There is good reason the blue sapphire is the most coveted of all sapphire colours. And here at Metal Urges in Hobart, working with natural and untreated blue sapphire is our specialty. No two are alike; each sapphire’s hue is a little different to the next. Let us introduce you to the world of blue sapphires, where gorgeous tones move from a deep velvety blue to vibrant sky blue.
For those who like to know the technical points, blue sapphires belong to the corundum group. Gemstones in this group are characterised by their hardness – at 9 on the Mohs scale their hardness is only trumped by the diamond and moissanite – which means that blue sapphires are easy to look after and don’t require additional care.
Gemstones in this group consist of near pure aluminium oxide which crystallised into gemstones due to pressure and heat. Pure corundum has no colour, but the presence of iron and titanium trace elements are what give blue sapphires their striking colour.
How we source blue sapphires
Our head designer, Chris Hood, travels worldwide from Tasmania to personally source every blue sapphire we work with. This is no easy task – sapphire deposits are often located in areas that are isolated, politically unstable or environmentally extreme. The main areas include Sri Lanka, Cambodia, India, Madagascar, Australia, Thailand and the US, and each blue sapphire can often be traced back to its origin. A shift in current marketplace and mining conditions means that the blue sapphire has become extremely scarce.
Metal Urges are committed to working ethically when sourcing our beautiful blue sapphires. We like to leave mining communities a little better off by working closely with locals, donating to schools and education, as well as injecting funds into the local economy.
So how do you know which blue sapphires are more valuable than others when looking at our impressive range here in Tasmania? It’s a good idea to look at colour, clarity, cut and size.
Blue sapphire colour
At Metal Urges our blue sapphire colour range is extensive. Our rare gems are filled with vivid and saturated hues – so how can you gauge value based on colour? In general terms, the more intense the blue is, and the fewer distracting zones of other colours, the more valuable the stone is.
Colour happens to be the most important factor when assessing a blue sapphire’s value. The most sought after blue sapphires are those with a velvety to violetish blue. Medium to medium dark tones are preferable with strong to vivid colour saturation. Blue sapphires with strong saturation (without darkening the colour and affecting brightness) are considered the most valuable.
Blue sapphire clarity
Blue sapphires with very high clarity are rare, and therefore considered highly valuable. Typically, blue sapphires have some inclusions of various types. Long thin mineral inclusions are referred to as needles and other clarity characteristics include mineral crystals, semi healed feathers, colour zoning and colour banding.
Most often inclusions mean that a blue sapphire is less valuable, and that the stone’s durability is compromised. However, in some cases the value of the sapphire is increased due to inclusions. Velvety Kashmir sapphires often have small inclusions that scatter light and do not affect the gem’s transparency.
Blue sapphire cut
The cut of the blue sapphires we have here in Hobart is dependent on the shape of the rough sapphire crystal. This will often determine a cut stone’s shape and size. The most typical crystal form is a barrel or spindle-shaped hexagonal pyramid.
We seek to achieve the best overall colour, maintain good proportions and hold the greatest weight when we cut. To do this, we take into consideration pleochroism (an optical phenomenon where colours appear to change when observed from different angles), colour zoning, and the darkness of each stone.
Blue sapphire weight
The size of blue sapphires can vary greatly from a few points through to hundreds of carats. Although high quality blue sapphires in larger sizes are far less common, they are still more readily available than large sized rubies. In general, most blue sapphires will weigh under 5.00 carats.
Blue sapphire symbolism
Throughout the ages, the blue sapphire has come to represent loyalty, sincerity, truth and faithfulness. It is not surprising that women in many countries connect strongly with the blue sapphire as an engagement stone.
The sapphire symbolises harmony and loyalty – the colour blue becoming synonymous with reliability. Symbolism of the blue sapphire dates right back to ancient Greek times when wearing these stones was believed to protect from harm. Today, the blue sapphire continues to have strong symbolism and remains one of the most popular gemstones in the world.
View our range online and don’t hesitate to come in and speak to one of our qualified jewellers. After all, we have a soft spot for blue sapphires and love to share our passion.