Sapphire is one of the four most precious gemstones known to man, along with diamond, emerald, and ruby. The gemstone is desirable not only for its natural beauty but also for its durability and hardness. Sapphire is a member of the mineral family known as corundum which is an aluminum oxide mineral. The corundum family consists of ruby, padparadscha, and sapphire, with sapphire being the only one available in various colors. One of the most popular colors of sapphire is the cornflower blue sapphire which has captured the hearts of many jewelry enthusiasts around the world. This article will explore the origins, properties, and uses of the cornflower blue sapphire.
Origins of Cornflower Blue Sapphire:
Cornflower blue sapphire gets its name from the vibrant blue color that resembles the petals of a cornflower plant. The blue hue is due to the presence of trace elements of titanium and iron in the mineral composition. Although sapphire crystals are found in various parts of the world, the finest quality cornflower blue sapphires originate from Kashmir, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Kashmir sapphires are celebrated worldwide for their impeccable quality and rarity.
The mines in Kashmir, India, closed down in the late 1800s due to depleted resources and political unrest, making Kashmir sapphires some of the priciest sapphires in the market today. A perfect example is the “Star of Bombay” which is a 182-carat cornflower blue sapphire, discovered in Sri Lanka in 1920 and currently valued at $100 million.
Myanmar or Burmese sapphires are considered the most sought after sapphires in the world, second only to Kashmir sapphires, due to their rich, vivid blue color. Myanmar sapphires are found in the Mogok Valley, known as the “Valley of Rubies and Sapphires” for over 800 years. Sri Lankan sapphires were mined in Sri Lanka since ancient times, with records dating back to the 2nd century B.C. Sri Lankan sapphires are famous for their lighter, pastel blue hues, and their gem-quality sapphires have a reputation for being some of the most beautiful in the world.
Properties of Cornflower Blue Sapphire:
The properties of cornflower blue sapphire are what make it one of the most desired gemstones in the world.
- Hardness: Cornflower blue sapphire rates nine out of ten on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it the second hardest mineral after diamond. Due to its incredible durability, a piece of cornflower blue sapphire will endure for a lifetime without chipping or scratching, making it perfect for everyday use in jewelry.
- Color: Cornflower blue sapphire is prized for its intense, vivid blue color. According to the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), cornflower blue sapphires have a medium to medium-dark saturation and a strong blue hue with violet undertones.
- Clarity: Cornflower blue sapphires with fewer inclusions are more valuable, but the presence of inclusions does not necessarily lower their value. Inclusions can give the sapphire a unique character and add to its allure.
- Cut: Cutting a sapphire carefully is essential to achieve the ideal balance between size, clarity, and color. The most common cut for cornflower blue sapphires is the oval or cushion shape, but they can also be cut into various other shapes, including round, emerald, pear, or marquise.
- Treatment: Most blue sapphires undergo heat treatment to enhance the color and remove internal inclusions. The treatment is an accepted practice in the gemstone industry, and almost all sapphires are heat-treated unless otherwise indicated.
Uses of Cornflower Blue Sapphire:
Cornflower blue sapphire is a versatile gemstone that can be used in various forms of jewelry, including rings, necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and tiaras. Blue sapphire is the traditional birthstone for those born in September and also for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.
- Engagement Rings: Sapphires have become an increasingly popular choice for engagement rings, and cornflower blue sapphire is no exception. The royal blue color of cornflower blue sapphire represents tranquility, sincerity, and loyalty, making it the perfect gemstone to incorporate into a piece of jewelry symbolizing love and commitment.
- Fashion Jewelry: Cornflower blue sapphire is also used in fashion jewelry, such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings, to add a touch of elegance and color to any outfit. The pop of blue makes it ideal for pairing with neutral shades such as black, white, or beige.
Cornflower blue sapphire is one of the most prized gemstones in the world, revered for its intense blue color and remarkable durability. The sapphire has a rich history, with the finest specimens originating from Kashmir, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Its versatility makes it ideal for any form of jewelry, from engagement rings to fashion pieces. Cornflower blue sapphire will continue to captivate and inspire lovers of fine jewelry for many years to come.