Rocking with Made in Earth
More commonly known as the blue variety of corundum, sapphire can in fact be almost any color of the rainbow (including a rare color-change sapphire), a little known fact that is always received with widened eyes of surprise. Having said that, the red variety of corundum is known as ruby, the other much loved and adored gem and this is yet another nugget of information most are unaware of.
Today, this gem is known as the stone for joy and peace. However, traditionally, sapphire has always been a stone that symbolizes nobility, truth, faithfulness and sincerity. Its association with royalty and romance was reinforced when Britain’s Princess Diana received her 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire, the new benchmark for exquisite blue sapphire.
Interestingly, in its purest state, corundum is colorless and owes its varying hues to traces of metallic oxides. Fine velvety blue is the most sought after, with golden yellow and pink becoming increasingly popular. Other colors are, but not limited to, pale blue, blackish or greenish blues, purple-violet, green, brown, black and the rare pink/orange ‘padparadscha’ sapphires from Sri Lanka. Parti-colored stones (a mix of two or three colors) can present a unique and interesting gem and are quite common in Australia, Madagascar and Tanzania.
Synthetics, treatments and imitations are extremely common for sapphires and so finding a completely natural, unadulterated, high grade sapphire over 5 carats in size is extremely rare. Extremely. Fine needles of rutile (referred to as silk) are a very common inclusion and when paired with straight or angular color bands can be diagnostic of a natural stone. Not all inclusions are ‘bad’, they’re the battle scars and something we should learn to love and appreciate, particularly since sources are not as abundant as they once were.
Bunny Bedi, owner and designer at Made In Earth, has discovered beauty in some of these lower quality sapphires. “We aim to keep our prices within a certain range, this range doesn’t accommodate for fine gem quality sapphires. It does, however, have room for some stunning Sri Lankan stones. Some are parti-colored gems with blends of green-orange, blue-red and brown-yellow and can have quite beautiful silk running through the stone showing chatoyancy when light is reflected from beneath the surface.”