WHAT ARE SAPPHIRES?
Aluminum oxide (Al2O3), a form of the mineral corundum, with minute amounts of other elements like iron, titanium, chromium, vanadium, or magnesium make up the precious gemstone sapphire. The Latin word "saphirus" and the Greek word "sapheiros," both of which signify blue, are the origins of the term sapphire. Although it is usually blue, sapphires naturally can also be yellow, purple, orange, or green; "parti sapphires" exhibit two or more colors. Rubies, not sapphires, are the name for red corundum stones, which are also found. Depending on the region, corundum's pink hue can be classed as either a sapphire or a ruby. Natural sapphires are frequently cut, polished, and set in jewelry as gemstones. Large crystal boules can be made from them synthetically in labs for industrial or decorative uses. Due to their exceptional hardness, sapphires are also used in some non-ornamental applications, such as infrared optical components, high-durability windows, wristwatch crystals and movement bearings, and very thin electronic wafers that serve as the insulating substrates of special-purpose solid-state electronics like integrated circuits and GaN-based blue LEDs. Sapphires rank third among all minerals in terms of hardness, behind moissanite at 9.5 and diamond at 10.
An uncut, unpolished yellow sapphire was discovered in Montana's Spokane Sapphire Mine not far from Helena.
One of the two gem types of corundum, the other being ruby, is sapphire (defined as corundum in a shade of red). Despite the fact that blue sapphires are the most common, they can also be colorless and come in gray and black. Padparadscha is the name of a sapphire variation that is pinkish orange.
Australian, Afghan, Cambodia, Cameroon, China (Shandong), Colombia, Ethiopia, India (Kashmir), Kenya, Laos, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United States (Montana), and Vietnam are among the countries with significant sapphire deposits. Although they frequently occur in the same geographic regions, sapphires and rubies typically have different geological formations. For instance, the Mogok Stone Tract in Myanmar has both rubies and sapphires, but the rubies form in marble, whilst the sapphires develop in granitic pegmatites or corundum syenites.