Sapphire, like ruby, is the mineral corundum (aluminum
oxide). All colors of corundum other than red are, by definition, sapphire. All
colors other than blue are known as "fancy"
sapphires. Sapphires come in every color of the rainbow (except "ruby" red),
usually with different colors on different crystal axes. At times, two or more
colors occur on the same crystal axis, producing varieties known as
"parti-color" sapphires. With a hardness of 9 and no cleavage, sapphire makes
an excellent ring stone for a man as well as a woman. The primary present
sources for sapphires include Australia, Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and Thailand.
Secondary sources are Myanmar, Kampuchea, several areas in East Africa, and
Montana in the United States. Sapphires are routinely heat-treated to alleviate
cloudiness ("silk") caused by very fine rutile crystal inclusions, and to
improve color--treatment is permanent.