THE STONE OF ROYALS AND SEPTEMBER BABIES ALIKE, SAPPHIRES COME IN A RAINBOW OF COLORS, AND EVEN BICOLORS! READ ON TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THE BRILLIANTLY BLUE BIRTHSTONE OF SEPTEMBER.
Sapphires are very durable stones — scoring a 9 on the Moh’s scale of hardness — making them excellent options for daily wear. They are a form of the mineral corundum, with the red-hued varieties of this mineral also known as rubies! With a wide color range from colorless, to bicolor (two different colors in one stone) to fancy sapphire colors which include yellow, orange, green, brown, purple, violet, pink, gray, and black. In the blue range, sapphires run the gamut from a greenish to violet-hued blue! Because sapphires range in colors, they are often treated with heat to improve their color or clarity, with darker more royal blues being the most preferable. They can be found in Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Cambodia, Madagascar, Australia, Myanmar, Thailand, and the United States (Montana).
Recognized throughout modern times as the birthstone of September, sapphire is also the gem used to celebrate 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. One of the most famous and classic sapphire rings in recent history was Princess Diana’s 12 carat engagement ring (surrounded by a halo of 14 diamonds), which her son Prince William used in his proposal to the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
There are three historically important sources of sapphires: Sri Lanka, Kashmir, and the Mogok region of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma). Sri Lanka has been famed for its rich deposits of sapphires for more than 2,000 years, and is known as “the jewel box of the Indian Ocean,” for the stunning range, brilliance, and saturation of stones from its mines.
The largest faceted sapphire in the world was discovered in Sri Lanka in 1907 and is aptly-named the Blue Giant of the Orient. Approximately 2.5 inches across and weighing in at 486 carats, the Blue Giant has been in private collections since the time of it's discovery, other than a brief stint at Christie's famous Magnificent Jewels auction, where it became the largest faceted sapphire ever to be auctioned. The largest blue star sapphire in the world is the Star of India, a 563 carat cabachon star sapphire that is over 2 billion years old. Originally mined in Sri Lanka, the giant gemstone is currently on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. The "star" of the gem references an optical phenomenon called an asterism -- refractive, star-like lines at the center of the stone, caused by the presence of rutile in gems.
The Star of India.
Prized as a symbol of sincerity, truth, and faithfulness, sapphires have also been a favorite stone and related representation of nobility. The elite of Ancient Greece and Rome wore sapphires to protect themselves from harm or from envy, while the Ancient Persians held the belief that sapphires were the essence of earth, and imbued the sky with its blue color. Similarly, during the Middle Ages, religious leaders treasured sapphires as symbolisms of Heaven. Sapphires were also touted for their purported healing powers, beloved throughout history as cures for everything from poisonings, to boils and eye diseases. Wearing sapphires has also been said to ease pain and reduce stress — while we cannot say whether or not they reduce pain, we definitely feel less stressed with beautiful sapphire jewelry on!