For centuries, sapphires have decorated the robes of royalty and the necks, ears, fingers and wrists of some of the most sophisticated style icons of our time. Alongside rubies and emeralds, sapphires are one of the most cherished coloured gemstones in the jewellery world.
What is a sapphire and where do they come from?
A sapphire is a type of precious gemstone that comes from the mineral corundum taking thousands of years to form deep within the earth’s crust.
Essentially, corundum mineral is a crystallized type of aluminium oxide and forms within crystalline rocks. As magma cools and transformation takes place, sapphires are created within these igneous rocks. The resulting substance is extremely durable, which is due to the short and strong bonds between the oxygen and aluminium particles.
As nature takes its course and changes to the earth’s landscape begin to occur, these rocks are deposited at the surface, mined and transformed into beautiful pieces of jewellery.
What colour is a sapphire?
The most common colour of sapphire is blue, however, it is possible for the precious gemstone to be any shade, hue or tone other than red. Red stones formed in these precise circumstances are classified as rubies.
Sapphires get their colour in the formation process when other minerals seep into the crystal lattice. Presence of titanium is typically what creates blue sapphires, whereas iron turns stones yellow and vanadium purple.
Other colours can include pink, orange, green and white.
What are the properties of a sapphire?
Sapphires showcase a number of properties which add to their desirability. These include:
- Durability - sapphires scored 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, surpassed only by diamonds which scored 10
- Unique formation - due to the natural formation of the stone, every sapphire is unique in colour, clarity and carat
- Diversity - sapphires are available in a diverse range of colours catering to every style and preference
- Meaning - having been around for centuries, sapphires have taken on a variety of meanings, spanning spiritual properties to marking special milestones
What is the meaning of a sapphire gemstone?
Over the many years, sapphires have been used to symbolise a variety of occasions, meanings and milestones. Most commonly, sapphires represent the birthstone for the month of September. They are believed to protect those born in the month against negativity and bring structure and order to their life.
However, historically, sapphires have taken on a plethora of other spiritual meanings. For example, before heading off to battle in the Crusades, men gifted sapphire engagement rings to their fiancés in a bid to test their loyalty and faithfulness. It was believed that the stone would change colour if they had broken their partner’s trust while away.
Sapphires also have significant meaning in various religions. The stone is mentioned throughout the Bible, and in Buddhism, it is believed that sapphires help in meditation and enlightenment.
Holistic practitioners today believe sapphire stones offer a number of healing properties. For instance, they are said to be beneficial to issues involving the thyroid and swollen glands, as well as in treating depression.
Types of sapphire jewellery
Due to the many properties and historical, spiritual and religious significance of sapphire gemstones, jewellery showcasing the precious stone is incredibly popular. Over the years, jewellers have also been able to perfect their skills in cutting, shaping and setting sapphire stones, making the pieces on offer today, some of the most beautiful yet.
Here at Paul Sheeran, we have an extensive range of sapphire jewellery in our collection, including beautifully handcrafted pendants, bracelets, rings and more. Peruse our collection of sapphire pieces here:
- 0.29ct oval sapphire pendant 18ct white gold chain
- Oval sapphire stone diamond drop earring 18ct white gold
- 2.73ct sapphire drop pendant 18ct white gold chain
- 2.49ct oval sapphire stone diamond cluster earring 18ct white gold
How to care for sapphires
As a precious stone, sapphires need to be cared for to keep them in their best possible condition. The durability of the stone helps prevent scratches, chips and cracks rendering them a popular choice for everyday pieces of jewellery, such as engagement rings. However, to increase the longevity of your jewellery, it’s important to carefully clean and polish your sapphire pieces regularly.
The best way to ensure this is done thoroughly and in a way which will prevent accidental damage, is by taking your sapphire jewellery to a skilled and knowledgeable professional. They will know which tools and chemicals to use, and which to avoid for risk of corroding or marking the surface of the stones and metal.
What about sapphire crystal?
If you’re a watch enthusiast, or are interested in investing in a luxury piece, it’s likely you are familiar with sapphire crystal, or sapphire glass as it is sometimes called. While sapphire gemstones typically found in fine jewellery are generally naturally formed and mined, sapphire glass is usually lab-created as it requires larger sizes and in transparent form, which is rarer when left to nature.
Sapphire glass is used to create the protective window of a watch, and many other luxury and valuable items, including phone screens. Although formed in controlled settings, the science behind the substance remains the same. Therefore, sapphire glass possesses many of the same properties, including durability, which is why it is desirable for luxury items.
Can sapphire glass scratch?
Yes, it is possible for sapphire glass to scratch but it takes a considerable amount of effort and only a select few materials to do it. This is because sapphire is scored at 9 on the Mohs hardness scale and only those with a higher hardness score are able to cause significant damage to sapphire.
As it’s rare to come into contact with a material that fits this description on a daily basis, the chances of scratching a watch with sapphire crystal protection are low.
How to tell if your watch glass is sapphire
Sapphire crystal clearly has its benefits when it comes to watches. Understandably, you want to be sure that your watch is protected by its characteristics if it claims to be made from the material.
There are a number of tests you can perform in order to determine whether or not your watch is made from sapphire crystal. First you can try tapping the glass - sapphire crystal is much more dense than other glass types, so will make a lower frequency sound.
Another way to test the glass type of your watch is by performing a water test. This is where you put a drop of water on the glass. On sapphire crystal, the water will form small pearls, whereas on other types of glass, it will simply smear (ensure your watch is water resistant before performing this test).
Finally, you can speak to an expert. You should always purchase your luxury watches from a reputable retailer, but if you’ve been gifted a timepiece, you can bring it to a watch expert, like us, and we will be able to use our experience, professional tools and expertise to confirm the details of your watch.
For more information about sapphire jewellery and its use in watches, please do not hesitate to get in touch.