SEPTEMBER - SAPPHIRE
September is here and brings with it the month of the Sapphire. Born from the Greek word "sapphirus" which means “blue,” While it is currently the birthstone for September, according to the ancient calendar, the Sapphire gemstone was the birthstone for April and represented the Zodiac sign of Taurus.
It is also the gem given for the 5th, 23rd and 45th wedding anniversaries while a star Sapphire is given on the 65th wedding anniversary (i.e. if anyone actually stays married that long, they need a whole lot more than just a blue gemstone)
Sapphires cover all the gem varieties of corundum (except for Ruby, which is the red version of Corundum). The only difference between a Ruby and a Sapphire is simply the colour. The colour of a Sapphire is created by various amounts of iron and titanium in the stone, the combination of which produce varying colours. Whilst the most desirable colour Sapphire is blue, ( specifically a“cornflower blue’) they also come in violet, dark gray, orange, yellow, pink, green and black. These different coloured Sapphires are referred to as “fancy Sapphires” and are often less expensive than the blue ones, yet equally as beautiful, and a fine alternative to blue.
A rare orange - pink coloured kind of Sapphire is called “Padparadscha,” which means “Lotus Flower” in Sinhalese, is very expensive and is the only colour Sapphire given its own name. Because Sapphires are available in so many colours, they are an incredibly versatile gemstone.
Heat treatments have become common in recent years, as a way of improving colour as the beauty of a Sapphire is judged by the richness and intensity of its colour.
Blue Sapphires come from Burma and Kashmir, where the colour is the most pure to a true blue. Sapphires from Sri Lanka are a less deep shade, almost a pastel blue. On a side note, Sri Lanka is the world’s largest producer of Sapphires over 100 carats.
Many Sapphires also come from Australia, which are dark blue but with a slightly green undertone, as are those from Thailand. These tend to be less expensive than those from Burma, Kashmir and Sri Lanka.
A rare variety of Sapphire, known as colour changing Sapphire, exhibits different colours in different light. A colour change Sapphire is blue in natural light, and violet in artificial light. A similar effect is also seen in Alexandrite.
Sapphire was first created synthetically in 1902 and is hard to distinguish from natural Sapphires except by gemologists. Lab grown Sapphires range in price and smaller stones are frequently used in less expensive jewelry.
Prized as gemstones since 800BC, Blue Sapphires were a holy stone to the Catholic Church and to Ancient Persians, who believed they made the sky blue with their reflections.
The most important attribute of the Sapphire was said to be the protection against sorcery - it was thought to banish evil spirits and send negative spells back to the sender. Psychologically, the Sapphire helps maintain inner peace and is good for one’s mental state. It calms the nerves and promotes mental clarity, and they have been used as remedies for mental and nervous disorders.
Physically, Sapphires promote general health. They are said to have powers in cooling fevers, protecting against mental illness and sharpening eyesight.
Identified with chastity, piety, and repentance the stone brings wisdom and truth, increases perception and the understanding of justice.
Coming in on the Mohs scale second only the diamonds, the hardness of the Sapphire makes it a perfect choice for jewelry that needs to stand up to everyday wear, such as in rings or bracelets. Because of their hardness, Sapphires can be cleaned in almost any way. Warm, soapy water is best, though you might also try ultrasonic cleaners and steamers. You can also try using water with a touch of ammonia in it. As with most gemstones, avoid doing heavy work or coming into contact with chemicals while wearing your stone, as you can damage your settings that hold the stone in place
Having long been associated with romantic love, sincerity and faithfulness, a Sapphire gemstone given as a gift is considered a promise of honesty, loyalty, purity and trust between two people.Today, the Sapphire is considered one of the most popular engagement stones.
Written by Anaita Thakkar for Lustre Jewellery