Often blue, but also available in many colours (except red), sapphire is a hugely popular type of corundum.
A broad family of gems of every colour except red (which is ruby). Most famous is the blue variety, known simply as ‘sapphire’, while all other colours are known as ‘fancy’ varieties, such as pink sapphire, purple sapphire, yellow sapphire etc.
Sapphire has been mined and traded for thousands of years.
Sri Lanka is one of the oldest origins, for blue and other colours, while Burma and Kashmir have traditionally produced the most valuable blue gems. Blues and greens especially are also found in America and Australia. More recently, Africa - especially Madagascar and Tanzania - has become an important producing country for all colours. The most common treatments are heating and diffusion, which must be disclosed. Sapphire is a popular engagement ring choice (especially since Prince Charles gave Lady Diana a sapphire engagement ring, which later passed to Katherine from Prince William) as it represents loyalty and trust as well as nobility and royalty. Sapphire is 9 on Mohs Scale of hardness and the birthstone for September.
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