September babies get to claim the beautiful Sapphire as their birthstone. It is the gem quality variety of the mineral corundum and the last of the four precious stones we will discuss.
In folklore, history, art and consumer awareness, the sapphire has always been associated with the color blue. Its name comes from the Greek Work sappheiros, which probably referred to the lapis lazuli.
The sapphire is known as the wisdom stone that symbolizes truth, sincerity and loyalty. It is thought to bring peace, joy and wisdom to its wearer.
The second hardest stone on earth with a Mohs hardness of 9, the Sapphire can only be cut with a diamond. All colors of gem quality corundum are known as a sapphire except for red, which is known as a Ruby.
The Sapphire is the official birthstone of the month of September and the Anniversary gift for the 5th and 45th year of wedded bliss.
Sapphires belong to the mineral species of corundum. Primarily sapphires develop in a
trigonal crystal system. However, some inclusions of rutile needles result in a silky shine and when aligned, the needles cause a six-rayed star sapphire. The most famous star sapphire is the 563ct Star of India.
Colorless corundum is rare and most variety of the gem is found with different elements that create the different colors. Titanium creates blue tones, vanadium creates the violet tones, iron creates the yellow and green tones, iron and vanadium create the orange tones and chromium creates the pink tones. More chromium, though, creates the Ruby
"The demarcation between Ruby and Sapphires is not exact. Light red, pink, or violet corundums are usually called sapphires. If they were grouped as rubies, the would be stones of inferior quality." A very light pink "ruby" can be classified as a rare pink "sapphire".
The Padparadscha Sapphire is a very rare sapphire with a pinkish-orange hue, named from the Sinhalese word for lotus blossom. Another more rare color is the Pink Sapphire. Also found in Sri Lanka and Africa, this brilliant stone is a less expensive alternative to the desirable pink diamond, and just as sparkly!
Sapphires are found in many places all over the world, however, the quality is modest at best. The most precious sapphires are only a few places in the world, even in Montana. The three most famous regions for blue sapphire are Kashmir, Burma and Sri Lanka. Though Madagascar leads the world in sapphire production, this small country is also known for its wide range of colored sapphires. Today, Madagascar and Tanzania have the most important sapphire mines.
The sapphire has been a prized gem for centuries and was worn by royalty to protect them from envy and harm. So powerful was the lore of the Sapphire, great rulers in history went to great lengths to procure and keep them to safeguard their reign. The Ancients event thought it to be a talisman against evil spirits and the regarded the star sapphires as a protector of travelers and seekers.
Charlemagne, the founding father of France and Germany and the first ruler of Western European Empire, was an intensely religious man. To him, Sapphires symbolized heaven and the promise of eternal salvation. He owned a sacred amulet in which a relic of the True Cross was placed between two sapphires.
In the 12th century, the sapphire was known as the most appropriate stone for ecclesiastical rings. The great oriental traveler, Sir Richard Francis Burton, had a large star sapphire which he referred to as HIS "talisman", for it always brought him good horses and prompt attention where ever he went. And in modern times, the sapphire grew notorious when we saw Prince Charles present Lady Diana with a beautiful sapphire engagement ring ringed with diamonds.
The Sapphire is thought to bring peace, joy and wisdom to its wearer.
It is also regarded as the stone for Taurus so if a Taurus wears a sapphire, it is thought to protect the wearer from and cure mental disorders.
In ancient Greece and Rome, kings and queens were convince that blue sapphires protected them from envy and harm.
The sapphire has always symbolized truth, sincerity and loyalty.
A traditional stone of wisdom, the sapphire is prized to this day as a royal stone of learning.
Almost all sapphires from around the world are cut and processed in Chanthaburi, Thailand.
Only trace amounts of different chemical elements are needed to create different colored sapphires.
In the Middle Ages the term "sapphire" actually referred to the Lapis Lazuli.
The largest star sapphire is the Star of India and weighs an amazing 563 carats.
Colored Sapphires, other than Ruby, are known as a Fancy Sapphires.
Helen of Troy was said to have owned a large star sapphire which was believed to hold the key to her desirability.
For her engagement to Prince Charles, Princess Diana chose a 12-carat Oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire round diamonds set in 18K white gold. This was an unusual selection from the Crown jewelers Gerrard of Mayfair.
Even more enduring to the British people, was that any member of the public could purchase the £28,500 ring from the Mayfair catalog. Another reason Princess Di was considered the "People's Princess"
So wear the sapphire to protect you on your travels, warn off evil spirits, connect with heaven, or just wear it because is it a beautiful stone. Choose from all the colors under the rainbow, except red of course… for that is the Ruby.
Until next time when we discuss the birthstones of October…The very popular Tourmaline and the Opalescent Opal.
The Jeweler’s Directory of Gemstones by Judith Crowe
Gemstones of the World by Walter Shumann
By Vassil - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1791792