What is Sapphire?

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Logan Sapphire - one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires in existence What is Sapphire?

Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an Aluminium Oxide (Al2O3). It is considered one of the four precious stones along with diamond, emerald, and ruby. Sapphires are typically blue in color (the name comes from the Greek word "sappheiros" which means "blue stone"), but trace amounts of other elements such as chromium, copper, iron, magnesium, or titanium, can change the color of the sapphire to pink/red (chromium), orange (copper), blue (iron), green (magnesium), or yellow (titanium).

Chromium impurities in corundum that result in a pink or red tint, mean that the stone may be called a ruby. However in the United States, pink (as opposed to red) stones are sometimes known as "pink sapphires" - with the distinction betweeen a pink sapphire and a ruby, often being difficult and highly subjective.

Sapphires principle usage is in jewelry, but because sapphires are very hard (although not as hard as diamond), they have also found other applications including very thin electronic wafers, infrared optical components, scientific instruments, high-durability windows, and wristwatch crystals.

Sapphires are found by searching through sediments (their hardness means they resist being eroded more than softer stones), and sometimes in rock formations. Areas where sapphies are found include eastern Australia, China's Shandong province, East Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and the United States (mainly Montana).




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