Sapphires come in all the colours of the rainbow. Commonly thought of as a blue stone, different trace elements, such as iron, titanium, chromium, copper or magnesium, lead to sapphires with a variety of colours. Corundum, which is the family of gem stones that includes sapphires and rubies, is the second hardest stone after diamond. The most well-known sapphires include Ceylon, Burmese and Kashmir sapphires, named after the origin of the stone. Sources of sapphires include Australia, India, Madagascar, Malawi, Myanmar (Burma), Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the United States.
The most sought-after sapphires are of a deep blue colour, although each colour has its own quality variations. In general, the more intense the colour, the more valuable the stone. Many other factors affect the beauty of a stone, such as colour zoning and inclusions in the stone.
Sapphires can sometimes be pleochroic, meaning that they may appear a different colour in a different angle or light. These are sometimes known as colour-changing sapphires.
One of the most recognized sapphire jewels is Princess Diana’s engagement ring, which was brought back into vogue by the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
Sapphires are often a symbol of nobility, wisdom, virtue, sincerity and good fortune.