Sapphire: The September Birthstone

Sapphire: The September Birthstone

The official September birthstone is Sapphire. Sapphire derives its name from the ancient Greek word Sappheiros meaning precious stone. It can also be traced back to the Sanskrit word Sanipriya which means dark-colored stone.

The most desired sapphire is of a pure, rich blue color. However, sapphires also come in almost every hue of the rainbow including pink, peach, orange, yellow, green, teal, black and purple. Red sapphires are better known as rubies (both are varieties of the mineral corundum). The colored sapphires are known as fancy sapphires. Blue and colorless Sapphires are known as Traditional Sapphires. Natural occurring white or colorless sapphires are very rare and were used as diamond substitutes.

In ancient times any dark-colored blue stone that was valuable eg. Azurite or Lapis Lazuli was designed or classified as a Sapphire.

The most sought-after fancy sapphire is of a pinkish orange color known as the Sinhalese Sapphire from Sri Lanka.

Padparadscha Sapphire is one of the rarest of sapphires and therefore it commands a very high price. It is a gem treasured by collectors. Padparadscha Sapphire is named after a lotus flower. Its colours are light to medium tones of pink and orange similar to that of salmon.

Parti Sapphires are sapphires with natural occurring 2 or more zones of colors within a single stone. The most common bi-color combination is yellow and green. Rarer stones that show blue, purple or lavender colors, or tri-color combinations are especially prized.

The Pharaoh's Eye parti sapphire is created by a yellow crystal core surrounded with blue, creating a kaleidoscope of blues, yellows and greens.

Color-change Sapphires are those Sapphires that seems to change color with different lighting. For example, a color-change Sapphire can go from blue in daylight or fluorescent lighting to purple under incandescent light. A rare color-change Sapphire is the one that changes from green in daylight to reddish brown in incandescent light.

Sapphires can also exhibit Pleochroism which is the effect of exhibiting different colors when viewed from different angles. Note, this is not the same as the color-change phenomena. For instance, purple pleochroic Sapphire can show orange when viewed from different angle; blue pleochroic Sapphire can show a light blue-green, and a pink pleochroic Sapphire can show an orange-red.

The star effect known as asterism can also be found in Sapphires. It is caused by reflections from tiny, needle-like inclusions that are oriented in several specific directions. Usually, to obtain this effect Sapphires must be cut en cabochon and typically the star effect appears as a three-crossbeam, six-ray star pattern visible across the surface.

The most sought-after star Sapphire are those with red and blue asterism. The red asterism is known as Star Ruby, and all other colors may be called Star Sapphires.

Ancient Persians called Sapphire the Celestial Stone and considered it sacred as it resembled the blueness of heaven.

From ancient times, Sapphire was seen as a holy gemstone. It was the gem sacred to Phoebus Apollo, the Greek god of light, prophecy, poetry, music and healing.

The light of Apollo represents inner (intuitive or revealed) knowledge, truth, righteousness, moral purity and mental illumination. Its light is not the same light as that of Helios, the material Sun.

Worshippers of Apollo wore Sapphire so as to receive the favor and blessings of God Apollo, and in order to understand the prophecy given to them at Delphi. The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that Sapphire could protect the wearer from envy, infidelity and harm.

In the Old Testament of the Bible, Yahweh’s feet rest on a pedestal made from Sapphire which reflected the ancient Persian belief that the world was supported by a Sapphire pedestal.

Sapphire gemstone is of an aluminum oxide chemical composition. It has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale. Thus, Sapphires can be used for any type of jewelry and can be worn every day without any worries about chipping, scratching or cracking.

Sapphires have a glass-like luster, and the colorless sapphire has an orange-yellow and violet fluorescence.

In order to symbolize the direct connection with Heaven, in the 12th century, the Catholic clergy began setting their ecclesiastical rings which were to be worn by bishops with Sapphires. A special ecclesiastical ring was set in a three-crossbeam star Sapphire which to them represent the holy trinity. Star Sapphires were also called The Stone of Destiny and the three crossbeams were believed to represent Faith, Hope and Destiny.

In the myths and legends of Hinduism, the Tree of Life or the Kalpa-vriksha was said to have a trunk made of diamonds, roots of sapphires and fruits of rubies.

In Myanmar there was a legend of beautiful temples the Khmer people built for their Goddess Tsun-Kyan-Kse. One of these temples contained a solid gold statue of the Goddess with sapphire eyes. When the temple was under attack and a temple cat leapt to assist his dying master, it was miraculously transformed into the divine incarnation of the goddess with its sapphire blue eyes.

Today most of the Sapphires sold on the gemstone market are mined from Queensland and New South Wales in Australia. Other sources come from Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Thailand, Tanzania and North America.

Sapphire vibrates healing energy by its soothing blue color. Gazing at a sapphire was said to protect oneself against any harm and also was believed to bring good luck.

The ancients had used sapphires as medicine for any eye ailments. It was even grounded and mixed with milk and applied on the eye to relieve pain.

Ivan the Terrible of Russia stated that the sapphire strengthened the heart and muscles and endowed a person with courage.

Sapphire was very important as a pharmaceutical remedy for all types of ailments of the body, from inflammation to poisons, melancholy and even flatulence.

It was used as a charm against witchcraft, treachery, quarrels between friends, evil forms of thinking and demonic influences.

Sapphire was also used in magical and religious ceremonies. For instance, it was used as an amulet that would protect the wearer from the larvae of the demonic spiritual plane and from poisonous vermin on this material plane.

During the 11th and 12th centuries, sorcerers honored the sapphire more than any other stone as it enabled them to hear and understand the most obscure oracles.

Ancient priests wore Sapphire as a symbol of their chastity. For accordingly, no evil men, of evil thoughts and of evil habits could touch this sacred gemstone which was the gemstone of Apollo who used it to consult the sacred Oracle at Delphi.

A drunkard and a drug addict should never wear a sapphire. This is because the sapphire would not tolerate such vile hands or persons as the brilliance in the sapphire would simply be dimmed.

Sapphire was considered the gemstone of heaven, and a great talisman against devils and demons and witches, and all forms of evil forces. Ancient Persians believed that the heavens were in fact the reflection of a giant sapphire.

Furthermore, the blue Sapphire is associated with Saturn and Saturday, whereas the colorless Sapphire is associated with Venus and Friday.

Sapphire Zodiacal signs include both Taurus and Gemini.

The popularity of Sapphires grew when in 1981 Prince Charles gave Princess Diana a blue sapphire for engagement ring thus Sapphire becoming a popular engagement ring henceforth.

It is believed that wearing a sapphire gemstone helps you bond with your spiritual helpers such as your spirit guides, spiritual healers, guardian angels, and even loved ones that have passed away to the other side, to the spirit realm.

It is believed that Sapphire gemstones can accelerate the healing process by giving the wearer the willpower to become well.

The price of a Sapphire gemstone will depend on color, clarity, size and weight and also the type of treatment that it has gone through.

Synthetic sapphires or lab-created sapphires are common in today’s gem market and they are hard to distinguish chemically from a natural Sapphire. Lower grade Sapphires typically are of inferior color and clarity. Usually, they are transparent and cut as cabochons instead of faceted.

Heat treated Sapphires involves high temperature heating that melts the titanium or iron found in the gemstone to improve its color and clarity. Though still affordable, these are more expensive than the cabochon Sapphires especially if the color and clarity are of excellent quality.

In the UK, alternative birthstone for September is the Lapis Lazuli. Just like Sapphire, it was considered sacred and a connection to the heavens.

To the ancient Arabs, Russians, and Hebrews, Peridot was the birthstone for September. Today Peridot has become the birthstone for August.

The ancient Romans (also modern-day Italians) considered Sardonyx as the September birthstone.

To the ancient Tibetans, Agate was the birthstone for the month of September and in the Hindu calendar, the blue Zircon is considered the September birthstone.