Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September.
Sapphire is associated with the zodiac signs of Aries, Cancer, Libra, and Taurus.
Al2O3 + Fe2+ & Ti4+
Sapphire is a form of Aluminium Oxide known as Corundum. Pure Corundum is in fact clear, and Blue Corundum, or Sapphire, is made up of Corundum (Al2O3), and Iron & Titianium impurities (Fe2+ & Ti4+), the Titanium being primarily responsible for the Blue coloration.
History & Lore:
The name Corundum is believed to originate from either the Indian word kauruntaka, or the Sanskrit word kurivinda. Sapphire, the name for this particular type of Corundum is taken from the Latin word sapphirus, meaning “blue”.
It was the belief of the ancient Persians that the Earth actually rested on an enormous Sapphire and that the reflection from this Sapphire was what gave the sky its blue coloration. Sapphire has been the pre-eminent blue gemstone for centuries since.
Sapphire is a powerful stone that can take negative emotions and feelings and transform them into peace, love and joy. Sapphire is a very helpful gemstone, often used to treat skin and eye disorders, and to ward off infection. In addition to this, Sapphire has long been regarded as a symbol of constancy and sincerity. Sapphire bestows innocence, truth and good health, and has traditionally been a popular choice amongst Royalty, often having been used in Engagement Rings as an alternative to Diamonds.
Sapphire aids the wearer with opening the third-eye chakra, and is an aid to getting inside the subconscious mind, as well as being a gemstone said to attract divine favor.
It is an extremely hard and a very expensive exercise trying to source natural Sapphires that have not been heat-treated as these gems are amongst the most valuable gemstones known today. However, thanks to modern gemstone enhancements and treatments, it is now possible to own wonderful, heat-treated natural Sapphires that are both available to meet demand, and priced at a level making this beautiful gemstone attainable / available to most people.
Whilst today's main sources of Sapphire are Africa, Australia, Myanmar (Burma), Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Thailand and the United States (Montana, North Carolina), there are also known Sapphire deposits in Brazil, Cambodia, India, Madagascar, Tanzania and Vietnam.
Blue Sapphires are available in a range of different shades of blue, from a pale baby blue to a rich royal blue.
The highest quality and most desirable Sapphires are those that originate in India, Myanmar (Burma), and Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Sapphires from India and Myanmar (Burma), are highly prized for their pure blue colors and stones from these regions are priced accordingly, often at collectors prices, particularly if there is documentation available to prove the origin of the Sapphire. Sri Lankan (Ceylon) Sapphires are sought after for both their delightful pastel blue and fancy colored variations.
Sapphire is rated at 9 on the Moh's Scale of Hardness and is second only to the Diamond in this regard. Sapphires therefore are perfectly suited to all jewelry purposes / uses and is a very hard-wearing, durable and versatile gemstone suitable for everyday wear.
When thinking of Sapphire, most people immediately think of, and prefer, a blue gemstone. Sapphire is however actually much more than just a blue gem and is found in various colors including, black, blues, browns, colorless, pink, orange, peach, purple, voilet, white and yellow. The one color that Sapphire is not is red. Red Corundum is what we know as Ruby. In adition to the single colors, Sapphires are also available in “Stars” where inclusions make the stone translucent or opaque and affect the way that the gemstone reflects light. The effect created is a “Star” and this star floats across the surface of the stone as it is moved.
The most valuable natural Sapphires are those that exhibit pure blue colors. The purer the blue color, the more valuable the Sapphire becomes. When buying Sapphires, color, clarity and size are the main considerations and those that have the most effect upon overall worth. Pay particular attention to color - look for a stone that displays intense, uniform, pure blue coloration with no overtones or secondary colors.
Being an extremely hard gemstone that is very well-suited to jewelry purposes, Sapphires are cut into almost all of the known gemstone cuts, with Cushion, Emerald, Pear and Oval cuts being particularly popular.
Almost all Sapphires found on the market today have been heat-treated in order to intensify color and remove “silk”, small inclusions present in most natural Sapphires. This method of treatment is considered permanent and color should not fade over time.
Care & Cleaning:
Sapphires are a very tough, durable gemstone and can safely be cleaned with soapy water or commercial solvent and a brush, and can also safely be cleaned using most modern mechanical cleaners. Do however avoid subjecting Sapphires to prolonged exposure to strong heat or light sources, particularly with regard to heat-treated gems, as prolonged exposure may cause permanent changes in coloration.