Blue for a … girl?

Helen

With Mother’s Day on the horizon, thoughts turn to the question of appropriate gifts to celebrate motherhood.  The same issue can arise throughout the year with the custom of the push present, but in spring, young or old, a father’s fancy lightly to thoughts of how to best express his love.

It can be easy to feel a little limited by social expectations, and at odds with them: if you have two sons whom you want to celebrate with your wife but you know she hates the color blue, what do you do?  Well, for one, you can take comfort in the fact that the whole idea of blue being for boys and pink being for girls, while it may appear to be so ingrained as to be natural to the species,  is actually kind of nonsensical ….

Up until WWII, the common associations were actually reversed: pale blue, associated with the Virgin Mary, was seen as being a demure color, appropriate for baby girls (let’s not go into the social expectations there, so as to avoid apoplexy), whereas pink was seen as the baby version of powerful, passionate red, eminently suitable for baby boys (see also, avoiding apoplexy).   So all in all, rather than having to adhere to a falsely-constructed set of expectations, follow  your bliss and get the mommy in your life whatever you think she’ll love best.

J391J582

Natural pink sapphire ring J391 is a classic piece, irresistible for a classically elegant woman … and perfect to someday pass down to your daughter, or daughter-in-law when you become grandparents.  And J582, featuring a natural pink sapphire marquis in an Etruscan-inspired asymmetrical setting, is perfect for the mother with a sense of style that’s equal parts ancient and modern ….

J291J1750

A blue star sapphire ring like J291 will put stars in her eyes … while a gorgeous floral-inspired natural sapphire and diamond cluster ring like J1750 will last long after more fleeting bouquets have faded.

J1165

And, frankly, why choose?  Have it all with pink and blue sapphire ring J1165.

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So you want to get married ….

Helen

The sun is shining … the birds are singing … your heart is overflowing with joy, because you’re in love.  Getting married is the inevitable next step!  That said, there might be a few … hindrances.  Like, for example, the recession, especially when it comes up against some of the marital traditions, concluding with the Big White Wedding, but starting out with (da-da-dum!) the ring.

The recession really serves to highlight the inherent difficulty of the tradition of the diamond engagement ring (well, one of them).  On the one hand, there’s the beauty of the gesture, and the symbolism of the ring: on the other hand, there’s the reality that when you’re starting your life together, the cost of a diamond can be a bit of a bitter pill … especially when you consider the fact, common knowledge, that diamonds are not especially rare, that their prices are artificially inflated.

So what’s a happy new couple to do?  There are many alternatives out there, but a lot of them seem … unpalatable.  Synthetics can be lovely, but their connotations – “fake” as opposed to natural, the potential for their being seen as deceptive if anyone assumes them to be “real,” etc. – can be distasteful.  The world is full of beautiful colored stones, but many of them are considerably softer than diamond, and unsuitable for daily wear on the hand (I myself love opals and moonstones … a little too much to subject them to the daily abuse they’d get from someone who makes a habit of working with her hands!) , or, alternately, are subjected to the kinds of treatment that make them into unfortunate hybrids.   So where does that leave you, the loving couple?

Natural sapphires are a perfect solution.  Sapphires are traditional symbols of fidelity, with a tradition as engagement rings that far predates the diamond’s early-20th c. roots: natural sapphires are rare and precious, a nice association with your feelings for your partner; and, in this economy, best of all, they’re affordable.

J2033J1376

Affordable is in the eye of the beholder … but behold some of our engagement ring fashions, and see if they might not be right for you:  where else could you find a gorgeous white sapphire solitaire of almost a carat like J2033 … for less than $1000?  Or a rare natural orangish-pink sapphire, of the hue known as padparadscha, the marriage of the lotus and the sunset, like J1376, for but a little more?

J1568J387

And if your eye leans towards something a little more extravagant, we can most certainly accommodate you: from the perfect simplicity and breathtaking rarity of ruby ring J1568 to the old-world glamour of 6-carat natural blue sapphire J387.

The recession may have inspired a renewed interest in sapphires as an alternative to diamond, but whatever the initial reasoning, the reminder that natural sapphires are worthy of serious consideration is priceless.  Now that the economy is looking up (hallelujah!),   that’s no reason to turn away from sapphires and back to the tried, the true, the overpriced: I’d call it a reason to examine your broadened horizons, and consider going for the sapphire of your dreams ….

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Ring in the spring with natural sapphire earrings

Helen

While it feels a little like picking one’s favorite child out of a thriving brood, I have to admit, out of all of the jewelry pieces out there in the world, my favorites, now and forever, are earrings.  There’s something undeniably appealing about a piece of jewelry that isn’t just intrinsically flattering in its own right, but which also serves to decorate and adorn the focal point of one’s person … the face.

It appears that earrings are a rising trend right now: observing the Oscars, JCK Online’s Jennifer Heebner notes that one of the biggest trends to emerge from the red carpet this year was the oversized earring, donned by actresses such as Rachel McAdams (late of “Sherlock Holmes” fame).

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The visual balance between the dress and the earrings is sheer perfection, and a good model for a season that’s shaping up to be all about the exaggerated silhouette ….

If you’re interested in recreating the look for yourself, why not explore spring’s palette in natural sapphires?  As my esteemed colleague Wakako pointed out, this season’s colors offer a lot of options.   And there’s really nothing quite as satisfying as twisting fashion to suit your own tastes ….

Padparadscha Sapphire Earrings J170

Natural padparadscha earrings J170 provide the perfect pop of color to usher in the spring

Natural Sapphire TriColor Earrings J1482

Natural sapphires in pink and yellow are paired with a half- carat of colorless diamonds for an effect that would have the Easter Bunny himself thumping a foot in approval – J1482

Color-Change Sapphire Pair PR982-U

Or, if you want to craft your own, a pair of unique color-change sapphires like PR982-U would make for an excellent starting point for the custom jewelry settings of your choice

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The subtlety of sapphires – small changes can make a big difference

Koichiro

Jewelry packs a strong punch, impression-wise, for something that’s rather small, proportionally speaking: even a wide-band ring is unlikely to measure more than 20 mm (at most), or 2 mm in thickness at the average.  However, this small world is a sensitive one: if you want to change a design by even half a millimeter, the design of the ring could be altered immensely.

For example, please take a look the JS258 in two variations: first as a straight white sapphire band and then as a curved white sapphire band.

straight bandcurved band

I used exactly the same pattern in creating these two designs: however, the shape of the band differs very slightly, for a very different effect.

The curved band looks more soft and shapely, doesn’t it? Something about this curvy shape strikes me as being ultrafeminine.

On the other hand, the straight band looks more streamlined to my eyes.  I think this straight band could suit a man or a woman – anybody with a contemporary aesthetic with a touch of vintage flair.

The Natural Sapphire Company is very flexible when it comes to custom jewelry settings: we want you to have what you want.

Please feel free to ask us about your own idea or design.  We will be pleased to work with you to create your very own one-of-a-kind custom-made natural sapphire ring.

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Oscar gold is enhanced by stunning sapphires ….

Helen

It’s that time of year once more … the Oscars have come round!

While the Oscars are putatively a celebration of cinematic achievement, it’s pretty well accepted that right after the honor of being nominated and the victory of receiving an award comes the cachet of making the Best-Dressed List, or the glorious ignominy of making the Worst-Dressed List.

One lady who’s always at the top of the Best-Dressed List?  Victoria Beckham.  Once again wearing her stunningly beautiful oval sapphire ring, the Artist Formerly Known as Posh is resplendent in a beautifully modern take on the classical Grecian garment, designed by no other than … Posh Spice herself!  Well played, madam.

posh sapphireJ1697

If you crave a ring like Posh’s, you might like J1697 ….

Hollywood up-and-comer Elizabeth Banks is making all the Best-Dressed Lists in her dove-grey Versace.  Banks channels old-Hollywood glamour masterfully, with just a little help from her vintage sapphire-and-diamond earrings, courtesy of Fred Leighton.

elizabeth banksJ621

A good pair of earrings can really put the perfect finishing touch on even the most beautiful outfit … just consider natural sapphire and diamond earrings J621

Cheryl Hines is timelessly beautiful in an elegantly plunging black dress by Pamella Roland: it’s the perfect foil for her opera-length diamond and sapphire pendant.

500x_cherylhines3710J1481

Love the look?  Recreate it with something like diamond and sapphire necklace J1481

Congratulations to all the nominees and to all the winners, regardless in which arena they were competing!

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The Fascination of Sapphires and Their Internal Structures ….

Kevin F

The very first time that I looked inside a sapphire through a gem microscope, I couldn’t say anything but “Wow!”

I am still fascinated by the internal structures of natural sapphires to this day. Every time when I see a new natural inclusion, I am still speechless, regardless of how many I have seen.  The thing is, no two inclusions are alike.  Each stone possesses its own unique identity when it comes to the internal structure of the gemstone. Any material that is trapped inside the crystal during its formation is what we called an inclusion.

In our on-site lab, we are always studying these magnificent inclusions since inclusions are among the most important factors for identifying a stone’s authenticity and what treatments it has undergone (if any).  For your pleasure and edification, please find a few examples below ….

Figure_1

Figure 1: Group of crystals along with negative crystals. This inclusion scene confirms that this stone has no indication of heat treatment. Diffused transmitted light 65x. ©NSC

Figure_2

Figure 2: Guest mineral in a pink sapphire attached to a burst halo, surrounded by several discoid crystals. This inclusion scene confirms that this stone has been heat treated. Darkfield illumination. 50x. ©NSC

Figure_3

Figure 3: Woven of long rutile threads, “silk” is one of the main elements of the inclusion scene of Sri Lankan (Ceylon) sapphire. Oblique overhead illumination 50x. ©NSC

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The personal is political: blood diamonds vs. natural sapphires

Helen

The love of diamonds is a wholly understandable thing.  Diamonds are strong, beautiful, and the subjects of the most successful advertising campaign in history, thanks to Frances Gerety’s “Eureka!” moment which resulted in the hugely successful slogan “A Diamond is Forever.”  But they’re not the only choice out there, and as more information becomes available, the more it seems important to consider alternatives, from synthetics to natural sapphires.

As is possible with any precious thing, diamonds have become a source of strife and conflict, leading to the term “conflict diamond,” or, “blood diamond.”  Popularized by the 2006 movie “Blood Diamond,”  the violence and bloodshed permeating the diamond industry were brought into the public eye.  The movie chronicled the environment which led to the creation of the Kimberley Process.  Brought to fruition in 2003, the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme (KPCS) is intended to create documentation for every diamond on the market which guarantees that the stones have not been used to fund rebel movements, in the hope that an inability to sell the stones will lead to the end of their being mined under brutal conditions.

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Unfortunately, the process is not without flaws: Zimbabwe’s president, Robert Mugabe, recently threatened to break with the Kimberley Process, and diamond industry leader Martin Rappaport recently resigned from the World Diamond Council, saying “Tens of thousands of carats of blood diamonds are now in dealers’ inventories and jewelers’ showcases — and are being actively sold to consumers….Instead of eliminating blood diamonds, the KP has become a process for the systematic legalization and legitimization of blood diamonds.”

It’s hard to think of a more reputable source, given that Rappaport helped to draft the legislation himself.

So what’s a responsible consumer to do?  Though diamonds may have primacy in the marketplace, it’s in the hands of the individual buyers as to whether that remains true.  There’s a saying that the personal is political, that every one of our little choices is an action of consequence; from what we drive to what we eat to, yes, what we wear.  Natural sapphires present an equally precious alternative to a market that’s a source of increasing discomfort for ethical consumers.  The choice of what you’ll wear on your hand to represent your love is in your hands: make an informed decision.

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Custom settings for natural sapphires, now in 3D!

Those of you who are not satisfied watching a simple looping clip animation or still images on a website will now have the chance to have fun with the interactive 3D viewer on our website. This program allows you to examine your customized sapphire rings or pendants from every angle before you even get them in hand. If you can’t wait to get your custom jewelry setting, this can be very satisfying!

Traditionally, computer generated images and photographs are still images that only display at certain angles. It’s not possible to rotate them or to change their colors, as many users wish to do.  But now, our new interactive 3D viewer’s URL is embedded within the site, allowing you to get a closer look at the custom jewelry without losing any of the model’s quality.   For example, just take a look at the mesh frameworks for our CGI renderings of JS442 and JS190 ….

Meshed Pendant JS442Meshed Pendant JS190

The program displays a visualization of the actual piece itself, allowing you to have a closer look at the details and to change the color of the sapphire or change the color of the model, and to see the piece from every angle by rotating the image as well.

JS442 3D viewer modelJS190 3D viewer model platinum

Additionally, a button in the lower right-hand corner will take the viewer to a video of how the custom jewelry setting will look in reality, to get “the big picture.”

With this interactive program that we now offer at The Natural Sapphire Company, you can jump right into the virtual world to get a sense of your custom jewelry setting and have fun imagining and visualizing how your natural sapphire ring or pendant will look when it’s complete, by yourself or with your loved one.

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Festival of Color … ed sapphires!

Helen

Happy Holi!

The Festival of Colours, as it is known, begins on the day after the full moon in the month of Phalunga (February/March according to the Western calendar), and continues for 5 days of merriment and celebration.   Holi has been called a “festival of radiance,” during which “different waves of radiance traverse the universe, thereby creating various colors that nourish and complement the function of respective elements in the atmosphere.”  During the festival, celebrants obviate caste with symbolic role-playing: men and women engage in role-reversal with playful mock-battles; and everyone enjoys a riot of color with pigmented powders and paints.

Holi ElephhantHoli, Festival of Color 1Holi, Festival of Color 2

For more images from last year’s Holi, check out this article at The Big Picture

Given the chromatic connection and India’s long-standing tradition with the world of natural sapphires, the festival automatically gives rise to thoughts of brilliant examples of color, like the ones to be found in the world of sapphires (well, at least it does for me).    Just look at this glorious rainbow.  Aren’t you interested in celebrating a Festival of Color all your own?

Holi 2Holi Sapphire B3573Holi Ruby U2678

Vivid sapphire B3573 and vibrant ruby U2678 will certainly get you off to a glorious start … or, for the rest of the spectrum, just consider our selection of unique natural sapphires ….

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Adding sapphire video to NSC’s website ….

Doelay

Isn’t it nice to be able to see videos of the sapphires that you are interested in? We have reallocated our resources for adding new features and improvements to our web site and made video a top priority anew.

After the most recent update of our website’s video capacity, development was on hiatus briefly: now, once again, we are working hard at expanding our capacity and adding new and increasingly sophisticated video treatments of our beautiful natural sapphires.

Here are a few blue sapphires that are soon to get the royal treatment ….

B771B3414

Still-life in blue sapphire … B711 and B3414

… and, coming soon to an NSC page near you, B711 and B3414 in living color, and, better yet, motion ….

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