Sapphires, along with diamonds, emeralds, and rubies, are the most highly prized and precious of all gemstones. Sapphire is the name for all varieties of the mineral corundum that are not red (red corundum is known as Ruby). Other than diamond, no other mineral is harder than sapphire. While sapphires are commonly blue, this gemstone can also be found in shades of pink, orange, yellow, green, purple, and black.
The most important sapphire deposits are located in Australia, Burma, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
The ancient Persians believed that the earth rested on a giant sapphire and its reflection colored the sky. Sapphires have been worn by royalty throughout history, as this gemstone is a symbol of good fortune, virtue, and wisdom. Both Princess Diana and Princess Anne received sapphire engagement rings and the British Crown Jewels are full of large blue sapphires.
Traces of titanium and iron give sapphire a blue color, vanadium lends a purple color, and pink sapphires contain traces of chromium.