Who's a special snowflake?

Helen

They say that no two snowflakes are alike, and they’re right.  Well, the same goes for sapphires.  Heated sapphires can acquire a sort of an assembly-line resemblance to one another, having taken chance out of the equation, but when you go straight from Nature to artifice?  Anything’s possible.

Special Snowflake

For those interested in snowflakes as well as sapphires, the book of that name might be of interest …. (image, The Snowflake)

For example: we think of sapphires as being blue, yes?  Maybe sometimes other colors, like yellow?  But why narrow the options like that?  Why not have both, in one?

Bi-Color Sapphire

Two, two, two great colors of natural sapphire in one with U2360!

Why not step outside the field of possibility for a natural green sapphire?  (A touch of green is particularly welcome on a day like today, when half the Eastern seaboard is buried under a blizzard: also, see if you can guess the inspiration for this blog topic).  Green sapphires are colored by chromium and vanadium as blue sapphires are colored by iron and rubies by chromium primarily.

Green Sapphire

They say the grass is always greener, but what about the sapphire?  U2817 sort of puts paid to that question

Speaking of rubies … did you know that the distinction between rubies and pink sapphires was a fairly recent one, dating back only as far as the 19th c.?  Prior to that, they were known as “male” and “female” rubies.  While the gender dynamics there might call for a little deconstruction, they certainly cast a new light on the broad range of possibilities in the world of corundum.

Male RubyFemale Ruby

Two sides of the same natural sapphire coin with U2639 and U2572 ….

While we may not all be special snowflakes (to paraphrase Tyler Durden), sapphires sort of are.  At least, they are the way we handle them here at The Natural Sapphire Company.

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T-minus 6 days to V-Day ….

Helen

Some people call Valentine’s Day a Hallmark holiday: I figure, no matter what the reasoning behind it, why would you ever pass up an opportunity to tell your beloved how you feel?

Valentine's Day Candy

Sweets for the sweet, indeed, but are you sure your Valentine might not prefer something a bit more lasting?

Valentine’s Day actually has a long and honorable history: it’s thought to derive from the Roman festival of the Lupercalia, or to hearken back to St. Valentine, supposedly martyred for love in the late Roman period.  Our first extant mention comes from no less an authority on love than one of the fathers of English literature, that renowned poet, Geoffrey Chaucer,  in his “Parlement of Fowles,” wherein he gave us the first “love birds.” Valentine’s Day as we know it today has been celebrated in one guise or another since the 14th century … so instead of breaking with tradition (or breaking your darling’s heart), why not demonstrate how you feel in the clearest way possible?  Give them your heart!  Or, at any rate, a heart ….

The Natural Sapphire Company has laid in great stock to choose from for V-Day.  From blue sapphire pendants to blue sapphire earrings to blue sapphire rings to loose blue natural sapphires to be set as you like, we’ve got it all (and that’s not even getting into our spectrum of additional options).

Natural Blue Sapphire PendantNatural Blue Sapphire Earrings

She can keep blue sapphire pendant J936 close to her heart, or have blue sapphire earrings J1974 whispering sweet nothing in her ears for when you’re not around ….

Natural Blue Sapphire Ringnatural Blue Sapphire Heart

Blue sapphire ring J1995 makes a promise for the future of nothing but the best, and as for natural blue sapphire heart B2288 … well!  Let’s just say that, from St. Valentine himself on down, this holiday’s arbitrators of love would approve.

When you celebrate Valentine’s Day, however you choose to observe it – big, small, low-key or over-the-top – know that regardless of what the critics might say, it’s a holiday with its heart (if you’ll pardon the expression) in the right place.  An opportunity to tell your loved ones how you feel, whatever the history or the contemporary commercial exploitation?  That’s a golden opportunity.  Or even, as we might put it, a sapphire one ….

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A Whiter Shade of Pale ….

Helen

White gold, palladium, or platinum?  It can be hard to pick and choose between the three precious white metals (if you like yellow or rose gold, you’re in the clear – there aren’t really any serious alternative alloys out there).  So let’s run down the list and see what their various virtues are, to help you decide ….

Gold is traditionally one of the most valued metals, and its palest variants most definitely have their virtues: for one thing, the color of white gold is uniquely rich (even “white” gold has a pleasant, buttery warmth to it, though if you prefer the whiter shades of pale you can always have your ring rhodium dipped – the one caveat here is that you’ll need to redip it periodically depending on body chemistry if you choose this option).  18K white gold is a bit more pure and a bit more soft than 14K: both are forms of pure yellow gold alloyed with nickel (or our next metal, palladium).  Before you go with white gold, be sure that you’re not allergic: a small percentage of the population has a negative reaction to the nickel that is most commonly used to adulterate the gold and to give it its color.

White Gold Ring

A 14 carat Ceylon blue sapphire ring, featuring an elegantly minimalist bezel setting

Both palladium and platinum have their virtues: the colors are slightly different, and the feel of the materials is significantly different (palladium definitely deserves its reputation as a space-age metal: it’s very strong, but also very light, whereas platinum is heavier and has a bit more presence).  Palladium is a fairly recent discovery, dating back to 1803, when it was discovered by William Hyde Wollaston, who named it after the recently discovered asteroid Pallas, which was itself named after the Greek goddess, Pallas Athena.  It’s been used widely in jewelry since 1939, when platinum was declared a strategic resource for weapons manufacturing during WWII.

Palladium Ring

Almost 3 carats of natural Ceylon blue sapphire are flattered by half-moon diamonds, all framed in palladium

Platinum tends to be the most prestigious of the precious metals these days: it’s the rarest, and, commensurately, the most expensive.  In terms of how it wears: it’s more malleable than gold, which can make it safer and more long-lasting than gold.  For example, if you accidentally scratch gold, the gold you’ve scratched off will disappear, but if you scratch platinum, it just displaces and can be polished back into place; if you catch a prong on something, in gold it might snap off, but in platinum it will just bend back.  Practical as well as beautiful, familiar to jewelers and designers, and possessed of that certain je ne sais quoi in the eyes of consumers, platinum is the ne plus ultra of the jewelry world’s metal choices.

Platinum Ring

When nothing but the best will do, try Blue Sapphire Ring J317

So which metal is right for you?  It depends on what you want from your jewelry. Cost?  Color?  Durability?  A complex algorithm of all of the above?  Whatever it is, we’ll be happy to help you decide, whether it’s via one of our finished ring settings or our custom jewelry setting process.

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Stop the presses and hold the phones! One of the gem world’s bigger puzzles has a new piece.

Helen

Today’s Washington Post reports that the Smithsonian Museum has concluded that the Wittelsbach-Graff diamond (so renamed for its recent controversial recut by diamond mogul Laurence Graff) and the Hope Diamond are not, as has been speculated, cut from the same piece of rough or even necessarily from the same mine, but rather, are separate gems, complete and entire.

Hope DiamondWittelsbach Diamond, originalWittelsbach-Graff-Diamond

The Hope Diamond: the historical Wittelsbach Diamond; the newly recut and renamed Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond

These two diamonds are two of the rarest stones in the world: the Wittelsbach-Graff Diamond, post-recut, classified as an internally flawless fancy deep blue diamond (now) weighing 31.06 carats, and the Hope Diamond, being an fancy deep grayish-blue diamond of 45.52 carats, sometimes described as resembling the “blue of the most beautiful blue sapphire” (Deulafait).  But why sigh over the unattainable when there are other beautiful blue stones that were also not cut from the same rough as the Hope Diamond somewhat closer within reach?

Enormous Blue Sapphire

B2080 is not the sort of stone that one would kick out of bed for eating crackers.

Possessed of remarkable presence, this 69.35 carat blue Ceylon sapphire is remarkably similar to the Hope Diamond (the Hope’s measurements: 25.60mm × 21.78mm × 12.00mm … and our sapphire’s; 24.19 x 20.87 x 15.74).  We can even provide a similar custom jewelry setting!

But if our near-70 carat beauty is as inaccessible in its own way as the Hope or the Wittelsbach-Graff … why not consider one of our many equally beautiful blue sapphires in the proportions (and price range) that will suit you best?

6.46 carat sapphire B36384.22 Blue Sapphire B25501.77 Blue Sapphire B3440

There’s a certain family resemblance as we go down the line, no?  B3638, B2550, and B3440 may decrease in size (they are, respectively, 6.46 carats, 4.22 carats, and 1.77 carats), but they remain constant in beauty: just imagine the pleasure you’d derive from a  display all your very own … or, possibly better yet, a blue sapphire ring or pendant to carry with you.  Keeping the diamonds under glass just seems like an oxymoron of sorts, doesn’t it?  Luckily we’ve got our sapphires to keep us warm in their stead.

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The Internet is for … choice!

Helen

Online shopping can seem a little intimidating sometimes, especially when you’re dealing with jewelry.  How can you buy something so valuable and so personal sight unseen, right?

Blue Sapphire Engagement Ring

Would you buy your engagement ring online?  If you were looking for a completely natural blue sapphire engagement ring for 5K or less, you might want to consider it ….

Speaking purely as a jewelry aficionado (a lifelong affliction become an avocation), I’ve got to say:  unless you live in one of the jewelry capitols of the world – Antwerp, New York, Tel Aviv, Mumbai, to name only a few –  finding really specific pieces can be a challenge.  Want a “blue-white” diamond, as they used to be called?  A conch pearl?  A tsavorite garnet with a true “horse-tail” inclusion, or an alexandrite from the Ural Mountains?  Or, perhaps a natural pigeon’s-blood ruby, Kashmir blue sapphire, or padparadscha sapphire?  Then unless you want to limit your options to a fraction of what they could be, embrace the internet!  Like any other marketplace, it’s all about how you approach it.

Natural Pink Star Sapphire

A pink star sapphire of 30+ carats is a rarity that it might be hard to locate … at least, if you were trying to shop with your feet alone.

So how do you choose your online retailer?  Even if are lucky enough to live in one of the world’s jewelry capitols, finding something that meets your specific desires can still be tough!  The online option really expands the possibilities.  I work in the jewelry district in NY, so between proximity and connections you’d think I’d never buy elsewhere, but my own last big purchase was made online with a company that’s located hundreds of miles away: they had what I wanted for a great price, I trusted their certificate for the basics, their sales representative to tell me the truth about whether the stone was eye-clean … and, their return policy perhaps most of all, just in case I’d misjudged any of the above.   I’d say those are the basic requirements for a satisfying online shopping experience: if you’re looking for something that’s hard to find a good selection of in-person, with the added bonus of lower prices because of lower overheard, online shopping can be a lifesaver if you can find a place with policies that make you comfortable.  Checking out consumer internet forums to see if the place you’re considering is reputable can also be reassuring.

All of this goes for online shopping in general (consider it a public service announcement), but coming back to us, specifically?  Well, The Natural Sapphire Company has been in business for 70 years, largely because we do try to do everything we can to put the customer first.  We have an enormous selection of loose natural sapphires of every hue – blue sapphires, yellow sapphires, pink sapphires, to name only our biggest categories – and rubies, and our finished inventory of natural blue sapphire engagement rings, weddings bands, and other jewelry pieces is unparalleled.  Since we’ve adapted to the internet, that means we perform the most complete testing and analysis of our stones on the market, and put the results online for your perusal: we’ll happily take photographs of pieces you’re considering from every angle;  if you’re thinking of custom work with us, we’ll do 3D CAD models and send the waxes out to you for approval; if you’re hesitating between stones, we’ll mail a selection out to you for approval, so that you can choose in person.  An inspection period is built into every purchase, and we are quite willing to adapt our policies in whatever way will make you most comfortable.

Natural Green Sapphire Pear

Consider the possibility of a ripe green sapphire pear set in one of our custom jewelry settings ….

Even if you never buy with us, if you’re nervous about internet shopping I hope you’ll reconsider: after all, choosing for choice is always the way to go, right?

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3D Setting Models

Min Min

We’re about to launch a new system for our jewelry suggestions.  Here at The Natural Sapphire Company, we do a lot of custom work.  Through this service, we produce custom jewelry pieces for customers; blue sapphire rings,  and red ruby pendants, yellow sapphire earrings,  you name it; from the choice of the stone to the finish on the jewelry, each piece is made exclusively to suit the individual purchaser.

Currently, using “Jewelry Suggestions,” our company helps customers in choosing stones, i.e., sapphires, rubies, etc. Then we creat custom jewelry designs according to the customer’s wishes: our 3D department creates detailed renderings that incorporate all of the customer’s desires, and the renderings are translated to tangible form using wax models. Once we get these real-life models, our marketing department either sends the model off to the customer or invites the customers to visit our showroom to approve the design, or tweak it to make any necessary changes.  We’ll repeat the process as many times as is necessary until we achieve perfect customer satisfaction before we’ll send the design off to be cast in gold, platinum, or palladium.  Sometimes, customers make repeat visions before their vision really gels: it can be a frustrating process for the customer with the visits and the wait while the new models are developed.  And we really believe in keeping our customers happy ….

Natural Sapphire Company Login

First, you log into your account ….

So we’ve invented and developed a program that will help to abbreviate that process.  Our new 3-D Setting Models are intended for customer use, and will allow customers to see their jewelry designs in 3D space, to examine them from every angle, the better to say, “No, I want the shank to be thinner …” or “Can you make the prongs swoopier?”

How does it work?  This new 3-D viewer will be very similar to the 3-D interactive stone system that is already available for our loose stones (for example, feast your eyes on beautiful blue sapphire B3242 from every angle!), but more advanced, creating models with tone and hue for the most realistic experience possible.  Our models are almost photographic in quality.

Natural Sapphire Company Design Page

Then, you’ll examine the design options ….

Our 3D department will make create a model that will be uploaded to the customer’s account for approval: customers will be able to log in to examine their prospective settings in three dimensions, from whatever angle they like.  If there are changes to be made, the model will be updated prior to the creation of the wax model which will go to the casting house.  This will enable us to maximize customer convenience!  We’re very excited, and we hope you will be, too.  This system will be going live very, very soon.

Natural Sapphire Company Matrix Viewer

And, voila!  Your ring, in all its glory ….

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Leap? Across what, the artifical chasm that had to be dug in order to establish the foundations for the suspension of disbelief?

Helen

You know what really irritates me?  When a story needs to assume a wholly unrealistic condition in order to exist.  I’m not talking about speculative fiction: assume away with your FTL transport and your parallel universes!  Have a party with your elves and your unicorns!  No, I’m talking about the social assumptions that seem to underlie the current crop of chick flicks (first and foremost that, say, the assumption these movies are meant to entertain women rather than insult them).  The movie that’s currently drawing my ire is the unfortunate Leap Year

There are a number of factors working against “Leap Year,” starting with the fact that it isn’t a Leap Year (very discombobulating to those of us who’d considered throwing Leap Day parties only to find ourselves cruelly disappointed until 2012), but centering on the basic premise of the film: that women can only propose to men on a single day every 4 years.

Also, you can only ask a man to a dance on Sadie Hawkins Day, or open the door for him on Opposite Day.

Hey, wait, I forgot!  It’s the 21st century, and the movie fails off the bat for requiring such a massive suspension of disbelief.  (Sorry, Amy Adams: loved you in Enchanted!)  I will admit, though, there is one thing and one thing alone that makes me want to see the movie, or at least an excerpt from it: I want to see the ring.

More and more these days, women are proposing to men, or couples are deciding to get engaged in tandem rather than having a traditional proposal.  Many women who receive traditional proposals find that they’d like to reciprocate and buy a symbolic present for their husbands-to-be, both to celebrate the momentous decision, and to tell the world.

JS635

Is your man a minimalist, fond of classical styles?  A platinum band like JS635 set with an emerald-cut white sapphire will tell him you appreciate his elegant stylings.

JS363

Does he appreciate the finer things in life?  Is he the sort to enjoy a brandy and a good cigar?  He’ll fall in love with a high-quality 18k patterned gold band like JS363, set with a Ceylon sapphire of the highest quality.

JS346

Or does he march to the beat of his own drummer?  Is he into steampunk, Apple products, and the coolest new fusion, be it music or cuisine?  He might get a kick out of a highly individualized band like the 10-sided JS346 in rose gold ring, set with a pigeons-blood ruby from Burma.

So why not consider one of our gorgeous sapphire bands as a present for that man of yours?  If none of these appeal specifically, you could always go the custom route with one of our custom-designed ring settings.  Valentine’s Day gift, engagement present, or wedding ring, we’re living in an age of equality – it seems only fair that the boys should get some of the bling too, right?

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With this ring ….

Joe

At the most basic level, a wedding band is a metal hoop. Depending on the local culture, it is worn on the base of the right or the left ring finger. But the symbolism of the ring … that’s considerably more complex.  The wedding ring symbolizes marriage: spouses wear them to indicate their commitment to one another.  The European custom of wearing such a ring has spread widely beyond Europe.  In North America and some European countries, many married women wear two rings on the same finger: an engagement ring and a plain wedding band. Some women who have been married a long time wear three rings on their finger: a wedding band, an engagement ring, and an anniversary ring.

A

A custom-made palladium wedding set featuring a sapphire center-stone very similar to B2610

Palladium has recently become a popular material for wedding bands, due to its durability and affordability.  Sapphire engagement rings are simultaneously enjoying a renewed popularity for similar reasons: as a 9 on the Moh’s scale, sapphire is tough enough to withstand daily wear, and varied enough to fit every budget.  The cost of the sapphire center-stone varies depending on the color, size and the transparency. And a sapphire ring can be personalized further according to the wearer’s tastes with purple, pink, green or yellow sapphire accent stones!

B

Another custom wedding set – unique relationships inspire the desire for unique wedding rings!  But if you like the style of this ring, you might appreciate JS157 or JS366 … or you might enjoy designing your own set with us!

Of course, comfort is key to the wearability of your wedding set: at NSC, your quality is assured, but a preference for thicker or thinner sets among women should be taken into account. But rest assured … whatever color or style you choose, you will treasure your sapphire engagement ring and wedding band for years and years to come.

C

Take a peek at our customizable ring settings and see which one might be right for you … or which one will inspire you to create your own!

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"Forever" carries a lot of baggage ….

Helen

The role of sapphires in the engagement industry today fascinates me. Right now, we’re in a diamond monopoly thanks to the incredibly good advertising campaign created by N.W  Ayer in 1948.  Frances Gerety, the copywriter who created the “A Diamond is Forever” ad campaign is to be commended in perpetuity … but in point of fact the tradition of the diamond engagement ring is only about 100 years old.  Sapphires?  Well, the “forever” claim is taken, but we could definitely say that a sapphire has a long history as an engagement stone.  Sapphires symbolize honesty and fidelity, and some cultures believed that they helped attune partners to one another.  We’re a modern business, though, so looking to the future as well as the past ….

White sapphire engagement ring

Diamond?  Nah.  The minimalist style and maximum impact of a glorious white sapphire of nearly 3 carats in a beautiful bezel setting.

One of the really important things about sapphires, to my mind, is that they’re genuinely rare.  Diamonds?  Thanks to a long-standing monopoly their prices have been very carefully regulated, but they’re not really uncommon.  Sapphires and rubies?  With all of their variations in hue and tone adding another element into the mix?  Those are rare.  Especially untreated natural sapphires.  From a romantic perspective, it’s nice to know that the physical object that’s symbolizing your bond genuinely is one-of-a-kind (more so, even if you consider a custom made ring setting … but that’s a topic for another post).

Ruby engagement ring

A natural ruby engagement ring that’s fit for a queen ….

It’s also nice when the object in question is genuinely about you, and not a piece that advertises your status as much as your love: I’ve heard many engaged women wearing diamonds complain that the first question they get is “How big is it?” Given the standardization of diamond prices, it’s almost like being asked, “How much did he spend?”  And that in turn leads to comments like “Oh, he must love you so much ….”  It’s a fairly direct and fairly disturbing train of thought that equates love and money, and it makes women into commodities almost as much as it does diamonds.  With sapphires, we don’t have those kinds of expectations: it’s entirely about what a couple loves, what expresses their feelings for one another and their individual tastes.

Guess that sapphire!Guess that sapphire!2

Two equally beautiful engagement ring options, two very different styles, and two very different budgets: compare for yourself!

A large part of the appeal of sapphire engagement rings like these is based  in personal style: they look like the metaphorical “million bucks,” but they won’t tell your coworkers or your in-laws anything other than that you have excellent taste.

Blue Sapphire Engagement Ring

Classic simplicity with a twist with a blue sapphire engagement ring ….

Today more and more people are considering alternatives to diamonds – either because of the greater range of value in all shapes, sizes, and colors, or because they don’t feel like advertising their financial status (for better or for worse) in this economic climate – but really coming to love what they symbolize once they take off the diamond blinders.  Here’s to infinite diversity in infinite combination ….

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The Great Wide World of Natural White Sapphires

Wakako

White sapphire is a little different from blue sapphire, pink sapphire, yellow sapphire, papadrascha sapphire and ruby, because whereas with all of those stones their color is their main selling point … with white sapphire, it’s absence of color is its main attraction!  White sapphires complement jewelry designs of various bents, and coordinates beautifully with many styles.  It’s tough to get bored with a stone that goes with anything, transcending fashion.

White sapphires possess a beautiful icy gleam.  Diamonds and white sapphires share some characteristics, but diamond’s higher refraction can make it almost too eye-catching in the larger sizes: white sapphires, on the other hand, give you size and sparkle without overwhelming the gaze.

Our natural white sapphires speak for themselves!  Check out these white sapphire suggestions from our design inventory:

A.JS851

An emerald-cut white sapphire (U2815), mounted in a gorgeous contemporary ring setting (JS851)with a matching set of stud earrings (JS860 with PR617) advertises your modern flair!

B.JS898

A cushion-cut white sapphire (U2340) set in an antique-inspired wedding set (JS898) featuring a flower motif will suit you down to the ground, day in and day out, while matching earrings (JS220, set with PR781-U) keep your head in the clouds.

C.JS420#1

A classic 3-stone sapphire ring setting (JS420) is the perfect frame for a feminine oval-cut white sapphire (U2542) , matched with a sophisticated pendant that echoes its clean lines (JS105 featuring U2560)

D.JSM112

A 6-prong Tiffany setting with a channel-set diamond band (JS18) makes a magnificent backdrop for an icy-white brilliant-cut sapphire (U2769).  Enjoy an especially clean and lovely look with a pair of organic white sapphires (PR923) set in delicate stud earrings (JS831).

E.JS258

White sapphire (U2778) performs well with bold designs in yellow gold, too (JS258). This unique band could go nicely with a classically-inspired bezel (JS375) set with a carat of gorgeouswhite sapphire (U2774).

If you have not sampled the world of white sapphires yet, consider one from our natural white sapphires in a custom designed mounting from The Natural Sapphire Company!

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