Sapphires are one of the most loved gemstones not only in Australia but in the world. It’s array of colours alone is usually what most people love about them.

When we hear the word Sapphire, we generally think of the colour blue. And rightly so. But many don’t realise that Sapphires come in pretty much every colour of the rainbow, apart from red. (I find myself singing *Yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue*)

So why not red you may ask? Well, that is because a red Sapphire is actually a Ruby. Well, technically it’s not a Sapphire. Sapphires and Rubies are like brother and sister. They come from the same family called the Corundum family. All the colours of the Sapphire have the same properties with some differences of the chemical composition in each colour, as the differences in the chemical composition is what actually gives the gemstones it’s colour. The Ruby has a few more differences. They are generally found in its crystal form in a different shape to a Sapphire. And one thing that a Ruby has that you will not find in any Sapphire is the chemical Chromium. There have been many arguments in the gemmology world regarding whether we call a Pink Sapphire a Ruby or is it a Pink Sapphire? As the colour of the gemstones is due to its chemical composition, and pink is just a lighter shade of red, hence should have ‘some’ chromium in it, so is it a lighter coloured Ruby or a Pink Sapphire? The jury is still out on this one to be honest and I don’t think we always need to get that technical. Most people will buy a piece of jewellery because they love that particular colour of the gem, rather than because it's a certain gemstone. So, for the sake of it, we’ll call a Red Corundum, Ruby, and a Pink Corundum a Pink Sapphire.

The times when people will buy a gemstone for what it is, is for special occasions or because it’s the birthstone of their loved one or themselves. Sapphire is the birthstone of September, and what a great month to have such a beautiful birthstone! 😉 As September is my birth month! Sapphires are also highly chosen as a Diamond alternative in Engagement Rings. Not just because people like a different colour from the typical colourless, or white as it’s known, Diamond, but because of its high durability. Sapphires are the next hardest gemstone behind Diamond, therefore it’s ability to last decades and generations in its original form is much greater than any other gemstone. And yes, if you want to imitate a Diamond with a Sapphire, it is possible as Sapphires are also found colourless, or white as they are known in the market.

So next time you are looking at purchasing a special piece of Jewellery, why not consider a Sapphire.

Rebecca Myatt,

Gemmologist, Diamond Grader - Myatt Jewellers