Should I choose?

We are often asked in the shop which sapphire should a client choose…… well for me the simple answer is the one you like.

There are so many variations in hue, lustre and quality that to advise someone as to which stone, they should choose is virtually impossible.

We endeavour to have a range of set and loose gemstones to suit our clients’ preferences and budgets.


Sapphire Properties

  • Colour – Blue (almost every other colour as Fancy Sapphire – red variety is Ruby)
  • Family – Corundum
  • Mohs Scale Hardness – 9
  • Specific Gravity – 3.95 – 4.10
  • Refractive Index – 1.75 – 1.77
  • Lustre – Vitreous
  • Crystal System – Trigonal
  • Transparency – Transparent to opaque
  • Chemical Formula – Al2O3
  • Composition – Aluminium Oxide


“Piers recently made my wife's engagement ring. He did an exceptional job, it was far better than she ever hoped. Mandy says "Piers you are a Superstar!”


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