Sapphire is a hard crystallized substance known as corundum. Sapphires come in a variety of colors (blue, pink, yellow and white), but are famous for their rich, deep royal blue color. Found in several regions around the world, Sapphires have become the most popular precious gemstone, behind diamonds. Sapphires get their blue color from trace elements of titanium. Sapphires are mined from Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Kashmir, Thailand and Australia. Each region is known to produce a variety of colors. Sapphires derive their value from size and quality. While no standard grading methodology exists, color tends to be the most important factor. The focal points of sapphire quality examination include hue, tone and saturation. As the size and quality increase, so does the price. Sapphires are available in many shapes and sizes.
Sapphires are cut in various shapes. Sapphires have gained a lot of popularity in engagement rings (especially as an alternative to diamonds), and round cuts and oval cut sapphires seem to be most popular. Princess Diana was credited with making the oval cut sapphire famous with her engagement ring. High quality sapphire has a glow and sparkle due to high refraction. The faceting of round and oval shapes gives them reflective and sparkling qualities. Other shapes such as cushion, princess/square, octagon and marquise are popular as well. Round and oval sapphires are the most premium due to popularity and rough wastage as they are being cut. Cushion cut sapphires are more rare than other shapes, but more common in larger sizes above 5mm.
Princess cuts are generally available in smaller sizes about 4mm and below. Here is a sampling of all the popular Sapphire shapes: