Five Things You Didn’t Know About Sapphires

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The birthstone of September may be one of the most expensive gems in the world, but besides its immediate beauty and the way it is prized for its gorgeous color, strength, durability and sheen, there are still some little known facts about the precious sapphire:

Sapphire Blues

Given that one of the many synonyms for ‘blue’ is ‘sapphire’, it might not be a surprise that the first thing that comes to mind when you think about sapphires is a certain cerulean hue. Don’t be mistaken, though – while the most well-known version of the precious stone is certainly the blue sapphire, it also exists in a great spectrum of colors including yellow, green and orange. There isn’t, however, such a thing as a ‘red sapphire’, in which case you would call it a ‘ruby’ instead.

Rarest of them all

Of the many variety of sapphires, the ‘padparadscha’ bears an unusual salmon hue that often lies ambiguously between pink, yellow and orange. A point conclusion on its color range has not been reached after decades of debate, but the highly sought-after ‘padparadscha’, which is Sanskrit for ‘lotus flower’, is certainly the rarest of them all.

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Tough Cookie

In addition to its brilliant hue, the sapphire is among the world’s toughest and most durable naturally occurring elements. Sapphires, along with rubies, have a value of ‘9’ on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, where the only mineral that ranks above it is the diamond, which has a value of ‘10’.

Lovely Luminescence

Among the more fascinating varieties of sapphire, the exceptionally rare color change sapphire has the strange ability to exhibit different hues when viewed under different lighting, like a brilliant blue in the daylight or a pretty purple in artificial light. Though blue is the most common shade, the color change sapphire also occurs in a variety of other colors.

Mental Medicine

Besides being the birthstone for September, the sapphire is also prized for its purported ability to provide tranquility and mental clarity, thanks to its deep blue ‘rays’ and trace elements. In the ancient world, the sapphire has also been used to alleviate and sooth various ailments including hiccups, headaches, eye strain and even cancer.

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