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Sapphires « Back to Education

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  • SAPPHIRES

    SAPPHIRES

        
    • History
    • Understanding Sapphires

      Understanding Sapphires

      Raw Uncut Sapphire
      Sapphire is one of the hardest natural gemstones. It belongs to the class of minerals called Corundum - second only to diamond in its hardness. When it is red, it is called sapphire, but sapphire is also available in other colors, although blue is the most popular. Unlike diamond, which is made of carbon, sapphire is a combination of aluminum and oxygen.

      Sapphires are so rare and expensive that cutters tend to shape them into ovals or cushions instead of round shapes (more popular in diamonds). Ovals and cushions preserve most of the original rough. Round sapphires are also popular, but their final shape involves removing a lot of rough and they therefore tend to be more expensive than ovals and cushions. The following styles of sapphire are the most popular:
      Emerald Cut Sapphire

      Step Cut/Emerald Cut

      Rows of facets are cut parallel to the sapphire's edge resembling the steps of a staircase. When the corners of the sapphire are clipped, the shape is referred to as an 'emerald' cut. 'Emerald' cuts protect the corners of the sapphire.
      Brilliant Cut Sapphire

      Brilliant Cut

      The facets on brilliant cut gems are triangular, kite or lozenge shaped. A brilliant cut sapphire can have a varying number of facets, but when cut like a diamond, it will have 58 facets. This diamond-cut will not make the sapphire "sparkle" as much as other cuts, mostly because of the difference in light refraction and intensity of color between sapphires and diamonds.
      Mixed Cut Sapphire

      Mixed Cut

      The mixed cut combines step and brilliant cut facets and is the most common faceting style for sapphire. The crown is usually brilliant-cut to enhance sparkle. The pavilion is usually step-cut to save weight and enhance the stone's color.
      Cabochon Cut Sapphire

      Cabochon Cut

      Antique jewelry often features cabochon (Kab-a-shon) sapphires, cut in a convex form (domed with a flat base) and highly polished but not faceted. Cabochon cuts are the simplest, and are therefore the least expensive of the sapphire cuts.
      Other cuts and carvings (designs cut into the sapphire) also exist, but they are less popular and are not dealt with here.
      In Association with Amazon.com

      Buy Books about Diamonds and Gems

      Gemnation has partnered with Amazon.com to bring you
      the most relevant diamond, gem and ring buying books and guides.
    • Color
    • Mining Location
    • Clarity
    • Cut
    • Treatments
    • Gemnation Sapphires
  • BOOKS

    BOOKS

  • GLOSSARY

    GLOSSARY

Understanding Sapphires

Raw Uncut Sapphire
Sapphire is one of the hardest natural gemstones. It belongs to the class of minerals called Corundum - second only to diamond in its hardness. When it is red, it is called sapphire, but sapphire is also available in other colors, although blue is the most popular. Unlike diamond, which is made of carbon, sapphire is a combination of aluminum and oxygen.

Sapphires are so rare and expensive that cutters tend to shape them into ovals or cushions instead of round shapes (more popular in diamonds). Ovals and cushions preserve most of the original rough. Round sapphires are also popular, but their final shape involves removing a lot of rough and they therefore tend to be more expensive than ovals and cushions. The following styles of sapphire are the most popular:
Emerald Cut Sapphire

Step Cut/Emerald Cut

Rows of facets are cut parallel to the sapphire's edge resembling the steps of a staircase. When the corners of the sapphire are clipped, the shape is referred to as an 'emerald' cut. 'Emerald' cuts protect the corners of the sapphire.
Brillian Cut Sapphire

Brilliant Cut

The facets on brilliant cut gems are triangular, kite or lozenge shaped. A brilliant cut sapphire can have a varying number of facets, but when cut like a diamond, it will have 58 facets. This diamond-cut will not make the sapphire "sparkle" as much as other cuts, mostly because of the difference in light refraction and intensity of color between sapphires and diamonds.
Mixed Cut Sapphire

Mixed Cut

The mixed cut combines step and brilliant cut facets and is the most common faceting style for sapphire. The crown is usually brilliant-cut to enhance sparkle. The pavilion is usually step-cut to save weight and enhance the stone's color.
Cabochon Cut Sapphire

Cabochon Cut

Antique jewelry often features cabochon (Kab-a-shon) sapphires, cut in a convex form (domed with a flat base) and highly polished but not faceted. Cabochon cuts are the simplest, and are therefore the least expensive of the sapphire cuts.
Other cuts and carvings (designs cut into the sapphire) also exist, but they are less popular and are not dealt with here.
In Association with Amazon.com

Buy Books about Diamonds and Gems

Gemnation has partnered with Amazon.com to bring you
the most relevant diamond, gem and ring buying books and guides.
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