To use loose sapphires, you will usually need a few tools such as settings, pliers and possibly a tumbler for polishing. These stones can be bought in a variety of shapes, cuts and sizes, making them easy to use in many projects. Most people think of these stones as things to put in jewelry, but loose sapphires can be used in a wide variety of arts and crafts.
Sapphires are generally known for their luster and durability. As a member of the corundum family of minerals, sapphires are closely related to rubies. The Verneuil process—sometimes referred to as flame fusion—also makes it possible to create gem-quality sapphires much larger than those usually found in nature.
Pronged mounting pendants, bezel settings and jewelry pliers are typical tools used when creating jewelry with loose sapphires. Other methods used are wire wrapping or drilling small holes in the stones to use them in beaded pieces. Using loose gemstones is generally reserved for the experienced jewelry maker, as mistakes can be much more costly.
As a gift idea, loose sapphires can be used for custom kaleidoscopes. These devices require small, shiny objects cut in a way that refracts light; loose sapphires are perfectly suited for such a project. This project can usually be completed by beginners without harming the stone.
Loose sapphires are perfectly suited for many home decoration projects. Placed in the right bowl with some seashells or pebbles in contrasting colors, loose sapphires may be both interesting and striking. Similarly, they also can be put in the bottom of a glass vase as an addition to a bouquet or added to metalwork furniture and décor pieces.
In some areas, loose sapphires are used as pastry decorations. Wedding cakes or other elegant pastries may have the sapphires added as part of the decorating theme or simply to add some luster. Obviously, when using loose sapphires in food, the guests should be warned not to eat them. Similarly, the gems could be baked into a Mardi Gras king cake, which traditionally contains a hidden surprise.
How the sapphires are used may be less important than how they are cared for. These stones should be cleaned on a regular basis with a mix of warm water and mild soap with no colors or fragrances. Use a very soft cloth to lightly rub away dirt, or soak the gems in the water for about three minutes. When deciding how to use loose sapphires, it may be a good idea to make sure the materials paired with them can handle this regular cleaning requirement without getting tarnished, rusting or otherwise being harmed.