September Birthstone: Sapphire
Many people adore birthstone jewelry because the stone feels personal. It makes a piece feel meaningful simply due to the association, giving it a sense of specialness to the wearer.
The September birthstone is often a favorite, and not just for those born during the time of year when summer transitions to fall. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering, “What is September’s birthstone,” “What color is the September birthstone,” or similar questions, here’s what you need to know.
What Is the Birthstone for September?
By Parent Géry - Own work, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5721765
The gemstone for September is the Sapphire. The stone is a variety of the corundum mineral, just like rubies. Today, high-quality sapphires are still considered quite rare, mainly when they are prime examples of the stone’s traditionally associated color.
The Sapphire’s popularity isn’t anything new, as September’s birthstone has been popular for centuries. Greeks thought sapphires could provide them with guidance, while early Christians believed the gems could provide them with protection.
Sapphires are found in several regions spread across the globe. The Kashmir region of India was a valued source from the late 19th to early 20th centuries. 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.
Mines in Sri Lanka produced several sapphires that would become famous. This includes the Star of Bombay, Star of Adam, and Star of India. Australia was a popular source of sapphires for a time, and you can also find them in Myanmar, Thailand, China, Brazil, Vietnam, and parts of Africa and North America. However, Madagascar recently became a leader in production for this gem when large deposits were discovered in the 1990s.
Like diamonds, the value of a sapphire depends on its color, cut, clarity, and carat size. However, the stone’s origin also plays a role in its value.
What Is the September Birthstone Color?
Generally speaking, the birthstone color for September is a rich, vibrant blue. In fact, the name “sapphire” comes from “sappheiros,” a Greek word that means “blue stone.”
The color occurs when certain trace elements alter the appearance of corundum, which is typically clear. For blue sapphires, iron is responsible for the hue.
However, the September gemstone is actually available in a wide range of colors. Depending on the trace minerals present, a sapphire can also be purple, pink, orange, yellow, or green. When a sapphire is any shade but blue, it’s called “fancy.”
By Rob Lavinsky, iRocks.com – CC-BY-SA-3.0, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link
Technically, rubies are also corundum that’s been tinted by a trace element. That’s why there aren’t any red sapphires, as those are called rubies instead. Pink sapphires are typically right on the line, failing to have enough color saturation to cross the threshold and be labeled rubies.
While classic, vibrant blue sapphires that score well in cut, clarity, and carat size are usually the most valuable, there are some instances where pink-orange sapphires from Sri Lanka have similar values. Those stones, called padparadscha – which is derived from the word for “lotus flower” in Sri Lankan – at times draw higher prices than some comparable quality blue sapphires, in fact.
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.
By Chip Clark, Smithsonian staff - Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Image Number: 97-35728 Catalog Number: G8044, and Smithsonian Gem Gallery, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17325756
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.
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 like different colors depending on the angle the stone is viewed or the lighting conditions.
Kyanite can have a sapphire-like coloring, 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, gem-quality pieces are exceptionally rare, so they can be incredibly expensive. The same goes for blue tourmalines – called indicolites – as that particular color isn’t just rare, but highly prized.