Blue sapphire is a gemstone that has never lost its timeless appeal. Combining excellent hardness and wear-ability with outstanding brilliance and luster, blue is the classic sapphire color. Though sapphire is available in many lovely hues, including yellow, green, pink and orange, it is the blue which remains the most popular.
Blue sapphire itself occurs in a wide range of blue tones. These range from a delicate pale blue to an inky dark blue that appears nearly black under some lighting. The important thing in sapphire is the intensity or color saturation level, regardless of the shade of blue.
Some people prefer the lighter blues, because they always appear blue, even under indoor lighting or in the evening. The color called cornflower blue, reminiscent of the flower, is particularly popular. The deep velvety blue is the most famous sapphire blue.
You will find a variety of shapes and cuts available, including cushions, ovals, pears and rounds. Round stones will often be slightly more expensive because more material is required to cut a round stone. However, round stones are very easy to adapt to standard settings. Most sapphire are faceted, but you will see some very fine sapphire cabochons as well.
Sapphires tend to have better clarity than rubies. You should look for gems that are graded VS (eye-clean) or better. This means no inclusions or defects are visible to the naked eye. You should also look for a consistent color throughout the gemstone. Too much color zoning will detract from the gem's value. Look at some expert sapphire information before you go to look at gems.
Sapphires that have not been treated in any way are especially valuable. But you will find very few untreated sapphires in the market these days - most sapphires have been heat treated to improve the clarity and color. Compare a number of sapphires before you make your choice so you will have a better idea of how different grades are priced. In general it is better to buy a fine smaller stone than a larger gem of poor color or clarity.
The most famous blue sapphire come from Kashmir, but they are very rarely seen in the market these days. Burmese sapphire is also famous, but Burmese sapphire has become nearly as rare as the Kashmiri stones. The vast majority of fine sapphire found these days comes from Sri Lanka (Ceylon sapphire) and Madagascar, with smaller amounts of material coming from Thailand, Australia, Nigeria and Tanzania.
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Fine Blue Sapphire