History, Origin & Significance of Sapphire
Sapphire was a sacred stone for Oriental nations. Therefore, it was much valued by them in comparison of other gems. You can meet the mentions about this gemstone in philosophy, mythology and even cosmogony of the ancients. Moreover, they were not able to differ Sapphire and Corundum (though they are the same chemical element and as we know. Sapphire is a colored variety of Corundum). Therefore, the ancients called Ruby "Red Sapphire," Emerald "Green Sapphire," and they considered Topaz as "Yellow Sapphire." We may identify Blue Sapphire as Hyacinthus of Pliny. At the same time, White Sapphire described by him had probably been an Adamas (Diamond in our days).
This gemstone was first discovered in Ceylon (modern Sri Lanka). According to the Medieval sources, Sapphire was durable and cold. In the Middle Ages, jewelers used Sapphire to decorate the crowns. But later, the deposits of Sapphire were found in the Czech Republic, Siberia (Russia), Germany, France, US, and Brazil.
Ceylon and the Kingdom of Siam (now Thailand) were traditionally the first markets of Sapphires. From whence Sapphire came to Europe, where it has become a favorite gemstone of monarchs. Afterward, each noble men considered it compulsory to have Sapphire in his collection. The fever of sapphire fashion started off in the period of Renaissance.
The Value of the Sapphire
The most important distinctive feature that affects the cost of Sapphire is its color. Sapphire presents the full spectrum of blue shades. Therefore, such outstanding quality as its hardness means "almost nothing" in its value. Nonetheless, this quality of Sapphire allows it to differ from its "inferior brethren" of blue color, such as Blue Topaz, Amethyst, or Aquamarine. Thus, we can conclude that the color and transparency of Sapphire are the two most valuable features of this gem in the usage for jewelry purposes.
As we mentioned already, Sapphire is the stone for scientific and hi-tech purposes as well. This precious stone often uses to produce lenses for microscopes and the Swiss watch.
It is worth noting that we could conclude that the value of Sapphire increases pro rata to its size. But despite the fact that the large specimens of Sapphire purchased at different times for the big amount of money, this gemstone occurs in nature of big size significantly more often than the Ruby. From whence the inferior value of Sapphire to the Ruby. Of course, this comparison applies to natural specimens of these precious stones.
As an example of this rule, we could mention one piece of Sapphire weight of more than 133 karats, stored in the Jardin collection of Paris, which contains no defect and another one of 252 karats shown at London exhibition in 1862. But we cant find any Ruby comparable to these specimens in weight. Henry G. Smith in his book "Gems and Precious Stones" also mentioned one Sapphire of 4,560 karats in weight from the deposits of Ceylon. But it possesses light-blue color and contains many flaws. Therefore, its price is not that much.