We live in a world where the warmth of a sunbeam can seemingly be captured in nature's colors around us. A daffodil's delicate cup at the first sign of spring, a bee's shimmering honey, and a lemon tree heavy with ripe fruits seem to steal the rays right from the sky. A historic gem, mentioned in many ancient texts, yellow sapphire has long been a stone of great astrological importance. Its finest splendor can rival yellow diamond in brightness and depth of color, or deepen into the amber hues within a whiskey glass.
Yellow sapphire is the orangy yellow to a greenish-yellow variety of the gemstone and mineral corundum (Al2O3). A sibling to padparadscha, ruby, and other colored sapphires, yellow hues gain their sunny disposition from trace amounts of iron or from color centers within its structure. Chromium additions can create a more orangy hue, while titanium pulls the yellow more toward green. While growing, yellow sapphires tend to form with fewer inclusions, making them more likely to have better clarity than other colors of corundum.
Yellow sapphire has been a special stone in Hindu culture for centuries. Known as Pukhraj, yellow sapphire is one of the nine sacred gems in Vedic astrology and is linked to Jupiter's power. Traditionally set into gold, observation of yellow sapphire's influence on the cosmos is alive and well today. Historically mined from Sri Lanka, ancients referred to the island as Serendip and spoke of yellow sapphire waiting to be found in its lands. From Serendip comes the word serendipity, or “happy surprise”. Lovely examples of yellow sapphire can also be found in Thailand, Australia, East Africa, the United States, and Myanmar (Burma).
Sharing with its siblings as one of the more durable colored gemstones known to man, yellow sapphires rank at a 9.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This scratch resistance makes it a fantastic gem for wear in jewelry. Sapphire is the birthstone of those born in September and the zodiac signs of Pisces, Sagittarius, Gemini, and Taurus are also associated closely with the stone. The demand for yellow sapphires has lead to heat treatment as a common routine to bring out each example's best color and clarity. As with all colors of Sapphire, examples proven to be natural and unheated dictate a top price, with vivid saturation stealing the crown. For use in Vedic astrology, the "Pukraj" must be unheated.