Brazil, Burma, Columbia, India, Sri Lanka
All colours except Red
Sapphire is the name for all corundum and found in a great variety of colours, except ruby red, but usually associated with the colour blue.
Next to diamond, sapphire is the hardest mineral on Earth and found in pegmatites or as water worn pebbles in alluvial deposits.
The best Indian sapphire is found in Kashmir, distinctive for its cornflower blue colour, and the most famous sapphire of all is the 536 carat ‘Star of India’, the largest known star sapphire.
Today, sapphire is a popular gemstone choice for an engagement ring, perhaps due to the most famous engagement ring of all – the 12 carat Ceylon sapphire originally owned by Diana, Princess of Wales. Sapphires were worn by royalty throughout history, considered a symbol of good fortune, virtue and wisdom. Since the Middle Ages, sapphire also symbolizes the tranquillity of the heavens, suppressing wicked and impure thoughts.
All gem quality corundum that is not red is called sapphire. (Red corundum is called ruby). Therefore, sapphire can be blue, black, purple, orange, yellow, pink, green or colourless. If no additional descriptive colour is given it can be assumed that blue sapphire is meant. The most desirable colour in sapphire is pure cornflower blue. Good quality sapphire is found in Burma, Sri Lanka and India. Sapphire from Thailand, Australia and Nigeria is dark blue and may appear nearly black. There is a variety of orange-pink sapphire called Padparadschah, which is very rare and the only variety of corundum, other than ruby, that is given its own name. Large sapphires are rare and can be very valuable. Corundum is the second hardest gemstone after diamond, although it is only 1/140th as hard and scratches and chips can occur. Commercial quantities of synthetic sapphire became available in the early twentieth century but synthetic sapphire can be distinguished from natural sapphire by gem testing laboratories. Sapphire is the birthstone for September.