The transformation of a rough sapphire into a prized jewel is a wonder of human ingenuity that dares to improve on nature. It takes millions of years for the specific geological conditions of high pressure and temperature to turn naturally occurring aluminum and oxygen together with chromium for a pink color, or iron and titanium for a blue color, into a raw and rare gemstone. Exceedingly large amounts of mined rock are necessary to produce only a few grams of suitable stones. Swarovski—a proven master of the meticulous work necessary to create a cut sapphire worthy of the most talented jewelry-makers—makes visible the complex processes that are involved when preparing this coveted gemstone.
After extraction, the rough stones are cleaned and sorted by approximate color and size. Each individual stone is then closely examined to determine its optic axis. The crucial first facet, the table for the fully faceted stone, must be cut at exactly 90 degrees to this axis so the gemstone has a perfectly homogenous color. This cannot be entrusted to a machine; only the human eye has the skill to accomplish the process. Once this important milestone is reached, the machine-cutting of the required number of facets can be completed using Swarovski’s state-of-the-art proprietary technology. It is this cutting expertise, which has been perfected over 120 years, that ensures all stones are completely uniform in size and dimension.
At last the stones are ready for the demanding final color sorting to take place—a process that requires skilled specialists and one of extreme importance to jewelry-makers. Pavé designs incorporating large numbers of single-color stones require stones that match perfectly, whereas color fading, currently a hot trend in the jewelry and watch sectors that was featured widely at Baselworld 2016, necessitates stones that seamlessly and subtly fade from one tone to the next. Swarovski can guarantee the color consistency of whatever color range may be required, thereby facilitating the ease with which the goldsmith and jewelry manufacturer can achieve the sought-after look. The stones are now ready to be set and transformed by the hands of highly skilled designers into stunning pieces of jewelry.