The sapphire—amongst the treasured "Cardinal Gemstones"—has been highly-valued for millennia and is the birthstone bestowed upon those born in September. Indeed, there is something immaculate, heavenly and, well, divine about the sapphire—a pristine presence somehow elevated above earthly matters and concerns. Their crisp purity reminds us that perfection is, indeed, possible.
Sapphires are made of corundum, made blue by the presence of iron and titanium. Other colors of sapphires can be found, too, depending upon the impurities found within it: yellow, purple, orange, grey or black. Some stones have two colors (side by side) and corundum without any impurities is clear. Red corundum (colored with chromium) is called a ruby and they are sometimes mined near sapphires Sapphires are found in Africa, Asia, South and North America.
Sapphire is one of the hardest of gemstones, making them suitable for certain industrial uses: lenses, lasers, electronic insulators, even watch crystals are made of clear (or synthetic) sapphire.
These cufflinks, made in England in the Thirties, are finished with a handsome sapphire enameling (not the sapphire gemstone itself). Snapping cufflinks, developed in the 1920's, allow the wearer to place the two separate halves of one cufflink into the two sides of the same cuff before dressing, thus being able to use two hands. This avoids the awkward contortions sometimes required when inserting conventional cufflinks into shirt with one hand (while already wearing the garment). Please click on the photo above to learn more about them.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Pittsburgh's historic "Strip District" at Mahla & Co. Antiques (www.mahlaantiques.com) or in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248