Any colour of corundum except red is called “sapphire,” although cornflower blue is the most popular and sought-after sapphire colour. Sapphire comes from the same places and in the same qualities as its sister stone, ruby, with the best colour coming from Kashmir and Burma. The name “sapphire” alone refers to the blue variety. All other colours have the colour name added to the stone, as in “orange sapphire,” “pink sapphire” etc.

Sapphire often has some inclusions, but clarity is still quite good. Its base material, corundum, is the second hardest in existence and so wears very well. Often, the sapphires used in jewellery are heat-treated or given chemical diffusion to enhance their colour; these enhancements are permanent. Like rubies and emeralds, there are good synthetics available for people who like the colour but not the cost.

Sapphire is said to be a mind-opening gem. It is supposed to relax the wearer and clarify thought, as well as attract “divine favor.” On a personal level, it prevents envy and fraud, and brings truth and good health. It also was said to be a powerful antidote for poison.

Sapphire is the birthstone of September.

Colour Description
Blue, pink, green and yellow The coloured varieties of corundum, with the colour coming from iron and titanium. Mohs hardness rating of 9.