Birthstones are linked to the months in a year, or the signs of the zodiac. Every month has its own gemstone dedicated through folklore, myth and legends passed down through time. These particular gemstones are attributed with a range of properties from having healing properties, to bringing success and wealth and also safeguarding against evil.
September has its own unique birthstone, the sapphire. Millions of people across the globe are born in September, and for each of them, the sapphire gemstone symbolizes intellect, morality, good fortune, dedication and loyalty.
Although commonly known for its brilliant blue hue, sapphires also come in a rainbow of colours. Even though sapphires have long been associated with nobility and romance, in present day, sapphires are also said to symbolize faithfulness, sincerity, honesty and integrity.
Sapphires in History
The sapphire has been treasured for centuries across the globe. The name “Sapphire” comes from the Greek word ‘sappheiros’ or the French ‘saphir’.
In the dark ages, Europeans were sure that a sapphire cured a variety of diseases from skin to the eye. Alchemists believed that the sapphire birthstone was an antidote to poison.
Like rubies, the sapphire is a variant of the mineral corundum. Albeit, instead of the dull colour of corundum, sapphires usually take on a blue color ranging from pale blue to a dark indigo blue. In addition, sapphires can also possess a range of spectacular colours that include pale pink, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, and brown. These polychromatic sapphires are also referred to as “fancy” sapphires.
Although this birthstone comes in a variety of other colours, the general perception of a sapphire usually conjures images of the blue variant. The blue sapphire is consequently linked to people who practice respect , loyalty, patience and purity. These people are hardworking, honest, steadfast, and wary.
Wearing a sapphire is said to spark leadership qualities, help focus clearly, improve recall and reasoning, and help speed up decision making.
In the year 1934, John Rockefeller purchased the Rockefeller Sapphire, a little more than a sixty two carat rectangular step-cut stone that was mined in Myanmar. Although in possession of an Indian Prince who sold it to Rockefeller, the gem is considered to be the standard by which all other sapphires are measured.
Originally featured as a brooch, the sapphire was later cast as a ring along with two cut-cornered triangular diamond side stones.
For royalty buffs, the best-known sapphire in recent years is the 12 ct blue gem encircled by diamonds in the sapphire engagement ring first worn by Princess Diana, and then endowed by her son to Kate Middleton, now the Duchess of Cambridge.
The monarchy of England has held on to some pretty famous sapphires, namely the Stuart Sapphire and the St. Edward’s Sapphire. Both these impressive gemstones along with seventeen more sapphires, adorn the Royal Crown.
The St Edward’s Sapphire is an octagonal, rose-cut sapphire that can be seen in the centre of the cross at the top of the crown. The Stuart Sapphire is a blue sapphire that also forms part of the British Crown Jewels. The weight was a whopping 104 carats and experts have deduced that it was of Asian origin due to its hue. It made its way from the front in 1838 to the back of the crown in 1909 where they both can be seen.
Famous personalities who had a love for sapphires include Elizabeth Taylor, Victoria Beckham, Penelope Cruz, and Gwyneth Paltrow who loves sporting her gorgeous sapphire engagement ring.
Where Do Sapphires Come From?
Sapphires are commonly unearthed in the exotic lands of Myanmar, the mountainous Kashmir, and the tropical island of Sri Lanka. Significant quantities have also been found in Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar and Montana in the United States and to a lesser extent, some countries in Asia and Africa.
Sapphires were first observed in Kashmir in 1881. A huge landslide up in the mountains uncovered a large display of these precious blue gems. Discovery has been periodic since then, but occasionally some sapphires from this region do show up at very select shops.
Found in Myanmar, the ”Burmese” sapphire, as it is referred to, is generally a deep, incandescent blue tint. Since many associate sapphires to be of only that color, the Burmese sapphire is therefore quite valuable.
Sapphires can be found in many locations around the globe, but the largest producer is Australia, New South Wales and Queensland in particular.
The subtlety of blue in the sapphires differs from site to site. For example, blue toned sapphires originating from Australia have a dark and ink like color shade while those found in Kashmir have the cherished medium deep blue hue.
Diamonds or Sapphires?
Diamonds are ranked a ten on the Mohs scale of hardness whereas sapphires (and rubies) are ranked nine. That is in itself quite lofty, and demonstrates the stone’s extraordinary endurance.
Similar to fancy colour diamonds, sapphires come in many colours. Though fancy colour diamonds are more sought after than their sapphire counterparts, sapphires still retain their luxury and make for a delightful replacement to diamonds or as accompaniment stones for a diamond ring.
For those , the sapphire can make a stunning personal piece of jewellery that shows off their individuality.
If you were born in September and would love to show off your very own gorgeous birthstone, have a look at our collection of September sapphires.