Sapphire has always been associated with the color blue, but comes in every color of the rainbow with the exception of red, which is then a Ruby. One of the rarest colors is the pinkish orange of the Padparadscha sapphires. Pink, yellow and purple are also desirable colors. All sapphires are a variety of the mineral corundum, with different trace elements giving the various colors.
The most renowned sapphires come from Kashmir and Burma, have a pure blue color and a unique velvety luster. Other sources are Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Madagascar, Thailand, Australia, and Nigeria. The sapphires from Kashmir are the rarest and have a superb cornflower blue color and a sleepy quality that has been described as velvety. Some Burmese and Ceylon sapphires can also posses these velvety qualities.