Blue is the most popular color for sapphire but sapphires can be found in nearly
every imaginable color. These stones are called ?fancy sapphires? and come in shades
of purple, green, yellow, black? all colors except red, as ?red sapphire? is ruby.
The most valuable of all fancy sapphires is the so-called 'padparadsha' variety
where the color should resemble the color of a lotus flower? In fact, it should
be a delicious mix of pink, orange and yellow. Padparadsha are typically coming
from Sri Lanka, but natural padparadsha from Mogok is also known. 'Royal blue' is
the typical color of Burmese sapphire from Mogok it is slightly violetish blue.
'Cornflower blue', is more velvety and typically from Kashmir (India), but is also
found in Mogok, especially in the Thurein Thaung mine which is famous in Burma as
several of its best stones were identified by some major laboratories as being of
'Kashmir Origin' Even after agreeing that origin is not a measure for quality when
dealing with gems, the fact is that top quality Burmese sapphires, along with some
Kashmir stones, are considered to be the finest quality for sapphire.
In the better qualities, determination of origin for these sapphires is a difficult
task. Nowadays production from Mogok is scarce and production in Kashmir is very
weak. Most of the sapphires currently in the market are coming from Madagascar and
Sri Lanka but Thailand (Kanchanaburi), Cambodia (Pailin), Australia and China are
also important producing areas. Like ruby, many sapphires in the market nowadays
owe their beautiful color to heat treatment, and some yellow stones get their color
from irradiation. Chanthaburi in Thailand is the world center for the heat treatment
of gemstones which is something of a semi-scientific alchemy. This treatment ensures
a steady supply of fine stones at affordale prices for gem-lovers the world over.
In fact it has become such an industry standard that 'unheated' rubies and sapphires
are considered collectors items and attain very high prices.