Sapphires and Rubies

These two beautiful gemstones are becoming so sought after by the world’s cleverest money that I am regularly asked by private clients to source these two gems for their collections. Again with these gems, laboratory certificates are essential to show two points that are of vital importance. 

The first point is the origin of the gemstones. Sapphires are found in many parts of the world, including Australia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and the United States. The most famous sapphire deposits are found in Kashmir, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Sapphires from Kashmir are considered the most valuable and rare because of their intense, velvety blue colour and fine silk inclusions.

The second point on a sapphire certificate is whether the stone has been treated by heat to enhance its colour and clarity artificially and whether the stone has none or minor heat treatment or more effective heat treatment; this applies to sapphires and rubies and significantly reduces value when found.

sapphire necklace

Sapphire

Sapphire is a precious gemstone that belongs to the corundum mineral family. It is typically blue in color, but it can also come in a wide range of other colours, such as yellow, pink, purple, green, and orange. In fact, sapphire is found in almost every colour except red, which is classified as ruby.

Sapphires are one of the hardest gemstones, measuring 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, which makes them very durable and suitable for everyday wear. They are also very lustrous and have a brilliant shine, which is why they are often used in fine jewellery, including engagement rings, earrings, necklaces, and bracelets.

Sapphires are found in many parts of the world, including Australia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, India, and the United States. The most famous sapphire deposits are found in Kashmir, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Sapphires from Kashmir are considered the most valuable and rare because of their intense, velvety blue colour and fine silk inclusions.

Sapphire gemstones are often associated with wisdom, truth, and royalty. In ancient times, sapphires were believed to protect the wearer from harm and bring good luck. Today, sapphire is the birthstone for September and is often given as a gift for 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.

sapphire and diamond pendant

Sapphire Deposits

Kashmir, India

Kashmir is the holy grail of sapphires and no longer produces many sapphires. These stones are highly prized and rocket in value every year; they are extremely rare.  The blue is mesmerising in its beauty. 

Kashmir Sapphires is another example of buying the best and seeing the value grow. These sapphires are not only the rarest but are also considered the world’s most beautiful due to their colour and purity. It is generally accepted that Kashmir sapphires have set the standard by which all other blue sapphires are evaluated.

These sapphires have medium to medium-dark tones of violet-blue to blue. They are known for their violet-blue colour and “velvety” or “sleepy” transparency (caused by fine rutile needle inclusions called “silk”). Unfortunately, most Kashmir sapphires found today are in antique or vintage jewellery

Myanmar (formerly Burma)

This area is predominantly famous for its Ruby, Myanmar produces sapphires of outstanding beauty. Supplies of Burmese sapphires have unfortunately become very rare, making these stones highly desirable and highly valuable.  Trading in gemstones is illegal in Myanmar today. Present-day Myanmar is a well-known source of the world’s top-quality rubies and fine sapphires. Sapphires in this region can be huge and come in various colours, including colourless, purple, violet, blue, green, and pink. Burmese sapphires are different from Kashmir sapphires in their tone and colour distribution. Kashmir sapphires are medium to medium-dark, and Burmese sapphires can range from medium to darker tones. Hues in Burmese sapphires are like Kashmir and Sri Lankan sapphires but are more evenly distributed and are often called “electric blue” in colour.

 Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon).

Sri Lanka still produces natural Sapphires though not in great numbers. These gems are highly prized when excellent colour and clarity are found.

These sapphires are still called Ceylon Sapphires and are highly prized by collectors and jewellery lovers for their gorgeous luminosity and brilliance. Most of the fine-quality sapphires available today come from Sri Lanka, which produces a wide range of beautiful blues with rich saturated hues. Other colours from Sri Lanka include vibrant pinks and violets (rarer than blue) and the pinkish-orange sapphire called “Padparadscha”, found only in Sri Lanka. The deep blue colours of Ceylon sapphires are considered among the finest sapphires available and are known for their transparent surface that glitters. These sapphires are ultimately known for their higher clarity, rutile silk needles, and fingerprint inclusions. Sri Lanka produces an estimated 60% blue, 35% yellow and orange, and 15% pink or purple coloured sapphires.

Ruby

Ruby is a precious gemstone known for its deep red color, which is caused by the presence of the mineral corundum. Ruby is a variety of the mineral corundum, which also includes sapphires. It is one of the most valuable gemstones in the world, and it has been prized for its beauty and durability for thousands of years.

The colour of a ruby can range from a light pinkish-red to a deep blood red, and the most valuable rubies are a bright, vivid red colour. The colour is determined by the amount of chromium present in the gemstone.

Rubies are found in many parts of the world, including Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand, Sri Lanka, and East Africa. The quality of rubies can vary depending on their source, with the most valuable rubies coming from Myanmar.

In addition to their beauty, rubies have been associated with various mystical properties throughout history. In some cultures, rubies were believed to protect the wearer from evil and bring good fortune, and they were also thought to have healing properties.

ruby ring with large centre ruby surrounded by diamonds

Ruby gemstones are popular in jewellery and are often used in engagement rings and other fine jewellery. They are also used in watches and other high-end luxury goods. Ruby is the birthstone for July, and it is a traditional gift for couples celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary.

With regard to the certification, the same applies to rubies, but the origin is almost always required to be from Myanmar. Myanmar no longer produces Rubies.  It has produced the most fabulous red rubies, and these stones are rising in value yearly.  They are extremely rare when the right colour and clarity are present. The purchase of these gemstones is possible, with the correct advice.

Rubies are ‘the’ investment stone. Rubies often contain inclusions called ‘silk’, caused by needle-like crystals of rutile. The inclusions sometimes form in such a way as to produce what is known as a star ruby. These are cabochon cut-orientated to display the star. Large crystals over five carats are rare, and a lot needs to be recovered in mowing due to colour variations. They are highly prized and expensive.

plain ruby ring

New sources of stones are being discovered with regularity. The best colour to look for when buying rubies is a pigeon blood colour, but stones of this quality are rare and very expensive. Thailand, Tanzania, and Madagascar (formerly the Malagasy Republic) also produce stones but rarely of the quality of the Burmese stones. Sri Lanka, which has the most incredible variety of gemstones, also provides rubies, most of which are pale, but occasionally intense reds are discovered. Pale red colours are classified as pink sapphire.

For more information on sapphires, visit the GIA Sapphire Gemstone page.

For more information on rubies, visit the GIA Ruby Gemstone page.

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