Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Ariana. Ariana Wonders, “Where are Sapphires found” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Ariana!
Let’s start today’s Wonder of the Day with a game. Make a list of everything you can think of that’s the color blue. Go ahead, we’ll wait. Get help from a friend or family member if you’d like.
How many items are on your list? Did you write down the sky? How about the ocean? Maybe you listed blueberries or blue Christmas lights. Perhaps you included one of the world’s most valuable gemstones—the sapphire!
Have you ever seen a sapphire? Many of them are deep blue, but they come in a variety of colors. Sapphire jewelry may feature stones that are pink, orange, yellow, green, or purple. In fact, the only color sapphires don’t come in is red.
Of course, jewelry isn’t the only use for sapphires. This gem is very durable. In fact, the only naturally occurring object that can scratch a sapphire is a diamond! For this reason, sapphires are a popular choice for making objects that need to stand up to wear. Some Apple Watches feature sapphire screens, as do many watch faces.
Have you ever looked for a sapphire in nature? If so, you may know they’re quite rare. To make it more difficult, natural sapphires look much different from the polished gemstones you may be picturing. So, where exactly are sapphires found?
Sapphire mines exist in many places across the globe. Many of the gems come from Asia, where stones are found in the mines of Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Thailand, Afghanistan, and other countries. Mines can also be found in Australia and the African nations of Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, and Madagascar. In the U.S., sapphire miners head for Montana, where many beautiful gems have been found.
One day, people may even mine for sapphires on other planets. Recent study of exoplanets have led to the discovery of planets called super-Earths. These are planets with more mass than Earth but less than the larger planets in our solar system. Based on the elements and temperatures believed to exist on these planets, experts believe one or more of them may be rich in both sapphires and rubies.
In recent years, people have raised ethical concerns about the mining of sapphires and other gemstones. Some of these practices have negative effects on the environment and on the people working to find the gems. Advocacy groups and governments are still working to find solutions to these problems.
Would you like to find a sapphire in nature one day? Maybe you’ll be the first human to discover the gemstone on another planet! Or perhaps you’ll discover a whole new gemstone of your own. There are certainly many possibilities when it comes to the future of sapphires and other gems.
Standards: CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.4, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2, CCRA.W.3, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.L.1, CCRA.L.2