The World's Most Useful
Gem & Jewelry Monthly Newsletter
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Usable Gems... and a little opinion.
September Birthstone Is
The September birthstone is sapphire.
This month we continue our
series on birthstones that will provide answers to questions like...
is my birthstone?"
if I don't like the color of my birthstone?"
if I can't afford my birthstone?"
Sapphire is named for the blue variety of the mineral
corundum. But... we now use the name sapphire for all colors of gem corundum
except red. (As you know, red corundum is known as ruby.)
Because the September birthstone is sapphire, September
babies have a huge choice in the color of the birthstone they choose.
Sapphire occurs in just about every color, and colorless
(Called white sapphire).
Many September babies make it a point to own their
birthstone in several colors.
||Click on the box...
and have Google start putting money in your bank account!
Color can be a big deal among those in the gemstone trade. The dividing
line between ruby and sapphire is unclear when it comes to pink
sapphire, or purple sapphire, or even padparadscha (pink-orange)
Up until about a hundred years ago pink sapphires were known as female
rubies, while the deeper red stones were called male rubies.
Personally, I prefer to live with the ambiguity between what's a red
ruby and what's a pink - or purple - or orange sapphire.
Sapphire is arguably the most popular gemstone of all. Every year
sapphire is among the top three selling gems, and most years it seems to
be at the very top of that list.
Optical phenomena sapphires also are popular. Star sapphires and
color change sapphires are more in demand each year.
The popularity of sapphire has led to the development of enhancement
treatments. Some treatments such as heating can improve the appearance
of a stone's color and clarity.
Heating can deepen color and drive out many readily visible
inclusions. Many of the sapphire gems sold today have been treated in
Diffusion is a more recently developed treatment (1970's) where a
natural coloring agent such as iron or beryllium is driven into the top
layer of a gem by heat and pressure. Diffusion treated sapphires must be
identified as such at every stage of supply:
||from cooker (treater)
||to gem dealer
||to jewelry manufacturer
||to retail customer
The marquise shaped blue sapphire shown at the beginning of this article
is diffusion treated.
Sapphire synthetics are also being manufactured. This is done in a
manufacturing laboratory setting by using the same chemical elements
(aluminum and oxygen) and a tiny amount of coloring element such as
iron, beryllium or another element, depending on the color desired.
In one lab method, this chemical soup is subjected to precise pressures
and (high) temperatures for precise amounts of time. The result is a
laboratory grown sapphire crystal.
Synthetic sapphire must be
disclosed the same as diffusion treated natural sapphire, and is
readily identifiable by gemologists.
Sapphire is available in a wide price range, from around $100 per
carat to many thousands per carat. A natural, but diffusion treated blue
sapphire sells for significantly less and can be a good option.
sell for much less and carry the stigma of not being "real,"
because they are manmade.
Natural sapphire comes from many countries. Important sources
include Sri Lanka, India, Pakistan, Thailand, Cambodia, Australia, Tanzania, and
Sapphire is very hard, dense, and durable. These qualities
plus the beauty and color varieties available make sapphire a fantastic
September babies are fortunate to have sapphire for their birthstone.
I have several nice sapphire gems and rings in stock at the moment. Send
me an email to get details on several that are ready to ship.
A Google search for the keyword phrase sapphire jewelry returns a number of listings and ads for vendors specializing
in production run jewelry pieces.
Gem Industry News...
The Star of India
The American Museum of Natural History comments on one of its gem
The Star of India, at 563 carats, is the largest and most famous star
sapphire in the world.
Formed some 2 billion years ago, it was discovered, allegedly more
than 300 years ago, in Sri Lanka, where excellent sapphires are still to
be found in deposits of sand and gravel left by ancient rivers.
Industrialist and financier J. P. Morgan, a founding patron of this
institution, presented the sapphire to the Museum in 1900. Today, the
Star of India is one of the most renowned objects in all of the Museum's
The presence of the mineral rutile in the Star of India gives the
stone its milky quality
Are you rewarding your customers with discounts or
freebies when they send you a new customer?
These simple gestures will keep the old customers sending you new
The price of gold is still around $635 per
ounce, so if you weren't able to hedge by buying up gold mountings and
findings a couple of years ago, you probably should be buying what you
need now. It just keeps going up.
Do you enjoy jewelry and gems?
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