To this day, natural Sapphire remains one of the most sought after common gemstones used in earrings and other jewelry, right next to Emerald and Ruby. While not the most expensive gemstone, Sapphire still is one of the most prestigious, most beautiful and not in any way cheap.
Among other things, Sapphire is known for the color blue it often possesses, its incredible rigidity and ability to withstand damage most other gemstones cannot and is traditionally used in engagement rings and various kinds of expensive earrings and jewelry.
But what is Sapphire’s hidden ingredient? What makes it so special that today, more people are buying Sapphire compared to almost any other gemstone on the market?
Let’s find out, shall we?
Difference between Natural and Artificial Sapphire
In order to understand the topic better, we will need to learn how to distinguish natural Sapphire from unnatural, so-called “treated” Sapphire.
While natural Sapphire is harvested from actual Sapphire gemstones and then simply cut into the proper shape, treated Sapphire is artificially created in a chemical lab with the sole purpose in mind to make it look like the real thing. The term “treated” is also sometimes used to refer to natural Sapphires that have been subjected to various chemicals to improve their appearance and make them more desirable.
This artificial process is not perfect, however.
For example, treated Sapphire has a very different appearance compared to its natural counterpart, even to the point of some experts simply calling it a “fake” or “bad imitation” on first sight. While the average buyer won’t be able to immediately see the difference between the two, natural Sapphire is, for the most part, known to be much more beautiful in its appearance, featuring a shiny, sparkling surface, clarity and unique depth that just can’t be matched by the artificial version.
Colors, at a glance, remain the same between the two, including the dark blue hues that Sapphire is famous for.
However, most, if not all manufacturers of treated Sapphire put additional chemicals into the stone or subject it to intense heat to make it appear clearer or remove any irregularities that may have formed naturally.
In fact, some even subject perfectly natural Sapphires to these procedures to improve their looks.
While the result appears, in the eyes of many, better than most natural Sapphires which often include cloudy, semi-opaque sections, it also gives the stone an artificial look that may actually drop its value.
Of course, artificial Sapphire is significantly less expensive than untreated Sapphire simply because it can be created at any time, and at any scale. This had led to masses of artificial gemstones, not just Sapphire, flooding the market, reducing their price rapidly. Fortunately, natural varieties are unaffected by this and remain at their characteristic higher prices, even when cut down to the size of an earring. On the other hand, if authenticity or originality isn’t a problem, very authentic-looking treated Sapphires can nowadays be bought for what would be called a bargain if it were a natural gemstone.
Why is Natural Sapphire special?
So, having now understood the basic differences between natural and treated Sapphires, what makes natural Sapphire earrings so special? What is their unique appeal?
Obviously, color is a big factor to take into consideration here. Sapphire is widely known for the many shades of blue associated with it, but this is actually only so due to the immense amount of treated Sapphires nowadays.
Natural Sapphire can actually appear in almost any color except red, which is a very wide range compared to other gemstones.
However, whether it’s blue or green, Sapphires all have unique reflective and refractive qualities.
Looking at a sapphire, provided that the cut is done well, you will be able to see myriads of different, small pieces, each reflecting light, all at different intensities. When scaled down to the size of an earring, Sapphire doesn’t lose any of that, making it even more appealing compared to Emerald, for example, which, at certain sizes and depending on the cut, may actually just let a lot of light through the middle of the stone, creating a unique, but not very exciting effect where only the edges of the stone refract and reflect light like pieces of shattered glass. This is what enthusiasts call an “eye” and is hard to find on Sapphire, though some stones may feature a small one. However, an eye extending all the way to the edges of the stone is very rare.
Sapphire also represents a unique section of the gemstone market, being quite affordable compared to other types.
While certainly not cheap at about $2,500 per carat in pristine condition, it is still known as a kind of “young entrepreneur’s gemstone” thanks to its, compared with the rest of the market, entry-level price without any significant compromises concerning the looks. Artificially created Sapphire is much more affordable, of course, sometimes only a few hundred dollars per carat.
The reason Sapphire is so appealing might also have something to do with its usage history.
For example, Princess Diana’s engagement ring consisted of a large 12-carat blue Sapphire and 14 smaller diamonds.
Various other celebrities have also gotten engagement rings equipped with all sorts of Sapphires, some small, some rather large.
Used in earrings, Sapphire has become the industry standard. Sadly, the vast majority of Sapphire earrings, even when they are sold as perfectly natural, are manufactured in labs, simply due to the immense demand these stones have.
Of course, the amount of gemstone that is actually contained within the earring is quite small, even if it is natural, at 1/2 – 2 carats on average.
Also, even the most minimalistic Sapphire earrings tend to include some sort of additional decorative element, usually gold.
In short, Sapphire remains one of the most popular gemstone types used in earrings, and for good reason.
With above average clarity, even when untreated, and great varied colors, as well as lots of appeal just thanks to the name alone,
Sapphire is a great choice for earrings as well as other jewelry. Just take heed if you are actually looking for natural, unaltered Sapphire, as it is rare nowadays.