Gem School
Ceylon Sapphire

Mineral: Corundum
Colour: Bright luminous blue
Moh's Hardness: 9
Birthstone: September
Anniversary: 5th, 45th and 65th

The Ceylon sapphire is a much prized gem with a long history. The name comes from the colonial name of Sri Lanka, which has long been famed for the wealth of gems mined and traded from it's shores. While many fine gems come from Sri Lanka, the Ceylon sapphire is a highly desired rich blue gem with a luminous lustre that has featured in some of the most famous jewels in history. It’s durability makes it an excellent gem for all jewellery, including rings.

History

Sapphire is the mineral corundum, the result of volcanic activity, and is only second in hardness to diamond on the Moh’s scale. Colour is the major factor when grading sapphire and the Ceylon sapphire is typically a bright luminous blue. Gem cutters will often cut coloured gems to highlight their colour, so the cut can be quite deep to maximise the richness of the blue tones that are so prized in this gem.

Archaeological finds confirm Sri Lanka was most likely the origin for sapphires in the classical period, and the earliest jewels to use this gem are Etruscan (600-275 BC). Today sapphire mining in Sri Lanka employs about 100,000 people and is a seasonal industry. More than fifty types of gemstones are found in Sri Lanka, placing it second only to Brazil, but the Ceylon sapphire is considered one of the best known and most highly prized gems.

Care

Sapphires are very hard gems that are suitable for all kinds of jewellery, including rings. Second in hardness only to a diamond, they are an excellent choice for longevity but be aware that any stone can break if it is hit hard enough. Wear all jewellery with care and avoid exposure to abrasive materials, harsh chemicals and extreme changes in heat.

To clean, soak your sapphire piece in a dish of warm soapy water and use a soft toothbrush to gently brush away any built up residue. You can also use a jewellery cleaning cloth or professional jewellery cleaning products developed to be safe on sapphires. Professional jewellers use an ultrasonic machine to clean your sapphires; bring them in for an annual clean and check.

Ceylon Sapphire Pieces