Summertime Blues ~
The photo collage above is inspired by the painting by Kathleen Chaney Fritz, “Day at the Big Lake – Grand Haven, Michigan”. I’ve had a few dreams this Summer about walking down a white sandy beach, when something very sparkly catches the warm sunlight.
I was so surprised to find blue crystals in pointed rock formations! I felt an immediate sense of panic—trying to imagine how I was gonna’ lug all the stones home in my beach bag—and then I woke up! Since then, I’ve had a few opportunities to stroll down the beaches on Lake Michigan to capture a sunset. Fast-forward to now, well, it’s September, and time to share my research about the beloved blue gemstone, Sapphire. No, I don’t think we can find a Sapphire on the beach in Michigan, maybe just blue sea glass and a Petoskey Stone. If you want to go to where Sapphires are mined, buy a ticket to Montana, Sri Lanka, Africa, Eastern Australia, China, Thailand, or Madagascar.
The Gemstone of Rainbows ~
According to my favorite jewelry store, The Miners Den, Sapphires come from the gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, wherein the trace elements present during its formation give it its color: iron, titanium, chromium, copper, and magnesium create blue, yellow, purple, orange, and green respectively. In addition to the purple, chromium impurities can also yield pink or red corundum. (This red corundum is called “ruby”, and all stones marketed as “red sapphires” have been heat-treated to create the deep red you see.) Depending how much Chromium is in the mineral will determine what gemstone it becomes. Sapphires are mined in many shades of gray, black and clear. The real deal however, is vibrant blue Sapphire.
How do I know if my Sapphire is authentic, synthetic or simulated?
• Sapphires are next after the diamond on the Mohs hardness scale of 9.
• Natural Sapphires should come with a Certificate to prove the stone’s origin.
• A natural Sapphire will have inclusions visible with a Jewelers loupe.
• A clear, natural Sapphire, with no inclusions is very rare and extremely valuable.
• Synthetic or lab-created Sapphires are heat-treated to enhance color.
• Sapphires comes in many colors of the rainbow, and can be referred to as “Fancy”
• Simulated Sapphires come from quartz or tourmaline and are heat-treated.
Light My Sapphire ~
On August 29, 1984, an article from The Wall Street Journal was published about heat-treated gemstones. It helped to fire a thunderstorm of animosity by the gem industry, because it was not well-known that precious gemstones were heat-treated. The orange-pink Sapphire, Padparadscha, also derived from Corundum, are extremely rare and totally natural, with no sign of artificial heat-treatment. Mined now in Vietnam and Eastern Africa, these amazing gems can be worth more than the very finest blue Sapphires. Can you believe $50,000 per carat!
Now you know that a Sapphire is not only a blue stone. I was watching Jewelry TV last week, when they mentioned a Pink Sapphire, calling it “Morganite” from Beryl. But we know now, Sapphires come from the mineral Corundum, not Beryl.
Thank you for reading my research & rantings! You are truly awesome!
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