Sapphires are a gem variety of corundum. The classy color and the magnificent luster make sapphire the most desired gemstones. Sapphires are produced in many countries across the globe, but only three locations namely Kashmir, Burma and Sri Lanka (Ceylon) are notable for producing fine quality sapphires. Blue sapphires from Sri Lanka are widely referred to as Ceylon Sapphires in trade. Ceylon is the former name of Sri Lanka. The official name Sri Lanka was given in the year 1972.
Ceylon Sapphires are world famous for their large size and unparalleled qualities like mesmerizing hues, high clarity and saturation. The hardness of sapphire is 9 on Mohs hardness scale. Ceylon sapphires do not require treatment as they have good saturation medium blue hues. The reflection of blue color is due to the presence of mineral titanium in the crystal. As they are naturally beautiful, ceylon sapphires are sold as untreated stones. Each nature made sapphire is unique, which makes them the much demanded gemstone in the market. The top three world’s largest gem quality faceted sapphires so far are from Sri Lanka.
Blue Giant of the Orient (466 Carat), the largest blue faceted sapphire in the world till date is a cushion-cut, untreated natural ceylon sapphire. Little was known about the ownership of this ceylon sapphire .The last time , blue giant of orient surfaced to public appearance was in May 2004, at Geneva.
Logan blue sapphire (423 carat), the second largest, is named after Mrs. John A. Logan, who donated this valuable possession to the Smithsonian Institution. This enormous ceylon sapphire is embedded in a brooch setting surrounded by white diamonds. It is the heaviest mounted gem in the National gem collection at Smithsonian.Blue belle of Asia (400 carats), the third largest is the most expensive sapphire and the most expensive coloured stone sold.
Sapphires are believed to be associated with virtues like love, loyalty and wisdom and are adorned by royals from historical time periods. Ceylon sapphires are significant gemstones found in royal jewellery collections. Because of its rarity, ceylon sapphires are preferred in the royal engagement rings.The engagement ring worn by Miss Middleton, the duchess of Cambridge is made with an oval shaped ceylon sapphire of 12 carats. This ring is an iconic jewellery as it was actually given to Princess Diana by Prince Charles.
Sapphire brooch of Empress Maria Alexandrovna is another popular jewellery embedded with ceylon sapphire. The gemstone weighs 260 carats and is familiar for its enormous size, exceptional clarity and colour. The brooch is now exhibited at the State Diamond Fund of the Russian Federation.
Another marvellous piece of jewellery made with ceylon sapphires is Hall sapphire and Diamond Necklace. It is made with 36 cushion cut ceylon sapphires totaling 195 carats along with diamonds. It is now on display at Smisthsonian museum.
Sapphire mines of Sri Lanka are the oldest known and records on ceylon sapphires can be found in historical accounts. Sri Lanka continues as an unrivaled producer of extraordinarily high quality sapphire. The naturally beautiful gemstones combined with exquisite craftsmanship of Sri lankan gem cutters makes ceylon sapphires much celebrated and demanded as diamonds.