Masoala Sapphire Gemstone
Blue sapphires are often thought of as the quintessential blue gemstone. Masoala sapphires represent an exciting new addition to this vast family of gemstones. Masoala sapphires are an affordable option for anyone who covets the legendary Ceylon sapphires of Sri Lanka.
The heavenly blues of Masoala sapphire are pure and clean, applied through a proprietary process to cut stones. In nature, this sapphire rough is nearly colorless in appearance. These gems are shaped into calibrated round or oval shapes before finishing.
Masoala Sapphire Quality Factors
Stone treatments are a common occurrence in today's gem industry. These treatments help these genuine gems put their best foot forward, by finishing what nature began. Masoala sapphire undergoes a fissure filling process, where cobalt blue lead glass is injected into the stone. During heating, the glass fills in the fissures and blemishes on the surface of the stone, smoothing out its appearance and improving its color.
Sapphires rank as a nine on the Mohs scale of hardness and are the definitive stone for this level. Sapphires are an excellent gemstone for everyday wear, as their hardness makes them very resistant to scratches and abrasion. Also, these gems also possess an excellent toughness, resilient to most knocks and bumps they might encounter in your day-to-day life. Sapphire jewelry is a fantastic option for any signature jewelry piece you want to wear daily.
Due to this treatment method, Masoala sapphires should not be exposed to heat or chemicals. Either could damage the stone. Otherwise, the treatment is relatively stable and should last years for your enjoyment. Steam and ultrasonic cleaners should also be avoided, as they will damage the gemstone. The best way to clean this sapphire is with mild dishwashing liquid, lukewarm water, and a soft bristled brush. Dry with a soft cloth and watch it sparkle!
Masoala Sapphire Versus Kanchanaburi Sapphire
When compared to Kanchanaburi sapphires from Thailand, Masoala sapphires present an alternate shade from which to choose. Kanchanaburi sapphires are a deeper navy blue color, while Masoala sapphires favor a royal blue appearance. Masoala sapphire is a great choice for any lover of blue jewels! Consider it if you're already a fan of blue stones such as London blue topaz, Santa Maria aquamarine, or tanzanite.
Masoala Sapphire as a Birthstone
• Sapphires are the modern birthstone for September, and Masoala sapphire makes a beautiful addition to this vast selection! With vibrant, enchanting blues, this sapphire is a great choice for anyone who adores the quintessential blue gem. The use of birthstones can be traced as far back as Medieval Europe in the 15th century. While other birthstones have risen and fallen in popularity, sapphires have maintained their lasting appeal.
• For Taureans of the tropical zodiac, sapphire is also a birthstone. Taurus is the astrological sign for those born between April 20th through May 21st.
• Sapphires are also the traditional gift for the 23rd wedding anniversary.
Blue as a Talismanic Color
• Blue hues have long been associated with wisdom and intelligence. These airy qualities were also heavily associated with the sky, as were blue sapphires. Starting as far back as 12th century Europe, sapphires were set into ecclesiastical rings as a sign of connection to Heaven. Pope Innocent III had commanded bishops and cardinals to wear sapphire stones on their right hands. For those unfamiliar with Catholic tradition, the right hand is used when giving blessings. This helped cement the stone's heavenly connection in Western culture.
• In addition, many lapidary books of Medieval Europe identified blue sapphires as an antidote against poison. Most of this lore involves crushing the stone and blending it with a liquid such as water to create a tincture or tonic. It would be rapidly drunk to slow and remove the effects of ingested poison.
Stone of Saturn
• The origin of the word sapphire can be traced to Latin, Greek, and Hebrew roots. Going further back, it's possible to connect these words to the Sanskrit sanipriya, which means "dear to the planet Saturn." This is significant, as in Hindu astrology sapphires were considered to protect against the planet Saturn, which often did not bode well in a person's horoscope when its influence was felt.
Sapphires have been found all over the world, coming in a wide variety of colors and displaying a fascinating variety of optical effects. The colorless sapphire used in creating Masoala sapphire comes from the area around Masoala, Madagascar and Nosy Be, a remote island off Madagascar's coast.
Mining for Sapphire in Madagascar
Much of the Masoala Peninsula is dominated by the Masoala National Park. The park encompasses over 1400 square miles of rainforest, and the government protects this region from the encroachment of humanity.
Nearly forty miles north of the park is the little town of Ambohitralanana. From this region, the mining of Masoala sapphire occurs. Remotely located, the most reliable way to travel to this location is by foot. Extraction of the white corundum is carried out by artisanal miners. These are independent contractors who work from tiny claims throughout the countryside. Mining is done through traditional means, with shovels and picks being the tools of choice.
Two types of hand-dug mining happen here. Sometimes, shafts are dug straight into the Earth, only a few feet across. Up to four workers work together in teams to create these structures than can plumb depths of up to 75 feet. Once a vein of material is reached, digging is done parallel to the shaft, following the seam. Miners dig by the light of candles or torches, and rough is passed to the surface by the use of winch, pulley, and bucket.
Alternately, great pits are dug in other areas. Teams of between 20-40 workers move earth, creating large pits up to 120 feet deep. While more open and safer, the rainy season can make work very dangerous, as the ground can become slippery and footing unsure.
The mined gravel rough is cleaned in nearby water sources, such as rivers. When rough sapphire is found, it's set aside and carried to town for appraisal. Here the artisanal miner sells rough material to foreign buyers.
• Ranks nine on the Mohs scale.
• Color presents as blue.
• Sourced from Masoala and Nosy Be, Madagascar.
• The material is fissure filled to improve stone color and clarity.