September Birthstone - Sapphire

The beautiful sapphire is September’s birthstone. It symbolizes truth, sincerity and faithfulness, and it has been known to attract wealth, ease social interaction and protect the wearer from envy and infidelity.

The word sapphire stems from the Latin word, “saphirus”, meaning “blue”. Blue is the most common and popular form of the stone, but a sapphire is capable of coming in any color except red (red corundum is known as ruby). Sapphires are commonly found in white, black, orange, yellow, green, brown, purple and pink. These coveted gemstones are commonly mined in Australia, Cambodia, China, Kenya, Madagascar, Myanmar (Burma), Nigeria, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and the United States.

Lineage by Levys, sapphire rings
Lineage by Levys, sapphire rings.

A Buddhist History of Sapphire

Long known as having significant value amongst different cultures, and it is known as being the most common stone associated with Asian deities. Amongst Buddhist practitioners, the sapphire is seen as the Stone of Stones to give Spiritual Light. It is believed to produce a desire for prayer and bring peace and love to the wearer, as long as he or she lives a moral life.

A Judeo-Christian History of Sapphire

Sapphire is one of the most important stones mentioned in both the Old and New Testament. According to scripture, the seal-stone in the ring of King Solomon was a sapphire, and the prophet, Abraham, is said to have worn a magnificent sapphire amulet, which is said to have risen into the sun upon his death. It was also included as one of the 12 stones in Aaron’s priestly breastplate. It was also once believed that the 10 Commandments given to Moses by God on Mt Sinai were engraved in sapphire.

In the early days of Christianity, Bishops designed rings that matched their own personal tastes, whatever that may be. In the twelfth century, Pope Innocent III decreed that all Bishop’s rings should be made of pure gold and set with an un-engraved stone. The sapphire was selected as the stone to honor the clergy and represent the kingdom of heaven.

A Greek History of Sapphire

Greeks believed that sapphires were associated with the god Apollo, the god of music, poetry, art, oracles, archery, plague, medicine, sun, light and knowledge. Sapphire rings were commonly worn when consulting with oracles, including the famous Oracle of Delphi.

A History of Sapphires in the Middle Ages

Pope Innocent III was also the pope who decreed that there must be a waiting (engagement) period before a marriage. It was commonly believed that the stone would fade in color before the wedding if worn by an impure person.

It is also said that when their husbands returned from the crusades in Asia, many of the soldier’s wives’ faithfulness were tested with sapphires.

Art deco diamond and sapphire bracelets
Art deco diamond and sapphire bracelets.

Mystical and Healing Properties of Sapphires

During the Middle Ages, sapphires were seen as having more spiritual significance than most precious gemstones. They were seen as being capable of preserving chastity, unveiling fraud and treachery, and protecting the wearer from poison, plague, fever, skin disease, and most forms of black magic.

It was also used to heal problems with the eyes. When a person was diagnosed with small pox, sapphires were rubbed on the ill person’s eyes to prevent them from becoming damaged by the disease.

What is a Star Sapphire?

Star sapphires are usually cloudy stones, with a six point (some have twelve points, but they are more rare) star that becomes very apparent in the presence of light. This star is usually most prominently noticed on a stone with a cabochon cut. They have long been seen as very valuable for their ability to procure favors, bring good fortune, and protect against witchcraft. In ancient times, star sapphires were recognized as the most important stones to wear as a talisman.

Sapphire rings
A collection of sapphire rings: modern on the left, vintage on the right

Star sapphires also have a strong tradition as a charm used to evoke feelings of love. It is recorded that the wife of the famous Emperor Charlemagne regularly wore a powerful charm consisting of two rough sapphires and a piece of the Holy Cross. This talisman was created with the goal of maintaining the love of the emperor, and it is said to have worked so well, that his love endured long after her death.

Is my Sapphire Color Enhanced?

More often than not, sapphires are brought to extreme temperatures as a way to bring out a more desirable color and remove inclusions. This process drastically reduces the value of the stone, when compared to a stone of equal size, cut, color, and quality that is natural and untreated. Heat treating and origin reporting is commonly offered by the top color stone gem laboratories, and these certifications could drastically increase the value of a sapphire. Because 99% of all stones released to the market have some form of treatment, non-treated sapphires are very rare and valuable.

What is a Synthetic Sapphire?

Synthetic sapphires were first created in 1902. When well made, these stones can be very hard to tell from a genuine stone. It is best to have a certified gemologist examine the stone before making assumptions on the authenticity.

Fun Facts About Sapphires

  • Padparadzha- the name of a pinkish-orange sapphire, commonly found in Sri Lanka, that has a value much greater than any blue sapphire. The name translates to “lotus blossom”.
  • It is rumored that the crown worn by the Egyptian Empress Cleopatra adorned a huge sapphire
  • Alexander the Great is said to have worn a sapphire ring while leading his army across Asia
  • Rulers of Ancient Persia believed that the sky was blue because of the reflection of sapphires

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