To get the best possible sapphire wedding band it is not necessary to know all about sapphires, but obviously the more you know the better your chances of getting the best possible sapphire wedding band available.
The word Sapphire, from the Hebrew word Sapir, is the single-crystal form of aluminum oxide (Al2O3), a mineral known as corundum. It can be found naturally as gemstones or manufactured in large crystal boules for a variety of applications.
The corundum group consists of pure aluminum oxide. Trace amounts of other elements such as iron and chromium give sapphires their blue, red, yellow, pink, purple, orange or greenish color. Sapphire includes any gemstone quality varieties of the mineral corundum including the red variety, which is also known as ruby.
Blue sapphires come in a wide range of shades of blue and Titanium and iron inclusions within the aluminum oxide create the different shades of blue.
Most of all sapphires are heated to a temperature of up to around 1800°C for several hours and some stones are also heated in a nitrogen deficient atmosphere ovens for a week now. The purpose of this is to give the stone a better color.
You can find out if a stone has been heated by looking under magnification. If the needles are unbroken, then the stone was not heated. If the silk is not visible then the stone was heated adequately. If the silk is partially broken then a process known as low tube heat was used.
Low tube heat is the process where the rough stone is heated to 1300 °C for 20 to 30 minutes over charcoal. This takes out any gray or brown in the stone and improves color saturation.
You can also get fancy sapphires. These are any sapphire other than blue or red. Purple sapphires are lower in price than blue ones. These stones contain the trace element vanadium and come in a wide variety of shades. Yellow and green sapphires have traces of iron which gives them their color. Pink sapphires are have trace element of chromium and the deeper the color pink the higher the value as long as the color is going toward red of rubies. Color shift sapphires are blue in outdoor light and purple in indoor light.
Colour changes may also be pink in daylight to greenish in fluorescent light. Some stones shift color well and others only partially, in that some stones go from blue to blue purple. White sapphires usually come out of the ground as light gray or brown and are then heated to make them clear. However in very rare circumstances they will be found in a clear state.
The sapphire has long symbolized truth, sincerity, and faithfulness. Tradition holds that Moses was given the ten commandments on tablets of sapphire, making it the most sacred gemstone. Because sapphires represent divine favor, they were the gemstone of choice for kings and high priests. The British Crown Jewels are full of large blue sapphires, the symbol of pure and wise rulers.
Since sapphire symbolizes sincerity and faithfulness, it is an excellent choice for an engagement ring. When Prince Charles chose a sapphire engagement ring for Princess Diana, couples all over the world were inspired to revive this venerable tradition.
Sapphire is also the birthstone for September, the month when the most babies are born. Ancient lists also name sapphire as a birthstone for April and the gemstone for the sign of Taurus.
“Fine blue sapphires are tremendously undervalued,” says David Federman, United States author of Consumer Guide to Colored Gemstones and other gem books. “Fine Kashmir and Burma sapphires are much rarer than Burma rubies and yet they are available for much less. Even fine Sri Lankan sapphires are rare to see these days. There is nothing more restful to the soul than a fine sapphire.”
End of part one of Sapphire Wedding Band. Part two and three can be seen at http://allaboutsapphires.org.
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