Thursday, February 16, 2012

Mastery of Design: The Townshend Orange Sapphire

Ring with Orange Sapphire and Diamonds, 1850
From the Townshend Collection
The Victoria & Albert Museum

From the collection of the Reverend Chauncy Hare Townshend, we see this exceptional orange sapphire.  Rubies and sapphires are varieties of corundum (aluminum oxide) which in its purest form is colorless. However, during formation of these crystals, local impurities in the earth create a range of different colors.  Rubies are colored by chromium and are always red, and while, sapphires typically are colored blue by iron and titanium, other colors of sapphire result from different combinations and proportions of impurities. When this occurs, the name sapphire is always prefixed with the color.

This ring is set with a stunning orange sapphire with a border of brilliant-cut diamonds, in a gold setting of about 1850.  It was made solely to showcase the stone.  

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