September's Birthstone: Exploring Sapphire and its Enchanting Properties
Introduction to September Birthstone - Sapphire:
Birthstones have captivated humanity for centuries, representing the confluence of tradition, culture, and personal significance. Among these jewels of destiny, sapphire stands out as September's birthstone, carrying with it a rich tapestry of history, symbolism, and breathtaking beauty.
In this comprehensive guide, we dive deep into the curious lore of the world of sapphires, uncovering their physical attributes, cultural significance, healing properties, and the art of crafting exquisite sapphire jewelry. Whether you're a gemstone enthusiast, jewelry connoisseur, or simply curious about the allure of sapphires, this exploration promises to reveal the secrets behind the September birthstone.
History and Symbolism: Sapphire's Enduring Legacy
The allure of sapphires transcends time, as their history is woven into the fabric of civilizations around the world.
Ancient Persians believed that the Earth rested on a giant sapphire, casting the sky with its blue hue.
In medieval times, sapphires adorned the robes of clergy and royalty, symbolizing wisdom, virtue, and holiness.
From the Byzantine Empire to the Renaissance, sapphires have graced crowns and amulets, signifying power and protection.
Physical and Chemical Marvels: Unveiling Sapphire's Secrets
Generally speaking, the birthstone colour for September is a rich, vibrant blue. In fact, the name “sapphire” comes from “sappheiros,” a Greek word that means “blue stone.”
Delving beneath the surface, we uncover the mesmerizing physical and chemical properties that make sapphires a marvel of nature. Composed of corundum, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide, sapphires exhibit a remarkable hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, second only to diamonds. This exceptional durability makes sapphires not only a stunning gemstone choice but also a symbol of strength and endurance.
Sapphire's Colorful Spectrum: Varieties and Their Significance
The kaleidoscope of sapphire colours stretches beyond the signature blue hue. While blue sapphires are the most widely recognized, the blue variety of this gemstone presents an array of captivating shades, from the velvety midnight blues to the fiery oranges of Padparadscha sapphires. Each colour variety carries its own unique symbolism, allowing individuals to choose a sapphire that resonates with their personality and desires.
Here's a closer look at some of the most intriguing sapphire varieties:
Blue Sapphires: The Classic Beauty
Blue sapphires are the epitome of elegance and are often associated with royalty and wisdom. The velvety blue hues range from deep midnight blues to lighter shades reminiscent of a clear evening sky. The most famous blue sapphire is the stunning engagement ring worn by Princess Diana, now adorning the finger of the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Blue sapphires are believed to symbolize loyalty, wisdom, and nobility.
Pink Sapphires: The Delicate Charmer
Pink sapphires exude a soft, romantic allure that ranges from pastel pinks to vibrant magentas. These gems are often associated with love, compassion, and emotional healing. Pink sapphire engagement rings have gained popularity for their unique and feminine appeal.
Yellow Sapphires: The Sun-Kissed Gem
Yellow sapphires evoke the warmth of sunshine and the glow of golden moments. Ranging from pale yellow to vibrant canary hues, these gems are often linked to happiness, prosperity, and positive energy. They can make stunning centrepieces in various jewelry designs.
Padparadscha Sapphires: The Rare Beauty
Named after the Sinhalese word for "lotus blossom," padparadscha sapphires are a rare and sought-after variety. Their enchanting blend of pink and orange hues is reminiscent of a mesmerizing sunset. Padparadscha sapphires are often associated with creativity, intuition, and spiritual awakening.
Purple Sapphires: The Regal Choice
Purple sapphires offer a regal and mysterious charm, ranging from soft lavender to deep violet tones. These gems are said to symbolize wisdom, spiritual insight, and transformation. They are a unique choice for those seeking a gemstone with both elegance and depth.
Green Sapphires: The Verdant Treasure
Green sapphires evoke the lush beauty of nature, with shades ranging from light mint to rich emerald green. Green sapphires are believed to represent growth, renewal, and fertility. Their connection to the natural world makes them a popular choice for eco-conscious jewelry enthusiasts.
Color-Changing Sapphires: The Chameleons of the Gem World
Colour-changing sapphires, also known as "corundum chameleons," display a remarkable ability to shift colour depending on the lighting. They can appear blue under natural light and shift to purple or violet under incandescent lighting. This phenomenon adds an element of surprise and intrigue to these already captivating gems.
Bi-Color and Parti Sapphires: The Artistic Blend
Bi-colour and parti sapphires showcase two or more distinct colours within the same gemstone. These striking combinations can include blue-green, yellow-orange, or even a blend of three colours. Bi-colour and parti sapphires are ideal for those who appreciate unique and artistic gemstone variations.
Star Sapphires: The Celestial Phenomenon
Star sapphires exhibit a fascinating optical phenomenon called asterism, which creates a star-like pattern on the surface of the stone. This effect is caused by needle-like inclusions that reflect light. Star sapphires are often cabochon-cut to enhance the asterism, creating a captivating play of light.
Each variety of sapphire holds its own allure and charm, allowing individuals to select a gemstone that resonates with their personality, preferences, and intentions. From the deep blues of wisdom to the radiant pinks of love, sapphire varieties offer a diverse and enchanting palette for jewelry designers and enthusiasts alike.
September Birthstone Jewelry
Sapphire birthstone jewelry is widely available. Not only is this because birthstone jewelry, in general, is highly desirable, but also because so many people born in other months adore sapphires. This may be because blue is the most commonly cited favorite color, or simply because people find the gemstone breathtaking.
Plus, sapphires are incredibly durable. They stand up to wear and tear better than many other gems, which can be ideal when they are worn daily as jewelry pieces.
September birthstone rings are incredibly popular options. Earrings, pendants, and tennis bracelets also frequently feature sapphires.
More often than not, sapphires are cut and faceted, using traditional shapes like round, oval, square, cushion, princess, emerald, teardrop, pear, and heart. Since the stones are translucent, the facets let light pass through and create a beautiful glow.
Generally, cabochons aren’t nearly as common. However, they are sometimes made, mainly from lower quality sapphires that weren’t ideal for cutting. As a result, even though a cabochon might be rarer, it usually costs less since the gem’s quality was subpar.
Sapphires work well with nearly any supporting metal. As a result, you’ll find yellow and white gold options, as well as platinum and rose gold. At times, you might find lower quality sapphires paired with silver. However, this isn’t typically for higher valued stones, where white gold or platinum would be favored to increase the overall value of the piece.
Sapphire Jewelry Design and Trends
Currently, vintage-inspired designs and eco-friendly settings are trending, reflecting a growing appreciation for sustainability and timeless elegance. Sapphire's versatility in various jewelry styles ensures there's something for every taste and occasion.
Caring for Your Sapphire Jewelry
To maintain the lustrous beauty of your sapphire jewelry, proper care is essential. Gently cleaning your pieces with mild soap and a soft brush, followed by rinsing and patting dry, helps prevent the buildup of dirt and oils.
Storing your jewelry in individual pouches or compartments also prevents scratching and tangling. By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your sapphire jewelry remains as radiant as the day you acquired it.
Beyond the Aesthetic: Metaphysical and Healing Properties of Sapphires
Sapphires are believed to possess a range of metaphysical properties that go beyond their physical beauty. Throughout history, these gemstones have been associated with spiritual and healing qualities. Here are some metaphysical properties commonly attributed to sapphires:
Wisdom and Mental Clarity: Sapphires are thought to stimulate wisdom, intuition, and mental clarity. They are believed to enhance one's ability to think critically, make informed decisions, and solve complex problems. Blue sapphires, in particular, are often associated with enhancing mental focus and promoting clear communication.
Spiritual Insight: Sapphires are considered stones of spiritual insight and enlightenment. They are believed to help individuals connect with their inner selves, facilitating a deeper understanding of their purpose and spiritual journey. Some believe that meditating with sapphires can aid in gaining insights into life's mysteries.
Inner Peace and Serenity: Sapphires are said to bring a sense of calm, tranquillity, and inner peace to those who wear or carry them. They are thought to alleviate stress, anxiety, and emotional turmoil, creating a sense of balance and harmony within the wearer.
Protection and Warding Off Negative Energies: Throughout history, sapphires have been considered protective stones that can shield individuals from negative energies, envy, and harmful intentions. They are believed to create a protective aura around the wearer, acting as a barrier against psychic attacks.
Communication and Expressiveness: Blue sapphires are often associated with enhancing effective communication and self-expression. They are believed to open the throat chakra, facilitating the clear articulation of thoughts and feelings. This makes them popular among those who seek to improve public speaking or artistic endeavours.
Focus and Concentration: Sapphires are thought to enhance concentration, memory retention, and the ability to absorb new knowledge. Some people use sapphires to aid in studying or when engaging in activities that require mental acuity and focus.
Joy and Spiritual Growth: Sapphires are believed to bring a sense of joy, positive energy, and enthusiasm to the wearer's life. They are said to inspire a deeper connection to the spiritual realm and encourage personal growth and transformation.
Throat Chakra Activation: Blue sapphires are often associated with the throat chakra, which governs communication and self-expression. Wearing or using sapphires in energy work is believed to balance and activate this chakra, facilitating honest and clear communication.
It's important to note that while many people find value in the metaphysical properties of gemstones like sapphires, these beliefs are rooted in cultural traditions, spirituality, and personal experiences. Individual experiences with sapphires may vary, and it's up to each person to explore and interpret their metaphysical effects.
Where are Sapphires Found?
Sapphires are found in various parts of the world, and their geographical origins often influence their colour, quality, and characteristics. Here are some of the notable locations where sapphires are mined:
The Kashmir region in India is renowned for producing some of the most sought-after and valuable blue sapphires. These sapphires are prized for their rich velvety blue colour and exceptional transparency. The mines in this region have historically yielded some of the world's most exquisite sapphires, although production has been limited in recent decades. One Sapphire from Kashmir actually set a record in 2015 when it was sold, achieving a per-carat price of $242,000 when the single gem sold for a total of over $6.74 million.
Mogok Valley, Myanmar (Burma):
Myanmar has been a significant source of high-quality sapphires for centuries. The Mogok Valley is particularly famous for its "royal blue" sapphires, which are known for their intense blue colour and exceptional brilliance. Burmese sapphires often have a unique and captivating allure.
Sri Lanka (Ceylon):
Sri Lanka, formerly known as Ceylon, has a long history of producing sapphires in a wide range of colours. Ceylon sapphires are known for their vivid and vibrant hues, including blue, pink, yellow, and orange. The island nation is a major supplier of sapphires to the global market. Mines in Sri Lanka produced several sapphires that became famous. This includes the Star of Bombay, the Star of Adam, and the Star of India.
Madagascar recently became a leader in the production of this gem when large deposits were discovered in the 1990s, producing a diverse array of colours, including blues, pinks, and fancy colours. The island's sapphires are often characterized by their lively and vibrant colours, making them popular choices for jewelry.
Thailand is a hub for the trading and cutting of coloured gemstones, including sapphires. While not a major mining location itself, Thailand plays a central role in the global sapphire market due to its skilled lapidaries and gemstone expertise.
Australia is known for producing high-quality sapphires, primarily from the New South Wales and Queensland regions. Australian sapphires come in various colours and sizes, and they are often associated with being ethically sourced and environmentally responsible.
Montana is one of the few locations in the United States where sapphires are mined. The Yogo Gulch area is known for producing sapphires with a unique cornflower blue colour. Montana sapphires are prized for their domestic origin and distinct coloration.
Several African countries, including Madagascar, Tanzania, and Kenya, contribute to the global sapphire supply. These regions produce sapphires in a range of colours and qualities, adding to the diverse selection available in the market.
Cambodia has become known for producing sapphires, particularly blue and fancy-coloured sapphires. The sapphires from Cambodia often exhibit vivid colours and can be found in both commercial and high-end jewelry pieces.
Ethics and Sustainability: The Journey to Ethical Sapphire Sourcing
As conscientious consumers, it's crucial to consider the ethical and sustainable sourcing of gemstones. The journey of a sapphire—from mine to market—should align with fair labour practices and environmental responsibility. Supporting jewellers who prioritize ethical sourcing not only contributes to positive change within the industry but also adds depth and meaning to the gems you wear.
STONES SIMILAR TO THE SEPTEMBER STONE
If you're looking for gems that look similar to the September birthstone, there are actually plenty of options available, spread across a range of price points. That means it's possible to find options that look authentic without having to break the bank.
Certain pieces of iolite or tanzanite may look like Sapphire. However, they both tend to have a purplish tint and are pleochroic, meaning they can look different colours depending on the angle the stone is viewed or the lighting conditions.
Kyanite can have a sapphire-like colouring, though the stones can have areas that look lighter or darker blue, something that doesn't occur with most individual sapphire stones. Blue spinel is another reasonably strong match that is also generally affordable. Plus, blue spinel is a tough stone, making it a good option for most kinds of jewelry.
Benitoite strongly resembles Sapphire. However, as with other gemstones, top-quality pieces are exceptionally rare, so they can be incredibly expensive. The same goes for blue tourmalines – called indicolites – as that particular colour isn't just rare but highly prized.
September birthstone Sapphire FAQs
What are the 2 birthstones for September?
September boasts not one but two captivating birthstones: sapphire and lapis lazuli. While the sapphire gemstone is more commonly associated with this month due to its rich blue hues, lapis lazuli, with its deep blue speckled with gold veins, also shares the September birthstone spotlight.
What does the sapphire symbolize?
Sapphire symbolizes wisdom, loyalty, and nobility. For centuries, this popular gemstone has been associated with qualities like truth, sincerity, and inner peace. Its deep blue colour is often linked to the heavens, representing a sense of divine connection and enlightenment.
Is sapphire an expensive stone?
Yes, sapphire is considered one of the more expensive gemstones due to its rarity, durability, and timeless appeal. Factors influencing its price include colour, clarity, cut, carat weight, and origin. Exceptional sapphires, such as those with vivid colour and minimal inclusions, can command high prices in the market.
What color sapphire is most valuable?
The most valuable colour for sapphire is a rich, velvety blue often referred to as "cornflower blue." This deep and intense blue hue is highly sought after and commands a premium in the market. However, individual preferences vary, and other vibrant colours like pink, padparadscha (pink-orange), and rare fancy colours can also be valuable depending on their rarity and beauty.
Conclusion: Embracing the Sapphire's Enchantment
In the world of gemstones, sapphires stand as luminous symbols of wisdom, beauty, and eternity. From their vibrant history to their myriad colours and metaphysical properties, sapphires continue to captivate hearts across generations.
As you embark on your journey with sapphires, whether as a jewelry designer, enthusiast, or seeker of wisdom, remember that these gems carry within them the stories of civilizations and the magic of the universe—a testament to the enduring allure of September's birthstone.