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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Corundum (var. sapphire)

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                                          asset is available
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G11582-00
Locality Taraba State, Nigeria
Weight 8.37 ct

Historically the finest sapphire gems came from Burma, Sri Lanka, and the Kashmir region of India. Although sapphires occur in a wide variety of colors, traditionally blue has been the most popular and valuable. Sapphire is the gem variety of the mineral corundum. Pure corundum is colorless, but small amounts of impurity atoms can impart a range of colors. In this case, iron and titanium are responsible for the beautiful blue color of the sapphire. This oval faceted gem is a deep vivid blue color and weighs 8.37ct. It is the first sapphire from Nigeria for the National Gem Collection.

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