The regal sapphire is the gemstone that represents both September birthdays as well as 5th and 45th anniversaries.
Historically, sapphires were thought to confer values unto its wearers such as truth, loyalty, wisdom and integrity. They have been prized for thousands of years and have had a long and colorful history among royalty and the priesthood. Medieval kings wore sapphires as talismans for protection, while priests in the Middle Ages wore them to deflect temptation and other “unpriestly” desires. Ancient Persians believed that the sky got its color from a colossal pedestal made of blue sapphires upon which the earth rested.
Though this stunning September birthstone is known for its vibrant and noble blue hue, it also appears in a rainbow of other colors (including, ironically, colorless!) Such ‘fancy’ sapphires are rarer and can be purple, orange, pink, black, brown, green, yellow and, a Sri Lankan, pinky-orange ruby/yellow blend called padparadscha. Rarely, however, will a sapphire be classified as red — such sanguine stones would instead be classified as rubies, which are formed from the same mineral as sapphires (corundum). Parti sapphires are those that display multiple colors, some of which even change color in different lighting.
Sapphires are one of four precious gems and rate a ‘9’ on the Mohs hardness scale. This means that they are a strong stone and aren’t at risk of scratching easily. This makes them a good choice for jewelry that’s worn even daily. Sapphires get their trademark cornflower blue color from trace amounts of iron and titanium within the crystal structure. Rarely, the sapphire’s parent mineral, corundum, produces a dazzling effect called asterism. Asterism is characterized by a striking star-like pattern on the stone’s curved surface, which is produced by the reflection of white light upon the needle-like intersections of tiny inclusions within the stone.
Madagascar is currently the world’s #1 sapphire producer. Other major producers are Australia, India and even Montana (in the United States). Montana sapphires — although small — are very vibrant and high-quality and are often used for industrial purposes. In addition, Montana sapphires rarely require heat treatments like many larger sapphires do.
Perhaps the world’s most celebrated sapphire is the engagement ring given to Princess Diana from Prince Charles of Wales. The ring is now worn by Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge! The world’s priciest sapphire is a 22.66 carat, unheated cushion cut blue beauty from Kashmir, India. In 2007, this majestic gem was sold to an anonymous buyer for $3,064,000 in New York. Sapphires are stunning, set with diamonds, pearls and even on their own. It is easy to feel like royalty when wearing something as rare and opulent as a sapphire.