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The Birthstone of September: the Sapphire

August 31, 2017/ BY Frank van Poorten

The birthstone of September is the Sapphire. This stone represents wisdom, loyalty and nobility. They say this gem helps you to focus on your tasks, improves your self-discipline and helps to canalize your spiritual powers. When you think of a sapphire, it’s probably a blue stone that pops up into your mind. However, sapphires come in many different colors. The orange-pink one is the rarest and most expensive one. Red sapphires don’t exist. These are called rubies.

September babies, therefore, have a broad selection of colors they can choose from for their birthstone. However, the blue sapphire is the most popular and best-known one.

woman in pool wearing sapphire jewelry

Sapphire stands for

  • Wisdom
  • Harmony
  • Prosperity
  • Loyal love and friendship
  • Curing of depression
  • Strength
  • Connection to the divine or godly world

History

The blue sapphire is popular since the Dark Ages. Back then, the clear blue color symbolized the sky and heavens. They thought the stones would attract godly tastes and wisdom. Throughout time, people assigned important attributes to the sapphire.

The origin of the sapphire

The Greek carried the sapphire with them for guidance when they asked the gods for answers. The blue stone would help them to interpret those answers. To this day, the sapphire is still the national stone of Greece. The name sapphire also probably originates from the Greek word ‘sáppheiros’ or the Latin word ‘sapphirius’ which both mean ‘blue stone’.

The godly sapphire

Also in other cultures and religions, we see the importance people attribute to the sapphire. Hindus wear the sapphire during their confession of faith and the Buddhists believe to become Enlighted by wearing a sapphire.  The early Christians used to cherish the sapphires in church rings. They believed in the protecting characteristics of the blue stone as well. The old Jews believed the ten demands were engraved in sapphire tablets. Therefore, the blue stone was sacred to them. It wasn’t until later they found out that the tablets were probably made from Lapis Lazuli. This is another kind of blue gemstones. Lapus Lazuli and Sapphire get often mixed up, but Lapus Lazuli is older.

blue cut sapphires on a white background

Characteristics

Nowadays, blue gemstones of impeccable quality are one of the rarest ones to find in nature. Although the sapphire that is most often referred to is blue, the gemstone comes in other colors as well. This is because the gemstone is a variety of corundum. All corundum-varieties are sapphires, except for the red ones. These ones are rubies. Traces of different elements such as iron, titanium, chromium and magnesium give the natural colorless corundum a red color. Sapphires that are not blue are called ‘fancies’. Orange-pink sapphires are the rarest variety. These gems are also called ‘Padparadscha’. This is the Sri Lankan word for lotus flower. Padparadschas can be worth even more per carat than the brightest blue sapphires.

Sapphires have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale. Therefore, they are the second hardest mineral. This blue gemstone thus is not only valuable in jewelry but also often used for industrial purposes.

Finding places

The classical blue sapphires are originally from Kashmir (Asia) during the 19th and 20th century. In October 2015, a sapphire was auctioned for a record amount of money. The stone went down for $ 242.000 per carat. The blue gem was almost 28 carat!

Many famous star sapphires come from the mines in Sri Lanka. For example the Star of Adam (1404.47 carat), the Star of India (563.40 carat) and the Star of Bombay (182 carat). But also Madagascar was a large source of sapphires until 1990. Madagascar is currently one of the most important producers of sapphires. The blue stones are also found in India, Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, China, Brazil, Afrika and North-America (especially Montana). The origin of the sapphire influences its worth. The 4 C’s determine the value of a sapphire as well.

big blue sapphire ring with diamonds on a hand

Famous sapphires

The 423 carat large Logan Sapphire in the National Museum of Natural History is one of the biggest sapphires of jewelry quality ever cut. The biggest star sapphire is the Star of Adam of 1404,49 carat.

In 1981, the sapphire suddenly became the international symbol of love. Prince Charles gave Lady Diana an engagement ring with a big blue sapphire of 12 carat. Prince William gave this heirloom to Kate Middleton as her engagement ring. In our colored gems collection, you’ll find some of the most beautiful sapphire rings, necklaces, earrings and bracelets.

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