Ceylon blue sapphire bangle - Kanjimull

An Essential Guide to Ceylon Sapphire Gemstones & Jewellery

Ceylon sapphire gemstone is the most sought after natural sapphire in the world. These precious stones offer a rainbow of color choices while being heralded for their stunning durability and ability to make almost any jewellry setting dazzle.

The quality of Ceylon sapphires has long been noted. Explorer Marco Polo wrote that this island, appropriately nicknamed Gem Island, has the best sapphires in the entire world.

Interesting Facts about Ceylon Sapphires

🔹 While the most traditional sapphire colors are blue, pink and yellow, these stones can also be found in green, black, orange and purple, making them highly versatile for just about any setting.

🔹 Sapphires are among the strongest gemstones known to man. They rate a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, right along with rubies, and just behind the 10 fetched by diamonds.

🔹 Many jewelry industry professionals heat treat their sapphires to enhance their beauty while reinforcing their strength.

🔹 Sapphires are the birthstone for September and are associated with the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. They stand as symbols for loyalty and dignity and have long been a favorite of royalty.

Ceylon Sapphire History

Ceylon sapphires are thought to be a product of a series of tectono-thermal events occurring 450 – 750 million years ago. This plate movement created ideal conditions for the creation of gemstones all across Kenya, Mozambique, Madagascar, and Sri Lanka.

In order for sapphires to form, a very exacting combination of elements and events must come into play. The mineral aluminum oxide must undergo an isomorphic process wherein the aluminum ions dissipate along with other minerals, forming the rare substance corundum. The blue hues of sapphires are formed due to the presence of small amounts of titanium and iron. In some cases rutile is present and creates star sapphires.

Ceylon was the historical name of modern day Sri Lanka. The evidence of the gem industry in the country dates back to 500 BC. It is estimated through scientific research that gemstones found in Sri Lanka were naturally created as far back as 800 million years ago.

Sri Lankan gem miners still use the traditional techniques to extract raw gems out of the earth’s crust. The amount of sapphire and the pace at which they are been found in this tiny island is quite fascinating.

Types and Colors of Ceylon Sapphires

Anyone who wishes to purchase a Ceylon gemstone must at least know the available pool of variants before making a choice. The type of the sapphire depend on two primary factors. Physical properties and display properties.

The principal physical property of a sapphire is the hardness. Mohs hardness scale is used to measure the scratch resistance of the gemstones. Specific gravity is also a widely used physical property parameter of sapphire.

The most noticeable are however the display properties. Display properties include color, brilliance, fire and luster.

TypeVariant and ColorHardness
Blue Sapphire (Blue), Ruby (Red), Padparadscha (Pink), Yellow Sapphire (Yellow), White Sapphire (Colorless, Silver), Purple Sapphire (Purple), Star Sapphire (Blue, Red, Pink, Grey)9
ChrysoberylCat’s Eye (Light brown, apple green), Alexandrite (Green – natural light, Red)8.5
GarnetPyrope (Red), Almandine (Dark red), Spessartite (Orange), Hessonite (Orange)7 – 7.5
SpinelBlue, Red, Pink, Purple, Yellow, Orange, Green, Brown, Grey8
TopazColorless, Yellow, Blue, Green, Pink8
TourmalineBrown, Green, Yellow, Twin color7 – 7.5
ZirconYellow, Brown, Green6.5 – 7.5
QuartzColorless, Brown, Purple, Yellow7
AquamarineLight Blue7.5 – 8
MoonstoneYellowish and bluish white6

Value of Ceylon Sapphire

The key determinants of the value of a sapphire are,

  • Color of the gemstone
  • Clarity – how pure the stone is from alien inclusions
  • Special properties – lustre, play and change of color, brilliance
  • Cut of the gemstone
  • Durability – withstanding the time
  • Acceptability – general popularity
  • Rarity – how rare the gem is

Sapphire are also found in Brazil, Pakistan, India, Thailand, Madagascar, Africa, Australia, Burma and Russia. But all these properties are hard to come by. This is where Ceylon gemstones take the lead by having much of above properties to an even and greater extent. Thereby the Ceylon gemstones naturally earn a special place in global gem trade.

Ceylon Sapphire for Engagement Rings

Diamond has long been the first choice of the engagement rings. Diamond tops the hardness scale at 10 and diamond has a superior brilliance. However the attributes of uniqueness and the rarity of the stone is almost equally shared with sapphire too.

Thus sapphire can effectively alternate diamond for building engagement rings. Blue sapphire and white sapphire made engagement rings can be frequently found even within the wealthy community who has no problem in affording a diamond.

Notable Gemstones Found in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has produced some truly impressive gemstones over the years.

The Star of India

The best known is probably the Star of India, a 563-carat, nearly flawless star sapphire that notably features stars on both sides of the stone. It is the world’s largest gem-quality blue star sapphire.

The Star of India was featured at the Paris Exposition of 1900, after which owner J.P. Morgan donated it to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City, where it remains to this day.

The Logan Sapphire

Also unearthed in Sri Lanka was the Logan Sapphire, a flawless blue sapphire of nearly 423 carats that has the renown of being the second largest of its type in the world.

The Logan Sapphire - Source - http://www.mnh.si.edu/earth/text/dynamicearth/6_0_0_geogallery/geogallery_specimen.cfm?SpecimenID=4025&categoryID=1&categoryName=Gems&browseType=name
The Logan Saphire

The egg-sized, cushion-cut stone was donated to the Smithsonian Institution in 1960 by Mrs. Polly Logan, for whom it was named.

Princes Diana Engagement Ring

The 14 carat Ceylon blue sapphire surrounded by 14 diamonds in a 14k white gold was the engagement ring of Princes Diana.

Princess Diana Engagement Ring – Source

Prince William used a reshaped version of same ring with the blue sapphire to propose princess Kate.

Always use the support of a gemologist or recognized certificate to confirm the authenticity of gemstones. Some of the fine features as well as flaws of the Sapphire are beyond noticeable to unpracticed eye.

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