Magical Yellow Sapphires: A Tale of Their Past, Present, and Future


Precious gemstones have enchanted people for generations with their beauty and value. Many people have a soft spot in their hearts for yellow sapphires because of their sunny disposition and dazzling charm. These brilliant stones are favoured by collectors and jewellery aficionados due to their intriguing formation narrative and rich background. This article will discuss the origins of yellow sapphires, the science underlying their development and hue, and feature some of the most renowned examples of this gemstone.

The Backstory

Yellow sapphires, or “pukhraj” in Hindi, are a type of corundum, a mineral largely made of aluminium oxide. (Al2O3). The most well-known members of the sapphire family are the blue varieties. Although most commonly associated with the colour yellow, sapphires can also be found in other hues such as pink, green, purple, and even orange. Evidence of yellow sapphires’ use in ancient cultures including the Greeks, Romans, and Egyptians hints at the stones’ long and illustrious past.

Yellow sapphires had significant religious value in ancient Indian society. It was thought that whomever wore one would be blessed with material prosperity and enlightenment. Yellow sapphires are believed to bring good fortune to their owners because of their connection to Jupiter in Vedic astrology.

Pliny the Elder, in his 37-volume treatise on the natural world penned in the 1st century AD, is the first Western author to mention yellow sapphires. In his writings, Pliny called yellow sapphires “hyacinthus” and discussed their value as talismans and jewellery.

Yellow sapphires have been used in jewellery and valued for their brilliance for millennia. They are still frequently set in engagement rings, necklaces, and other forms of fine jewelry, where they continue to enchant gem connoisseurs.

Structure and Hue

Yellow sapphires originate in high-temperature, high-pressure environments, such as those found in metamorphic and igneous rocks. Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar, Australia, and some parts of East Africa are also examples of places with a long history of tectonic activity, making them ideal locations for the discovery of these precious stones.

Due to the incorporation of trace elements into the mineral’s crystal structure, these sapphires have a brilliant yellow hue. To a large extent, sapphires’ characteristic yellow colour can be attributed to the presence of iron (Fe), a trace element. The yellow colour of corundum is caused by the absorption of certain wavelengths of light by iron atoms that have replaced aluminium in the crystal structure.

The colour of yellow sapphires can range from a very light lemon yellow to a rich, golden yellow. The amount of iron within a gemstone determines how vibrant its colour will be. Brilliant, intense colour and high clarity are what make yellow sapphires so desirable.

well-known yellow sapphires

The Tomahawk Sapphire is a magnificent 111.48-carat yellow sapphire, making it one of the largest and best of its kind ever found. It was originally thought to have been discovered in the Tomahawk mine in Montana, but later it was discovered in Sri Lanka in the early 20th century. The Tomahawk Sapphire shines with a rich golden yellow colour and is in the possession of a single owner. Because of its size and quality, the Tomahawk Sapphire has been included in a number of shows. The gemstone’s present owner is unknown, but the world is still captivated by its stunning colour and clarity.

Following its discovery in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, it was given the name The Star of Bombay. When this star sapphire is lighted, the light reveals a beautiful asterism, or star pattern, on its surface. The Smithsonian’s National Gem Collection includes the Star of Bombay, which may be seen at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

The magnificent Golden Jubilee Sapphire, weighing in at 50.3. carats, was found in Madagascar. It has a brilliant golden yellow colour. During 2002, Queen Elizabeth II celebrated her Golden Jubilee, and this extraordinary sapphire was given that name in her honour. Since its discovery, the gemstone has remained in the possession of a private individual whose identity has never been revealed.

The Bismarck Sapphire: This remarkable 98.6-carat cornflower blue sapphire with a touch of yellow that gives it a really one-of-a-kind appearance. The American socialite Countess Mona von Bismarck, to whom Count Edward von Bismarck gave the gem as a wedding present, inspired the gem’s moniker. The Smithsonian Institution’s National Gem Collection include the Bismarck Sapphire, which is currently displayed in a platinum and diamond necklace by Cartier.

Alterations to and substitutes for Yellow Sapphire

Yellow sapphires are sometimes treated to improve their colour and look. Heating a gemstone to very high temperatures in order to enhance its colour and clarity is a typical treatment. The gemstone trade generally approves of this method, as it does not dramatically lower the value of the gem.

In the diffusion process, gemstones are covered with a thin coating of chemicals and heated to high temperatures, causing the chemicals to infiltrate the surface of the gemstone and alter its colour. For the most part, sapphires that have undergone the diffusion treatment are not as precious as those that are natural or have had heat treatment.

Synthetic sapphires and glass or plastic imitations are also available in addition to natural yellow sapphires. Labs use the Verneuil technique, flux growth, or hydrothermal growth to manufacture synthetic sapphires. These synthetic sapphires are often indistinguishable from natural sapphires, but they are much cheaper.