Sapphire: More Than Just Pretty Jewelry

A gem known for its hardness, the sapphire is composed of the aluminum oxide mineral corundum, and appears in every color other than red, in which case it would be a ruby. Other elements found within this valuable stone are iron, titanium and chromium which account for the various colors including yellow, pink, purple orange and green. A combination of pink and orange corundum is known as padparadscha. Among its many industrial applications, sapphires are used in optical instruments, watch crystals, high-durability windows and semiconductors. Although rubies and sapphires are commonly found together, one or the other is usually prevalent. These deposits are most notably located in East Africa, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and eastern Australia. In the United States, the Missouri River close to Helena, Montana is known for its natural deposits. The gem’s deep blue color is graded in three categories: hue (the color), saturation (vividness or brightness of color) and tone (lightness or darkness of hue).

Sapphire's have been used for centuries as adornment. Sapphire rings create beautiful items of jewelry and has even been used as objects d'art. It is true that sapphires have a long standing tradition of being used for beautiful accentuation, but they also have other unexpected uses that make them invaluable for industries other than the jewelry industry. Sapphire is considered the synthetic relation to the ruby which was used to make the first laser. It is no surprise that sapphire's have use in the electronics industry. The electronics industry uses sapphires for many reasons in many devices that are both electronic and computer related.

Sapphires are considered highly reliable materials that can be used as conductors and for building component parts. Sapphires have great mechanical characteristics and provide complete chemical stability. These are ideal qualities that electronics manufacturers look for in their materials. Kyocera was the first company to utilize single crystal sapphires for use in popular electronic devices. In addition to electronics, sapphires can also be used in the construction industry. The use of sapphires is somewhat controversial right now in the beginning stages. But sapphire use in the construction industry is bound to be an avenue that will continue to be explored by the construction industry and the scientific community.

Considering all of these uses of sapphires, it is easy to see that mining them is big business. Though sapphires are not considered precious gemstones like diamonds, they still hold some value. But they remain relatively plentiful and can be obtained at a reasonable price. Sapphires are mined from alluvial deposits that are located underground. There are many countries that are in the business of mining sapphires. These countries include Afghanistan, China, Kenya, Thailand, Australia, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Pakistan, Myanmar, Tanzania and Madagascar. Madagascar is the leads the world in sapphire mining. It took its title from Australia due to the plentiful diamonds that were mined in the city of Illaka.

Sri Lanka is a well-known mining location for sapphires as well. In Sri Lanka you can find the Logan Sapphire and in Sri Lanka you can find the beautiful Star of Bombay and Star of India Sapphires.
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