Sapphires are a beautiful gemstone known for their vivid blue color. They are the birthstone for the month of September. Sapphires get their blue color from trace amounts of iron and titanium. The traditional birthstone for September is the sapphire. This article will explore the history, meaning, and facts about sapphires as the September birthstone.
History of Sapphire as September’s Birthstone
The tradition of birthstones dates back thousands of years. Ancient cultures believed that certain gemstones had mystical powers and could bring good luck, health, and protection based on the month a person was born. Sapphire has long been associated with the month of September. Some of the earliest mentions of sapphire as September’s birthstone date back to ancient Hebrew texts. Hebrew scholars proposed the idea that the twelve stones on the breastplate of Aaron corresponded to the twelve months of the year and tribes of Israel. Sapphire was assigned to the tribe of Dan and month of September.
The cosmic path of the sun was also believed to influence certain gemstones. Sapphires were associated with the constellation of Virgo, which dominates the September sky. Ancient Persians wore sapphire amulets for protection against enemies and illness. In Medieval Europe, the clergy wore sapphires symbolizing heavenly virtues. Royalty prized sapphires for their beauty and symbolism of wisdom and purity. Sapphires were believed to guard against harm and bring insight. For centuries, sapphires have been cherished for their reputed powers and gorgeous blue hue.
Meaning of Sapphire
As the September birthstone, sapphire carries important meaning:
- Wisdom – Sapphires encourage following one’s inner wisdom and intuition
- Loyalty – Historically associated with loyalty and trust
- Focus – Believed to keep one’s focus steady and clear
- Peace – Thought to promote mental peace and calm
- Insight – Linked to insightful thinking and revelation
- Purity – Symbol of divine blessings and virtue
- Protection – Believed to guard against harm and illness
Sapphire inspires contemplation and aligning one’s life journey with a higher purpose. As the September birthstone, sapphire is the ideal gem for wisdom seekers.
Facts About Sapphire
Here are some key facts about sapphire:
- September’s traditional birthstone
- Varieties include blue, pink, yellow, green, purple, orange, and colorless
- One of the four precious gemstones along with diamond, ruby, and emerald
- Found in igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks
- Major sources include Australia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Madagascar, and Montana
- Sapphires form in the mineral corundum which scores 9 on the Mohs scale
- Can exhibit asterism which is a star-like light effect
- Highly valued for brilliance and range of hues
- Given as gifts for 5th, 23rd, and 45th wedding anniversaries
Sapphires have intrigued people for centuries with their stunning durability and color. Of all the varieties, blue sapphire is the most famous and coveted.
Types of Sapphire
While blue is the most popular, sapphires come in every color except red. Red corundum is classified as ruby. Here are some of the major types of sapphire:
|Blue||Rich blue||Most common and well-known|
|Pink||Pink to rose red||Rare, found mostly in Sri Lanka|
|Yellow||Golden yellow||Extremely rare, especially in pure hues|
|Green||Light to deep green||Rare, found in a few locations globally|
|Orange||Orange to reddish-orange||Uncommon, known from Australia and Africa|
|Purple||Violet to purple||Rare, especially in richer tones|
|Padparadscha||Salmon pink-orange||Extremely rare and prized|
|Colorless||Water white||Rare, found in very few deposits|
|Star||Blue, pink, etc.||Exhibits asterism, increased rarity|
Padparadscha sapphires that exhibit a stunning salmon color are the most valuable. Blue, pink, and yellow are also highly coveted shades. Green, orange, purple and colorless are quite rare. Sapphires displaying a star effect when cut as cabochons command high prices.
Ideal Cut for Sapphire
Sapphires are extremely versatile gemstones that adapt well to a variety of cuts. The most common cuts for sapphire are:
Sapphires have excellent brilliance and fire, so cuts with multiple facets like round, princess, and radiant maximize light return. Classic shapes like ovals, cushions, and emerald cuts also show off sapphire’s beautiful colors. When cut as a cabochon, sapphires display a silky sheen called orient. If the raw stone has strong color zoning, cuts that emphasize the zones like pear shapes are ideal.
How to Choose a Sapphire
When selecting a sapphire, here are important factors to look for:
- Color – Preferred blue is medium to medium dark. Uncommon colors like pink and padparadscha are costly.
- Clarity – Eye clean is preferred. Some inclusions are expected.
- Cut – Should maximize color and light return. Well-proportioned is ideal.
- Carat – Larger stones are exponentially rarer. One carat is a typical size.
- Source – Sapphires from Kashmir and Burma (Myanmar) fetch high prices.
- Treatments – Heat treatment is common. Disclose treatments to the buyer.
- Certification – Opt for a gemological lab report from GIA, AGS, or Gubelin to verify quality.
Consulting with a gemologist can ensure you select a high-quality sapphire you will treasure.
How to Care for Sapphire Jewelry
With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, sapphire is an extremely durable gemstone suited for daily wear. Here are some tips for caring for sapphire jewelry:
- Store in a separate pouch or box to protect from scratching.
- Clean with mild soap, water, and a soft brush.
- Ultrasonic or steam cleaners are safe to use occasionally.
- Take care not to expose sapphire to harsh chemicals or blows.
- Have jewelry inspected annually and re-plated as needed.
- Consider insuring valuable sapphire pieces.
With occasional cleaning and inspection, sapphire jewelry will remain beautiful for many years. The durability and timeless beauty of sapphire make it an excellent choice for heirloom gemstone jewelry.
Symbolic Meaning of Sapphire Gifts
Giving a gift of sapphire jewelry conveys symbolic meaning:
- Engagement ring – Commitment, fidelity, wisdom
- Anniversary gift – Trust, loyalty, remembrance
- Birthstone – Guidance, insight, protection
- Graduation gift – Sound judgment, contemplation
- Retirement gift – Discernment, new journey
Sapphire’s traditional associations with sincerity, purity, and insight make it well suited for meaningful life occasions. A gift of sapphire becomes a lifelong keepsake conveying heartfelt wishes.
Some of history’s most renowned sapphires include:
- Logan Sapphire – 423 carat blue sapphire from Sri Lanka, gifted to the Smithsonian
- Star of India – One of the largest blue star sapphires at 563 carats
- Stuart Sapphire – Historic 104 carat blue sapphire once set in the Imperial State Crown
- Bismarck Sapphire – 98 carat blue sapphire owned by Countess Mona von Bismarck
Famed sapphires are prized for their immense size, rare color, and unique histories passed down through generations. The most legendary sapphires sell for millions and reside in museum and private collections.
Where to Buy Sapphire Jewelry
Reputable places to buy sapphire jewelry include:
- Brick-and-mortar jewelry stores
- Online jewelers like Blue Nile, James Allen, and Brilliant Earth
- Auction houses like Christie’s and Sotheby’s
- Antique and estate jewelry dealers
- Directly from gem cutters and sapphire mines (with caution)
Always ask for a gemological lab report from GIA, AGS, or Gubelin when purchasing. Buying from established jewelers offers more security. Sapphire jewelry makes a meaningful, lasting, and luminous addition to any jewelry collection.
With its stunning range of hues, reputed mystical powers, and timeless beauty, sapphire fully deserves its place as the traditional September birthstone. Sapphire has signified wisdom, loyalty, purity, and insight for thousands of years across many cultures. Whether buying sapphire jewelry as a gift or for oneself, this beloved gemstone is sure to become an heirloom to cherish. September babies are lucky to call the magnificent sapphire their birthstone.