Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio

Corundum in Blue

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 2.00.45 PM
“The Best Revenge” by Eve Alfillé

Something not immediately apparent to most people (in case you’re looking to impress your friends with your gem knowledge) is that in its purest form, the sapphire is actually completely colorless! A perfect blend of aluminum and oxygen, it is only once rogue elements like iron, titanium, and chromium infiltrate the pure corundum that colors of all sorts start to form: sapphires that can range from lemon and sun yellow, to vivid pinks and lovely violets, to soulful greens…all the while still remaining true to the “sapphire” name. Pure corundum is so infrequent, in fact, that transparent sapphires are quite rare.

…But for all of the ‘fancy’ options out there, of course, who can imagine sapphires without immediately seeing a vision of blue?

Quite simply, though sapphires exist in just about every shade imaginable (but for ruby red), blue is by and far the “poster child” of sapphires. Indeed, the very namesake of the sapphire is sappheiros,” or “blue” in Greek. Rather than posing a limit, however, this single color has taken on an entire array of hues and intensities; from the palest of dawn-blues to the deep blue of the cornflower. Typically, the more intense the color saturation, the more desirable the stone. A wonderful example of an intense, true blue can be seen in Eve’s lush 1.49 carat sapphire from the boldly-titled ring, “The Best Revenge.”

The most deeply coveted shade of bluekashmir_sapphire_group in the world, however, is incredibly rare. Coming from a tiny little corner of the Himalayan Mountains in Kashmir, India, these sparkling beauties are widely known for their deep, slightly clouded center, which produces an incredibly rich and velvety visual effect. Kashmir sapphires are so hard to come by today due to the exhaustion of the original mines over a century ago…now they are usually available only in older jewelry items. A few Kashmir sapphires of note throughout history include the famous stone which graced the royal fingers of Princess Diana and Duchess Kate Middleton. Other noteworthy dames to don a Kashmir include Princess Alice (the Duchess of Gloucester,) Kristie Alley, Susan Sarandon, Sara Ferguson (the Duchess of York,) and Ivana Trump, among others.

Screen Shot 2014-09-17 at 12.44.24 PM
“Interchange” by Eve Alfillé

Finally, no discussion about the physical attributes of the sapphire would be complete without mentioning star sapphires, such as Eve’s smoky-blue “Interchange” pendant pictured left. In a phenomenon known as “asterism,” strands of rutile running through the stone (what gemologists refer to as “silk”) produce a brilliant, six-pronged star shape appearing within the stone. This visual phenomenon was once believemain_blackstard to bring protection against witchcraft to the ancient Sinhalese, equating the star within the stone with eye agate in its ability to guard against the “Evil Eye.” Though star sapphires are rarely seen in a deep blue, these stones can range a broad color spectrum: in fact, the largest sapphire in the world, the “Black Star of Queensland” is a hefty 733-carat black star sapphire.

If your desire for sapphiric facts remains unsated, please keep coming back to our blog for more as we continue to keep you posted throughout the month of September with a wide array of dazzling facts about this month’s birthstone! Or, you can click on to read our previous installment about fancy sapphires, “A Sapphire of a Different Color.”