The Royal Blue
Sapphire in blue comes from the same mineral species as Ruby in red, corundum variety. It also comes in other fancy colors such as violet, green, orange, yellow, pink, gray and some with intermediate hues. Sapphire comes in varieties. Its intensely saturated and velvety blue color, one of the most beautiful blue that set the standard of a sapphire comes from Kashmir. A rare and valuable pinkish-orange sapphire is called Padparascha, was names from a Sinhalese word ‘padma-ranga’ meaning the color of a lotus blossom.
Corundum can show a phenomenon called asterism, or the star effect. This phenomenon usually appears as a six-ray star pattern across a cabochon-cut stone’s curved surface called “star sapphire”. The star effect can be seen in ruby or any color of sapphire, and it arises from white light reflecting from numerous tiny, oriented needle-like inclusions. This phenomenon on red stones is known as “star rubies”.
History has it that Sapphire allegedly protecting those close to you as well as inspiring loyalty and trust. Traditionally, sapphire symbolizes nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness. It has adorned the robes and props of royalty and clergy members for centuries. Sapphire has always been associated with royalty and romance. This association was reinforced when Prince Charles of Britain presented a blue sapphire engagement ring to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981. Princess Di’s sapphire ring helped to link current and modern events with history and fairy tales. The blue sapphire ring is currently worn by The Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton.
Sri Lanka is one of the biggest producers for sapphire, besides Madagascar, Kashmir, Myanmar, Australia and Tanzania. I visited an old museum in Galle that display sapphires besides other historical evidence. They are still using the old ways of mining in Sri Lanka, and even allow visitors to go down the mining area to observe the process of searching for sapphires.
During my journey to Sri Lanka in June 2018, Sapphires were sold in many gem shops with varieties of colors and grades. It’s hard to tell the real quality and price range with little experience that I had. The shops in Colombo have its own fair share with the amount of beautiful and vivid color sapphires that were showcased in the shops. I managed to buy some in the city of Galle, at the post-colonial row of shops by the beach. They have a certification office for tourist to get our purchased sapphire certified before bringing it outside the country and back home. It is true, my observation tells me that people are becoming very fond of sapphires because of its captivating royal blue, and in Sri Lanka the most popular ones are the Ceylon Blue Sapphire, an extremely valuable gem refers to as Neelam.
The kings and queens of ancient Greece and Rome were convinced that blue sapphires protected their owners from envy and harm. These days, sapphires are worn because of its rarity, value and personal collection of rare items.