If you’ve ever wondered what the September birthstone is, it is the beautiful blue sapphire gemstone.
Is Sapphire the only birthstone for September?
You may already know that many other months have a least two (sometimes more!) birthstones (one main birthstone with some alternative birthstones). June, for instance, having four birthstones to its name!
But September is one of those rare months that only has one birthstone associated with it. The September birthstone is just Sapphire, although sometimes Lapis Lazuli is substituted for it, which will make sense as you read on.
As jewellers, we know how many people love this precious stone. Sapphire seems to be loved by all – young or old, male or female.
Sapphire is also one of the most frequently purchased engagement or eternity rings. Perhaps the most famous sapphire is the one given to the late Princess Diana’s by Prince Charles on their engagement (now given to Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge, Catherine Middleton by Diana and Charles’ son, William).
In this blog post, we will talk about some Sapphire facts, such as:
- Sapphire’s History
- Sapphire as a Wedding Anniversary Gemstone
- Where is Sapphire is found and mined?
- Sapphires Hardness
- The Different Colours of Sapphires
- The Meaning of the Sapphire Birthstone
- Famous Sapphires
- Star Sapphires
- How to Clean and Care for your Sapphire jewellery.
The History of Sapphire
Throughout history, Sapphire has been worn by both royalty and the clergy.
The rich colour blue meant it was associated with the heavens and hence was worn by important members of the Church, and even the Greeks and Buddhists believed it gave them divine guidance and wisdom or helped lead to enlightenment.
It was said that the ten commandments were inscribed on a tablet of Sapphire, although this was later thought to be made of Lapis Lazuli and not sapphire after all.
What is Sapphire?
Sapphire is a type of Corundum (the same as the July birthstone, Ruby, only ruby is a red stone).
Whilst most people think of the September birthstone Sapphire as being blue, they actually come in several different colours, including pink.
Sapphire, is set in both traditional jewellery and also very modern pieces and looks equally good in both, hence it’s is loved by ladies and men of all ages, and is a much sought-after gemstone. It is worn by all, not just those whose birthday falls in September, for a number of reasons which we’ll explain.
The Wedding Anniversary Stone
Sapphire is not just the September birthstone. It is also the gemstone that celebrates the 5th and 45th Wedding anniversaries. Of course, this makes a Sapphire ring a perfect 45th wedding anniversary ring!
Where is Sapphire Found in the World?
Sapphire is predominantly found in Kashmir, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar as well as Australia, and areas of Asia like Thailand and Cambodia. Parts of the United States and Africa, along with Madagascar also have deposits of Sapphires.
In 1881 there was a large landslide in the area of Kashmir and people discovered blue crystals of the most beautiful colour, exposed in the ground where the landslide had occurred. These gemstones became known as Kashmir Sapphires and are still the most prized sapphires ever.
Many of the fancy-coloured varieties of Sapphires, ranging from pink and orange to yellow, are found around the Indian ocean.
Sapphire scores a 9 on Moh’s scale of hardness. This makes it a hard gemstone (a close second to the hardest, which is Diamond). This, therefore, makes the September birthstone a great choice for everyday wear, just like a diamond.
Added to that, the Sapphire precious stone also does not have cleavage (cleavage is something which means if struck it could divide along the line of cleavage). This means it can withstand a knock without fear of breaking or splitting, again making it perfect for everyday wear.
The Colours of Sapphires
Whilst Sapphire is known for its blue colour, indeed the name ‘Sapphire’ derives from the Latin word ‘Sephirus’ meaning blue, there are actually many different coloured Sapphires.
We have already talked about the most prized colour of the Kashmir sapphire – which is a cornflower, violet-blue – and there are plenty of different coloured Sapphires apart from blue. Often Sapphires are heat-treated to increase the intensity of the blue and, less often, they can be dyed.
Pink sapphires were a very popular gemstone in the 1990s and look really lovely set in white gold against cool skin tones. Green and yellow sapphires can also be seen set in jewellery.
The Meanings of Sapphire
The Sapphire gemstone has been associated with the values of honesty, protection and trust. Hence the stone is often used in engagement rings and eternity rings.
(Even today, blue signifies these qualities and is often used by companies who want to evoke feelings of trust and reliability. Banks, social media giants and insurance companies often use blue in their branding and logos).
Up until Princess Diana’s (now Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge’s) engagement ring, the most famous sapphires are “Star” sapphires, which have fetched enormous prices at auction. Two such sapphires are the enormous 1,404-carat Star of Adam and the Star of India Sapphire at 563-carats.
Each of the most famous Star Sapphires has come from Sri Lanka. Within the Sapphire are particles that cause the light to be reflected in the pattern of a star, thereby creating a wonderful appearance with appears to move with the movement of the stone.
Cleaning and Caring for Sapphires
The perfect way to clean your sapphire gemstone is with warm soapy water and a very soft brush, like a make-up brush or baby’s toothbrush to get in behind the setting and claws.
Dry thoroughly and store in a lint-free cloth or, ideally, back in the box in which you bought them until you are wearing your gemstone again.
As a Sapphire is a hard, robust stone, it can be cleaned in a jewellers’ ultra-sonic machine but this should not be done if the gemstone has been dyed to enhance the colour.