The Birthstone of September and Its Misconceptions
September is the month of the Sapphire. In the presence of such a great stone, a meta-analysis is not enough to cover the vast name “Sapphire”. Previously we introduced Sapphires based on their Origin: Madagascar and Ceylon(Sri Lanka). Therefore, at this stage, people require a micro-analysis for a deeper understanding of what we know as the Sapphire. Available in a wide range of colours; the Blue Sapphire is the most common type of Sapphire which the general populace knows. So much so, a widespread misconception is that: “Blue is the Only Color which Sapphires come in.”. Therefore, to inform and correct this general misconception, one must dwell more in-depth into the topic.
Meaning and Lore
The meaning of the word Sapphire is the first confounding factor leading to the misconception above. The name sapphire derives from Latin “Saphirus” and Greek: “Sapheiros.” both of these words mean blue. Hence the mistake can substantiate itself and its origins.
The exact discovery of Sapphires is unknown; however, around 800 BC A common belief by the ancient Persians was: the sky is blue because of the reflection of sapphires. Additionally, the stone was and still is also holy as considered by the Catholic Church. The colour of the heavens represents the heavens, was a common mantra in by some religions. There are countless examples of the association of the blue sapphire with otherworldly and religious entities.
However, let’s examine the blue sapphire from a scientific standpoint.
Natural Corundum var Sapphire (Science)
Sapphire originates from the gem family of corundum(Al2O3) and is abundant in alluvial deposits. Its hardness is second, only to diamond and has a vitreous lustre (in most faceted and cabochon stones.)
Sapphire is doubly refractive. This means that it can split a ray of light into two distinct beams when it enters the stone. This, along with its properties of dichroism, allows a distinct mixture of two colours/shades to don the stone. Thus in blue sapphire, what a person may see as a moderate blue colour, is, in fact, a lighter blue shade and a darker blue shade mixing. The stone is also in the trigonal crystal system, which furthermore confirms the doubly refractive property.
Sapphire is also a relatively heavier stone than the likes of amethysts, emeralds and even diamonds, making their presence known when the wearer wears the ring. It is a stone which a person can feel is genuinely on their jewellery.
The Blue Sapphire
We’ve dissected the reasoning behind colour in Sapphire, in terms of physical and optical properties. However, the blue colour of the Beautiful Blue Sapphire is due to the constituent trace elements which are present within its crystal structure: Titanium and Iron. Different percentages of the two elements are known to replace the aluminium within the sapphire crystal structure, creating different shades of the colour blue.
No two distinct things exactly resemble each other.The Identity of Indiscernibles – Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz – Philosopher and Mathematician
Similar to the quote above, no gemstone is the same as another; therefore, their colours can entirely never be the same as each other. Colours can be similar or matching but never the same. Thus comes the problematic part where gemstone companies, merchants, traders and dealers have to match a customer’s preference with existing or new stock.
The “Cornflower” Blue
Despite the debacle mentioned above, there are a few specific colours/shades of blue sapphire which are extremely popular in the gemstone markets. The first of which is Cornflower Blue. As the name suggests this shade of blue comes from the colour of the cornflower.
A family of colours is where the primary colour, as well as different shades related to it, are classed as one family. Thus we would like to present our unique colour palette consisting of the cornflower family.
The beautiful colour of the cornflower blue is a mixture of blue and light purple, with a slight preference towards purple. However, even on closer inspection of this photograph, it can be seen that even a cornflower has different shades. So rather than just describing one specific colour as cornflower blue, we have decided on: The Cornflower Blue Colour Family.
The “Peacock” Blue
Sapphires from Sri Lanka are notorious for their beautiful range of colours An outlier of popularity; a specific colour: a peacock blue is heavily sought after from this myriad of colours. The colour’s lore originates from the bright blue colour of the neck or tail feathers of the peacock. Once again a direct emulation of the peacock’s colours within a sapphire is not possible. But the spectrum of colours, or rather the Peacock Blue Family Colour Palette can present an uncanny resemblance to a blue sapphire of similar colour.
When comparing the cornflower blue and the peacock blue: the peacock blue has a deeper intensity in colour and higher saturation of colour. It’s a blue which “packs a punch”.
The deep blue colour of an alleged “royal blue” coloured sapphire was, as the name suggests, immensely preferred by the the English. The flag of the United Kingdom is a testament to this. The true vividness of the royal blue cannot be simply fathomed on a computer screen or piece of paper; a person must experience it’s beauty for themselves. The colour compared to others which we have presented above is more saturated and holds a certain depth.
Indigo and Twilight
Self explanatory, but yet beautiful: these shades of blue aren’t as bright as the typical royal blue, however they contain a stunning solidarity of colour. These colours have a larger mixture of dark purple than that of the typical cornflower blue.
Sapphires come in many colours, but blue is the most commonly known traded colour. The various shades of blue and saturations can be confusing, with only a slight distinction between all of them. Despite this, we hope that you have gained a deeper understanding into the the nuances between them. Dependant on this and the different market values, each blue has a different worth, although they are all vivid and stunning. Enjoy the testament of the blue sapphire and go forth!
Wikimedia (2019). Cornflower. [image] Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bf/Cornflower_Blue.jpg [Accessed 29 Sep. 2019].
Wikimedia (2019). Corundum Chemical Structure. [image] Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/cc/Corundum-3D-balls.png [Accessed 29 Sep. 2019].
Wikimedia (2019). Peacock. [image] Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c3/Peacock_by_Nihal_jabin.jpg [Accessed 29 Sep. 2019].
Wikimedia (2019). Peacock Feathers. [image] Available at: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/93/Peacock_feathers_closeup.jpg [Accessed 29 Sep. 2019].