Sapphire - properties and application

Sapphire is an unusual and very valuable mineral, especially sought after for its brilliant blue color, brilliance, strength and hardness. For centuries, it has fascinated people and stimulated their imagination. The term "sapphire" covers all corundum colors (except ruby). What are the properties of sapphire?

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1. What is sapphire?

Sapphire is a very hard, rare oxide mineral, it is a blue type of corundum. Its name comes from the ancient Greek sappheiros, which in ancient times meant lapis lazuli. The name in this language was probably taken from the Semitic languages.

2. Where is the sapphire found?

This mineral is found in igneous rocks, pegmatites and basalt. The largest crystals found are most often found in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Australia and India, Colombia, South Africa and Madagascar.

In Poland, white and transparent sapphires can be found in Lower Silesia, in the pegmatites of Krucze Skały in Wilcza Poręba near Karpacz. They are also found in alluvia of the Jizera River.

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3. Properties of sapphire

This mineral most often forms crystals in the form of pseudo-hexagonal poles and bipyramids. Transverse markings often appear on the walls of the crystals.

Sapphire is transparent, brittle, it also shows divisibility using twin planes.

It can also appear in other colors - golden, white, light pink, purple, reddish, orange-blue, orange-red (paparadja), purple (eastern amethyst) purple-blue (Kashmir sapphire), light blue (eastern aquamarine), green (eastern emerald), gray , colorless (leucoshafir) or black.

You can also find two-color varieties (so-called watermelon sapphire), as well as those showing asterism (star sapphire). They are caused by admixtures of magnesium, titanium, chromium, iron and vanadium.

Some of the varieties show pleochroism and sometimes even luminescence.

Sapphires are very durable (density 3.95 - 4.03) and hard (9 on the Mohs scale), the only harder mineral is diamond. Even so, sapphire is prone to cracking and chipping if care is not taken.

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4. The use of sapphire

Sapphire has a number of uses, here are a few of them:

  • it is used in the production of turntable needles;
  • thin-film components made of sapphire are used to produce scratch-resistant coatings for lenses and tactile optical components for electronic devices;
  • it is a precious stone, used in jewelry;
  • it is a very desirable, valued and exceptionally attractive collector's stone;
  • it is used in the precision industry;
  • it can also be obtained synthetically.

In addition, in alternative medicine, this stone heals eyesight, alleviates skin problems, problems with rheumatism, improves perception and eliminates the lack of appetite. It helps with insomnia and has a calming effect.

According to beliefs, it additionally protects against hypocrisy and falsehood, strengthens will power and intelligence.

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