The 423-carat (85 g) blue Logan Sapphire
| Formula |
|Aluminium oxide, Al 2 O 3|
|Crystal class||Hexagonal scalenohedral (3m) |
H-M symbol: (32/m)
|Color||Typically blue, but varies|
|Crystal habit||As crystals, massive and granular|
|Mohs scale hardness||9.0|
|Optical properties||Abbe number 72.2|
|Refractive index||nω=1.768–1.772 |
|Melting point||2,030–2,050 °C|
|Other characteristics|| Coefficient of thermal expansion (5.0–6.6)×10−6/K |
relative permittivity at 20 °C
ε = 8.9–11.1 (anisotropic)
Sapphire is a precious gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum, consisting of aluminium oxide (α-Al 2 O 3) with trace amounts of elements such as iron, titanium, chromium, copper, or magnesium. It is typically blue, but natural "fancy" sapphires also occur in yellow, purple, orange, and green colors; "parti sapphires" show two or more colors. The only color corundum stone that the term sapphire is not used for is red, which is called a ruby. Pink colored corundum may be either classified as ruby or sapphire depending on locale. Commonly, natural sapphires are cut and polished into gemstones and worn in jewelry. They also may be created synthetically in laboratories for industrial or decorative purposes in large crystal boules. Because of the remarkable hardness of sapphires – 9 on the Mohs scale (the third hardest mineral, after diamond at 10 and moissanite at 9.5) – sapphires are also used in some non-ornamental applications, such as infrared optical components, high-durability windows, wristwatch crystals and movement bearings, and very thin electronic wafers, which are used as the insulating substrates of very special-purpose solid-state electronics (especially integrated circuits and GaN-based LEDs).
A gemstone is a piece of mineral crystal which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments. However, certain rocks and occasionally organic materials that are not minerals are also used for jewelry and are therefore often considered to be gemstones as well. Most gemstones are hard, but some soft minerals are used in jewelry because of their luster or other physical properties that have aesthetic value. Rarity is another characteristic that lends value to a gemstone.
Corundum is a crystalline form of aluminium oxide typically containing traces of iron, titanium, vanadium and chromium. It is a rock-forming mineral. It is also a naturally transparent material, but can have different colors depending on the presence of transition metal impurities in its crystalline structure. Corundum has two primary gem varieties: ruby and sapphire. Rubies are red due to the presence of chromium, and sapphires exhibit a range of colors depending on what transition metal is present. A rare type of sapphire, padparadscha sapphire, is pink-orange.
Aluminium oxide (IUPAC name) or aluminum oxide (American English) is a chemical compound of aluminium and oxygen with the chemical formula Al2O3. It is the most commonly occurring of several aluminium oxides, and specifically identified as aluminium(III) oxide. It is commonly called alumina and may also be called aloxide, aloxite, or alundum depending on particular forms or applications. It occurs naturally in its crystalline polymorphic phase α-Al2O3 as the mineral corundum, varieties of which form the precious gemstones ruby and sapphire. Al2O3 is significant in its use to produce aluminium metal, as an abrasive owing to its hardness, and as a refractory material owing to its high melting point.
Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the gem of the 45th anniversary. A sapphire jubilee occurs after 65 years.
A birthstone is a gemstone that represents a person's month of birth. Birthstones are often worn as jewelry or as a pendant.
In 2017, the term sapphire jubilee or blue sapphire jubilee was coined for the celebrations to mark the 65th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. Previously, the sapphire wedding anniversary was understood to be the 45th, and this would be expected to carry over to regnal anniversaries as with silver, golden, and diamond jubilees.
Sapphire is one of the two gem-varieties of corundum, the other being ruby (defined as corundum in a shade of red). Although blue is the best-known sapphire color, they occur in other colors, including gray and black, and they can be colorless. A pinkish orange variety of sapphire is called padparadscha.
A ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires. Ruby is one of the traditional cardinal gems, together with amethyst, sapphire, emerald, and diamond. The word ruby comes from ruber, Latin for red. The color of a ruby is due to the element chromium.
Significant sapphire deposits are found in Eastern Australia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China (Shandong), Madagascar, East Africa, and in North America in a few locations, mostly in Montana. 164–166 Sapphire and rubies are often found in the same geological setting.:
Thailand, officially the Kingdom of Thailand and formerly known as Siam, is a country at the center of the Southeast Asian Indochinese peninsula composed of 76 provinces. At 513,120 km2 (198,120 sq mi) and over 68 million people, Thailand is the world's 50th largest country by total area and the 21st-most-populous country. The capital and largest city is Bangkok, a special administrative area. Thailand is bordered to the north by Myanmar and Laos, to the east by Laos and Cambodia, to the south by the Gulf of Thailand and Malaysia, and to the west by the Andaman Sea and the southern extremity of Myanmar. Its maritime boundaries include Vietnam in the Gulf of Thailand to the southeast, and Indonesia and India on the Andaman Sea to the southwest. Although nominally a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy, the most recent coup in 2014 established a de facto military dictatorship.
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The island is historically and culturally intertwined with the Indian subcontinent, but is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.
China, officially the People's Republic of China (PRC), is a country in East Asia and the world's most populous country, with a population of around 1.404 billion. Covering approximately 9,600,000 square kilometers (3,700,000 sq mi), it is the third- or fourth-largest country by total area. Governed by the Communist Party of China, the state exercises jurisdiction over 22 provinces, five autonomous regions, four direct-controlled municipalities, and the special administrative regions of Hong Kong and Macau.
Every sapphire mine produces a wide range of quality, and origin is not a guarantee of quality. For sapphire, Kashmir receives the highest premium, although Burma, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar also produce large quantities of fine quality gems.
Kashmir is the northernmost geographical region of the Indian subcontinent. Until the mid-19th century, the term "Kashmir" denoted only the Kashmir Valley between the Great Himalayas and the Pir Panjal Range. Today, it denotes a larger area that includes the Indian-administered territory of Jammu and Kashmir, the Pakistani-administered territories of Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan, and Chinese-administered territories of Aksai Chin and the Trans-Karakoram Tract.
The cost of natural sapphires varies depending on their color, clarity, size, cut, and overall quality. For gems of exceptional quality, an independent determination from a respected laboratory such as the GIA, AGL or Gubelin of origin often adds to value.
The Gemological Institute of America, or GIA, is a nonprofit institute dedicated to research and education in the field of gemology and the jewelry arts. Founded in 1931, GIA's mission is to protect all buyers and sellers of gemstones by setting and maintaining the standards used to evaluate gemstone quality. The institute does so through research, gem identification and diamond grading services and a variety of educational programs. Through its world-renowned library and subject experts, GIA acts as a resource of gem and jewelry information for the trade, the public and worldwide media outlets.
Gemstone color can be described in terms of hue, saturation, and tone. Hue is commonly understood as the "color" of the gemstone. Saturation refers to the vividness or brightness of the hue, and tone is the lightness to darkness of the hue. 18–22 Blue sapphire exists in various mixtures of its primary (blue) and secondary hues, various tonal levels (shades) and at various levels of saturation (vividness).:
Blue sapphires are evaluated based upon the purity of their primary hue. Purple, violet, and green are the most common secondary hues found in blue sapphires. 163–169 Violet and purple can contribute to the overall beauty of the color, while green is considered to be distinctly negative. Blue sapphires with up to 15% violet or purple are generally said to be of fine quality. Gray is the normal saturation modifier or mask found in blue sapphires. Gray reduces the saturation or brightness of the hue, and therefore has a distinctly negative effect. :163–169:
The color of fine blue sapphires may be described as a vivid medium dark violet to purplish blue where the primary blue hue is at least 85% and the secondary hue no more than 15%, without the least admixture of a green secondary hue or a gray mask. 18–22:
The 423-carat (84.6 g) Logan sapphire in the National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C., is one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires in existence.
Sapphires in colors other than blue are called "fancy" or "parti colored" sapphires.
Fancy sapphires are often found in yellow, orange, green, brown, purple and violet hues.
Particolored sapphires are those stones which exhibit two or more colors within a single stone. [ citation needed ]Australia is the largest source of particolored sapphires; they are not commonly used in mainstream jewelry and remain relatively unknown. Particolored sapphires cannot be created synthetically and only occur naturally.
Colorless sapphires have historically been used as diamond substitutes in jewelry.
Pink sapphires occur in shades from light to dark pink, and deepen in color as the quantity of chromium increases. The deeper the pink color, the higher their monetary value. In the United States, a minimum color saturation must be met to be called a ruby, otherwise the stone is referred to as a pink sapphire.
Padparadscha is a delicate, light to medium toned, pink-orange to orange-pink hued corundum, originally found in Sri Lanka,but also found in deposits in Vietnam and parts of East Africa. Padparadscha sapphires are rare; the rarest of all is the totally natural variety, with no sign of artificial treatment.
The name is derived from the Sanskrit "padma ranga" (padma = lotus; ranga = color), a color akin to the lotus flower ( Nelumbo nucifera ).
Natural padparadscha sapphires often draw higher prices than many of even the finest blue sapphires. Recently, more sapphires of this color have appeared on the market as a result of a new artificial treatment method called "lattice diffusion".
A star sapphire is a type of sapphire that exhibits a star-like phenomenon known as asterism; red stones are known as "star rubies". Star sapphires contain intersecting needle-like inclusions following the underlying crystal structure that causes the appearance of a six-rayed "star"-shaped pattern when viewed with a single overhead light source. The inclusion is often the mineral rutile, a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide.The stones are cut en cabochon , typically with the center of the star near the top of the dome. Occasionally, twelve-rayed stars are found, typically because two different sets of inclusions are found within the same stone, such as a combination of fine needles of rutile with small platelets of hematite; the first results in a whitish star and the second results in a golden-colored star. During crystallisation, the two types of inclusions become preferentially oriented in different directions within the crystal, thereby forming two six-rayed stars that are superimposed upon each other to form a twelve-rayed star. Misshapen stars or 12-rayed stars may also form as a result of twinning. The inclusions can alternatively produce a "cat's eye" effect if the 'face-up' direction of the cabochon's dome is oriented perpendicular to the crystal's c-axis rather than parallel to it. If the dome is oriented in between these two directions, an 'off-center' star will be visible, offset away from the high point of the dome.
The Star of Adam is the largest blue star sapphire which weighs 1404.49 carats. The gem was mined in the city of Ratnapura, southern Sri Lanka. [ citation needed ]The Black Star of Queensland, the second largest gem-quality star sapphire in the world, weighs 733 carats. The Star of India mined in Sri Lanka and weighing 563.4 carats is thought to be the third-largest star sapphire, and is currently on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The 182-carat Star of Bombay, mined in Sri Lanka and located in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., is another example of a large blue star sapphire. The value of a star sapphire depends not only on the weight of the stone, but also the body color, visibility, and intensity of the asterism.
A rare variety of natural sapphire, known as color-change sapphire, exhibits different colors in different light. Color change sapphires are blue in outdoor light and purple under incandescent indoor light, or green to gray-green in daylight and pink to reddish-violet in incandescent light. Color change sapphires come from a variety of locations, including Thailand and Tanzania. The color-change effect is caused by the interaction of the sapphire, which absorbs specific wavelengths of light, and the light-source, whose spectral output varies depending upon the illuminant. Transition-metal impurities in the sapphire, such as chromium and vanadium, are responsible for the color change.
Certain synthetic color-change sapphires have a similar color change to the natural gemstone alexandrite and they are sometimes marketed as "alexandrium" or "synthetic alexandrite". However, the latter term is a misnomer: synthetic color-change sapphires are, technically, not synthetic alexandrites but rather alexandrite simulants. This is because genuine alexandrite is a variety of chrysoberyl: not sapphire, but an entirely different mineral.
Rubies are corundum which contain chromium impurities that absorb yellow-green light and result in deeper ruby red color with increasing content.Purple sapphires contain trace amounts of vanadium and come in a variety of shades. Corundum that contains ~0.01% of titanium is colorless. If trace amounts of iron are present, a very pale yellow to green color may be seen. However, if both titanium and iron impurities are present together, and in the correct valence states, the result is a deep-blue color.
Unlike localized ("intra-atomic") absorption of light which causes color for chromium and vanadium impurities, blue color in sapphires comes from intervalence charge transfer, which is the transfer of an electron from one transition-metal ion to another via the conduction or valence band. The iron can take the form Fe2+ or Fe3+, while titanium generally takes the form Ti4+. If Fe2+ and Ti4+ ions are substituted for Al3+, localized areas of charge imbalance are created. An electron transfer from Fe2+ and Ti4+ can cause a change in the valence state of both. Because of the valence change there is a specific change in energy for the electron, and electromagnetic energy is absorbed. The wavelength of the energy absorbed corresponds to yellow light. When this light is subtracted from incident white light, the complementary color blue results. Sometimes when atomic spacing is different in different directions there is resulting blue-green dichroism.
Intervalence charge transfer is a process that produces a strong colored appearance at a low percentage of impurity. While at least 1% chromium must be present in corundum before the deep red ruby color is seen, sapphire blue is apparent with the presence of only 0.01% of titanium and iron.
Sapphires can be treated by several methods to enhance and improve their clarity and color. 169 It is common practice to heat natural sapphires to improve or enhance color. This is done by heating the sapphires in furnaces to temperatures between 500 and 1,800 °C (932 and 3,272 °F) for several hours, or by heating in a nitrogen-deficient atmosphere oven for seven days or more. Upon heating, the stone becomes more blue in color, but loses some of the rutile inclusions (silk). When high temperatures are used, the stone loses all silk (inclusions) and it becomes clear under magnification. The inclusions in natural stones are easily seen with a jeweler's loupe. Evidence of sapphire and other gemstones being subjected to heating goes back at least to Roman times. Un-heated natural stones are somewhat rare and will often be sold accompanied by a certificate from an independent gemological laboratory attesting to "no evidence of heat treatment".:
Yogo sapphires sometimes do not need heat treating because their cornflower blue coloring is uniform and deep, they are generally free of the characteristic inclusions, and they have high uniform clarity.When Intergem Limited began marketing the Yogo in the 1980s as the world's only guaranteed untreated sapphire, heat treatment was not commonly disclosed; by 1982 the heat treatment became a major issue. At that time, 95% of all the world's sapphires were being heated to enhance their natural color. Intergem's marketing of guaranteed untreated Yogos set them against many in the gem industry. This issue appeared as a front-page story in the Wall Street Journal on 29 August 1984 in an article by Bill Richards, Carats and Schticks: Sapphire Marketer Upsets The Gem Industry.
Diffusion treatments are used to add impurities to the sapphire to enhance color. Typically beryllium is diffused into a sapphire under very high heat, just below the melting point of the sapphire. Initially (c. 2000) orange sapphires were created, although now the process has been advanced and many colors of sapphire are often treated with beryllium. The colored layer can be removed when stones chip or are repolished or refaceted, depending on the depth of the impurity layer. Treated padparadschas may be very difficult to detect, and many stones are certified by gemological labs (e.g., Gubelin, SSEF, AGTA).
According to United States Federal Trade Commission guidelines, disclosure is required of any mode of enhancement that has a significant effect on the gem's value.
There are several ways of treating sapphire. Heat-treatment in a reducing or oxidising atmosphere (but without the use of any other added impurities) is commonly used to improve the color of sapphires, and this process is sometimes known as "heating only" in the gem trade. In contrast, however, heat treatment combined with the deliberate addition of certain specific impurities (e.g. beryllium, titanium, iron, chromium or nickel, which are absorbed into the crystal structure of the sapphire) is also commonly performed, and this process can be known as "diffusion" in the gem trade. However, despite what the terms "heating only" and "diffusion" might suggest, both of these categories of treatment actually involve diffusion processes.
Sapphires are mined from alluvial deposits or from primary underground workings. Commercial mining locations for sapphire and ruby include (but are not limited to) the following countries: Afghanistan, Australia, Myanmar/Burma, Cambodia, China, Colombia, India, Kenya, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Thailand, United States, and Vietnam. Sapphires from different geographic locations may have different appearances or chemical-impurity concentrations, and tend to contain different types of microscopic inclusions. Because of this, sapphires can be divided into three broad categories: classic metamorphic, non-classic metamorphic or magmatic, and classic magmatic.
Sapphires from certain locations, or of certain categories, may be more commercially appealing than others,particularly classic metamorphic sapphires from Kashmir, Burma, or Sri Lanka that have not been subjected to heat-treatment.
The Logan sapphire, the Star of India, and the Star of Bombay originate from Sri Lankan mines. Madagascar is the world leader in sapphire production (as of 2007) specifically its deposits in and around the town of Ilakaka.Prior to the opening of the Ilakaka mines, Australia was the largest producer of sapphires (such as in 1987). In 1991 a new source of sapphires was discovered in Andranondambo, southern Madagascar. That area has been exploited for its sapphires started in 1993, but it was practically abandoned just a few years later—because of the difficulties in recovering sapphires in their bedrock.
In North America, sapphires have been mined mostly from deposits in Montana: fancies along the Missouri River near Helena, Montana, Dry Cottonwood Creek near Deer Lodge, Montana, and Rock Creek near Philipsburg, Montana. Fine blue Yogo sapphires are found at Yogo Gulch west of Lewistown, Montana.A few gem-grade sapphires and rubies have also been found in the area of Franklin, North Carolina.
The sapphire deposits of Kashmir are well known in the gem industry,although their peak production took place in a relatively short period at the end of the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. They have a superior cornflower blue hue to them with a mysterious and almost sleepy quality, described by some gem enthusiasts as ‘blue velvet”. Kashmir-origin contributes meaningfully to the value of a sapphire, and most corundum of Kashmir origin can be readily identified by its characteristic silky appearance and exceptional hue. The unique blue appears lustrous under any kind of light, unlike non-Kashmir sapphires which may appear purplish or grayish in comparison. Sotheby's has been in the forefront overseeing record-breaking sales of Kashmir sapphires worldwide. In October 2014, Sotheby’s Hong Kong achieved consecutive per-carat price records for Kashmir sapphires - first with the 12.00 carat Cartier sapphire ring at US$193,975 per carat, then with a 17.16 carat sapphire at US$236,404, and again in June 2015 when the per-carat auction record was set at US$240,205. At present, the world record price-per-carat for sapphire at auction is held by a sapphire from Kashmir in a ring, which sold in October 2015 for approximately US$242,000 per carat (HK$52,280,000 in total, including buyer's premium, or more than US$6.74 million).
In 1902, the French chemist Auguste Verneuil developed a process for producing synthetic sapphire crystals. mm per hour. The alumina crystallizes on the end, creating long carrot-shaped boules of large size up to 200 kg in mass.In the Verneuil process, named after him, fine alumina powder is added to an oxyhydrogen flame, and this is directed downward against a mantle. The alumina in the flame is slowly deposited, creating a teardrop shaped "boule" of sapphire material. Chemical dopants can be added to create artificial versions of the ruby, and all the other natural colors of sapphire, and in addition, other colors never seen in geological samples. Artificial sapphire material is identical to natural sapphire, except it can be made without the flaws that are found in natural stones. The disadvantage of Verneuil process is that the grown crystals have high internal strains. Many methods of manufacturing sapphire today are variations of the Czochralski process, which was invented in 1916 by Polish chemist Jan Czochralski. In this process, a tiny sapphire seed crystal is dipped into a crucible made of the precious metal iridium or molybdenum, containing molten alumina, and then slowly withdrawn upward at a rate of 1 to 100
Synthetic sapphire is also produced industrially from agglomerated aluminium oxide, sintered and fused (such as by hot isostatic pressing) in an inert atmosphere, yielding a transparent but slightly porous polycrystalline product.[ citation needed ]
In 2003, the world's production of synthetic sapphire was 250 tons (1.25 × 109 carats), mostly by the United States and Russia.The availability of cheap synthetic sapphire unlocked many industrial uses for this unique material.
The first laser was made with a rod of synthetic ruby. Titanium-sapphire lasers are popular due to their relatively rare capacity to be tuned to various wavelengths in the red and near-infrared region of the electromagnetic spectrum. They can also be easily mode-locked. In these lasers a synthetically produced sapphire crystal with chromium or titanium impurities is irradiated with intense light from a special lamp, or another laser, to create stimulated emission.
Synthetic sapphire—sometimes incorrectly referred to as sapphire glass—is commonly used as a window material, because it is both highly transparent to wavelengths of light between 150 nm (UV) and 5500 nm (IR) (the visible spectrum extends about 380 nm to 750 nm ), and extraordinarily scratch-resistant.
The key benefits of sapphire windows are:
Some sapphire-glass windows are made from pure sapphire boules that have been grown in a specific crystal orientation, typically along the optical axis, the c-axis, for minimum birefringence for the application.
The boules are sliced up into the desired window thickness and finally polished to the desired surface finish. Sapphire optical windows can be polished to a wide range of surface finishes due to its crystal structure and its hardness. The surface finishes of optical windows are normally called out by the scratch-dig specifications in accordance with the globally adopted MIL-O-13830 specification.[ clarification needed ]
The sapphire windows are used in both high pressure and vacuum chambers for spectroscopy, crystals in various watches, and windows in grocery store barcode scanners since the material's exceptional hardness and toughness makes it very resistant to scratching.
It is used for end windows on some high-powered laser tubes as its wide-band transparency and thermal conductivity allow it to handle very high power densities in the infra-red or UV spectrum without degrading due to heating.
Along with zirconia and aluminium oxynitride, synthetic sapphire is used for shatter resistant windows in armored vehicles and various military body armor suits, in association with composites.
One type of xenon arc lamp – originally called the "Cermax" and now known generically as the "ceramic body xenon lamp" – uses sapphire crystal output windows. This product tolerates higher thermal loads and thus higher output powers when compared with conventional Xe lamps with pure silica window.
Thin sapphire wafers were the first successful use of an insulating substrate upon which to deposit silicon to make the integrated circuits known as silicon on sapphire or "SOS"; now other substrates can also be used for the class of circuits known more generally as silicon on insulator. Besides its excellent electrical insulating properties, sapphire has high thermal conductivity. CMOS chips on sapphire are especially useful for high-power radio-frequency (RF) applications such as those found in cellular telephones, public-safety band radios, and satellite communication systems. "SOS" also allows for the monolithic integration of both digital and analog circuitry all on one IC chip, and the construction of extremely low power circuits.
In one process, after single crystal sapphire boules are grown, they are core-drilled into cylindrical rods, and wafers are then sliced from these cores.[ citation needed ]
Wafers of single-crystal sapphire are also used in the semiconductor industry as substrates for the growth of devices based on gallium nitride (GaN). The use of sapphire significantly reduces the cost, because it has about one-seventh the cost of germanium. Gallium nitride on sapphire is commonly used in blue light-emitting diodes (LEDs).
Monocrystalline sapphire is fairly biocompatible and the exceptionally low wear of sapphire–metal pairs has led to the introduction (in Ukraine) of sapphire monocrystals for hip joint endoprostheses.
|Bismarck Sapphire||Myanmar||98.56 carats||Table||Blue||National Museum of Natural History, Washington|
|Black Star of Queensland||Australia, 1938||733 carats||Star||Black||Anonymous owner|
|Logan Sapphire||Sri Lanka||422.99 carats||Cushion||Blue||National Museum of Natural History, Washington|
|Queen Marie of Romania||Sri Lanka||478.68 carats||Cushion||Blue||Anonymous owner|
|Star of Adam||Sri Lanka, 2015||1404.49 carats||Star||Blue||Anonymous owner|
|Star of Bombay||Sri Lanka||182 carats||Star||Blue-violet||National Museum of Natural History, Washington|
|Star of India||Sri Lanka||563.4 carats||Star||Blue-gray||American Museum of Natural History, New York|
|Stuart Sapphire||Sri Lanka||104 carats||Blue||Tower of London|
Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz.
Emerald is a gemstone and a variety of the mineral beryl (Be3Al2(SiO3)6) colored green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale. Most emeralds are highly included, so their toughness (resistance to breakage) is classified as generally poor. Emerald is a cyclosilicate.
Topaz is a silicate mineral of aluminium and fluorine with the chemical formula Al2SiO4(F, OH)2. Topaz crystallizes in the orthorhombic system, and its crystals are mostly prismatic terminated by pyramidal and other faces. It is one of the hardest naturally occurring minerals (Mohs hardness of 8) and is the hardest of any silicate mineral. This hardness combined with its usual transparency and variety of colors means that it has acquired wide use in jewellery as a cut gemstone as well as for intaglios and other gemstone carvings.
The mineral or gemstone chrysoberyl is an aluminate of beryllium with the formula BeAl2O4. The name chrysoberyl is derived from the Greek words χρυσός chrysos and βήρυλλος beryllos, meaning "a gold-white spar". Despite the similarity of their names, chrysoberyl and beryl are two completely different gemstones, although they both contain beryllium. Chrysoberyl is the third-hardest frequently encountered natural gemstone and lies at 8.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, between corundum (9) and topaz (8).
Gemology or gemmology is the science dealing with natural and artificial gemstone materials. It is considered a geoscience and a branch of mineralogy. Some jewelers are academically trained gemologists and are qualified to identify and evaluate gems.
Tanzanite is the blue and violet variety of the mineral zoisite, caused by small amounts of vanadium, belonging to the epidote group. Tanzanite is only found in Tanzania, in a very small mining area near the Merelani Hills.
Asterism, the property of a star stone (asteria), is the phenomenon of gemstones exhibiting a star-like concentration of reflected or refracted light when cut en cabochon.
A chemically pure and structurally perfect diamond is perfectly transparent with no hue, or color. However, in reality almost no gem-sized natural diamonds are absolutely perfect. The color of a diamond may be affected by chemical impurities and/or structural defects in the crystal lattice. Depending on the hue and intensity of a diamond's coloration, a diamond's color can either detract from or enhance its value. For example, most white diamonds are discounted in price when more yellow hue is detectable, while intense pink diamonds or blue diamonds can be dramatically more valuable. Of all colored diamonds, red diamonds are the rarest. The Aurora Pyramid of Hope displays a spectacular array of naturally colored diamonds, including red diamonds.
A diamond simulant, diamond imitation or imitation diamond is an object or material with gemological characteristics similar to those of a diamond. Simulants are distinct from synthetic diamonds, which are actual diamonds having the same material properties as natural diamonds. Enhanced diamonds are also excluded from this definition. A diamond simulant may be artificial, natural, or in some cases a combination thereof. While their material properties depart markedly from those of diamond, simulants have certain desired characteristics—such as dispersion and hardness—which lend themselves to imitation. Trained gemologists with appropriate equipment are able to distinguish natural and synthetic diamonds from all diamond simulants, primarily by visual inspection.
Tairus is a synthetic gemstone manufacturer. It was formed in 1989 as part of Mikhail Gorbachev's perestroika initiative to establish a joint venture between the Russian Academy of Sciences and Tairus Created Gems Co Ltd. of Bangkok, Thailand. Today Tairus is a major supplier of hydrothermally grown gemstones to the jewellery industry. Later, Tairus became a privately held enterprise, operating out of its Bangkok distribution hub under the trade name Tairus, owned by Tairus Created Gems Co Ltd. of Bangkok, Thailand.
The Star of Bombay is a 182-carat (36.4-g) cabochon-cut star sapphire originating from Sri Lanka. The violet-blue gem was given to silent film actress Mary Pickford by her husband, Douglas Fairbanks. She bequeathed it to the Smithsonian Institution. It is the namesake of the popular alcoholic beverage Bombay Sapphire, a British-manufactured gin.
The Verneuil process, also called flame fusion, was the first commercially successful method of manufacturing synthetic gemstones, developed in the late 1800s by the French chemist Auguste Verneuil. It is primarily used to produce the ruby and sapphire varieties of corundum, as well as the diamond simulants rutile and strontium titanate. The principle of the process involves melting a finely powdered substance using an oxyhydrogen flame, and crystallising the melted droplets into a boule. The process is considered to be the founding step of modern industrial crystal growth technology, and remains in wide use to this day.
A diamond is one of the best-known and most sought-after gemstones. Diamonds have been used as decorative items since ancient times; some of the earliest references can be traced to 25,000 - 30,000 B.C.
Yogo sapphires are a variety of corundum found only in Yogo Gulch, part of the Little Belt Mountains in Judith Basin County, Montana, United States, on land once inhabited by the Piegan Blackfeet people. Yogos are typically cornflower blue, a result of trace amounts of iron and titanium. They have high uniform clarity and maintain their brilliance under artificial light. Because Yogo sapphires occur within a vertically dipping resistive igneous dike, mining efforts have been sporadic and rarely profitable. It is estimated that at least 28 million carats of Yogos are still in the ground. Jewelry containing Yogos was given to First Ladies Florence Harding and Bess Truman; in addition, many gems were sold in Europe, though promoters' claims that Yogos are in the crown jewels of England or the engagement ring of Princess Diana are dubious. Today, several Yogo sapphires are part of the Smithsonian Institution's gem collection.
The Guggenheim Hall is an exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side in Manhattan, New York City, that hosts one of the world's largest geology collections. It focuses on petrology, mineralization and the anthropology of gems and minerals. It is the permanent home of the Star of India, one of the world's largest and most famous star sapphires. The New York Times architectural critic, Paul Goldberger, said, "It is one of the finest museum installations that any city has seen in many years". It operates under the museum's department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.
Golden Sheen Sapphire, is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide (α-Al2O3). It typically shows a metallic golden colour with common variations being brass, copper and bronze, however metallic blue, green and yellow colouration is also possible. A very rare variation is a metallic red colour.
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