rubies and sapphires

Spotlight: All About Sapphires and Rubies

Posted by Sean Alder on Feb 21, 2018 12:16:02 PM

In gemstones

The allure of sapphires' blue sparkle and rubies' red glow is undeniable. But did you know that both these precious gemstones share the same root mineral? In this Spotlight a Stone article, we'll delve into what sets them apart and why they hold such immense value.

The History of Sapphires and Rubies

Sapphires derive their name from the Latin word "sapphirus," meaning blue, while rubies come from "ruber," meaning red. To truly understand these gemstones, we must first acquaint ourselves with a mineral called corundum. Pure corundum is colorless, but with different impurities, it takes on a plethora of mesmerizing colors.

When corundum combines with chromium, the enchanting red hues of rubies are born, ranging from delicate pinks to deep reds. In the US, a stone requires a certain level of redness to be classified as a ruby; otherwise, it may be labeled as a "pink sapphire," a topic of ongoing debate.

Technically, all corundum stones that aren't rubies can be considered sapphires. Corundum effortlessly adopts various impurities, showcasing a rainbow of colors, including grey, black, and multicolored varieties. However, the epitome of sapphires lies in their true blue form, achieved when titanium and iron combine within the corundum crystal. Other colors are often marketed as "fancy sapphires."

Are Sapphires and Rubies the Same?

While sapphires and rubies share the same mineral, corundum, they are not exactly the same. The primary difference lies in their color – sapphires are known for their blue hues, while rubies exhibit a range of red shades. Both gemstones are highly valued for their hardness and durability, ranking among the hardest gemstones after diamonds.

Due to their similarities and connection to corundum, sapphires and rubies are often referred to as "sister stones." However, their distinct colors and allure set them apart, making each gemstone unique and prized in the world of jewelry.

Judging the Gemstones

Like diamonds, rubies and sapphires undergo evaluation based on the 4 Cs, with color taking center stage. Hue, saturation, and tone values play a pivotal role in determining their value and desirability. Learn more about How to Buy Gemstones.

Beyond the 4 Cs, it's essential to consider whether the stones are natural or lab-created. While rubies and sapphires were among the first lab-created gemstones, distinguishing between the two can influence pricing. Synthetically produced stones can be equally stunning, but the rarity and allure of natural stones make them particularly precious.

Additionally, almost all sapphires and rubies undergo heat treatment to enhance their clarity and color. While some exceptional gems may not require treatment, this process is widespread and accepted. For instance, Montana's Yogo sapphires are admired for their natural beauty without heat treatment.

Timeless Elegance and Durability

Whether mined or lab-created, heat-treated or not, sapphires and rubies have one thing in common - their exquisite beauty and longevity. These gemstones possess exceptional durability, making them ideal for heirloom pieces passed down through generations.

At Grogan Jewelers, we celebrate the timeless allure of rubies and sapphires. Explore our stunning collection of these gemstones, each bearing a unique story waiting to be adorned by you!

Stop by Grogan Jewelers today and let our expert team guide you in finding the perfect sapphire or ruby piece that resonates with your style and stands the test of time.