September's birthstone is sapphire—a vivid blue gemstone that is prized for its durability. It is one of the few precious stones out there, alongside of rubies, emeralds, and diamonds. Because it is a precious stone, it can get expensive, so it's worth learning as many sapphire facts as you're willing to take in before purchasing one.
Sapphire's popularity has remained relatively constant for hundreds of years due in part to its inherent beauty and timelessness. Keep reading for more insight about the September birthstone and find out why so many people love it.
Sapphire Buying Information
- Sapphire comes in every shade of the rainbow except red. Red stones with the same chemical composition as sapphire are known as rubies. Sapphires with colors besides blue are known as fancy sapphires.
- Most fancy sapphires are rarer and more expensive than blue sapphires. The most costly variety of fancy sapphire is padparadscha sapphire that is a pinkish-orange shade.
- Like alexandrites, there is a variety of color-changing sapphire that shifts between blue and purple depending on the lighting.
- There are synthetic sapphires on the market that are flux grown in laboratories and have been since 1902. For this reason, you can find synthetic sapphire in both antique and modern jewelry.
- Usually, manmade sapphires are less expensive and their origins are disclosed. However, it's hard to tell the difference between the two unless you're a trained gemologist. If you are buying a precious sapphire that costs more than several hundred dollars, insist on a lab report for authenticity purposes.
- The most important factor when valuing a sapphire is the color, which is broken down into tone, saturation, and hue.
- The most desirable shade of blue sapphire is a deep, pure blue that is not yet black and still has some transparency. The finest color varieties are named after their origin points: Kashmir, Ceylon, Burma, and Sri Lanka.
- Star sapphires are a variety of sapphire with inclusions that cause a phenomenon called asterism. These stones have a six-pointed star on the surface that moves around as the stone is rotated under a light source.
- Sapphire ranks nine out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, which is one point below a diamond. Sapphires should not scratch easily, but they can be scratched by other sapphires, rubies, or diamonds.
- Most sapphires on the market are heat treated to enhance their color and clarity.
- Because sapphires are highly durable, they can withstand cleaning in ultrasonic machines and can also be steam cleaned. We recommend bringing your sapphire jewelry to a jeweler twice a year for a cleaning and inspection.
- If your sapphire has large inclusions or has been fissure filled or treated, clean the stone with warm, soapy water and avoid ultrasonic machines.
- The term sapphire originates from the Greek word 'Sappheiros,' meaning 'dark blue gem.'
- Sapphires date as far back as the Ancient Romans and Greeks and have been mined since 800 BC.
- In the Middle Ages, clergymen would decorate their robes with sapphires that symbolized heaven. Kings and queens would use sapphires in their crown jewels, and they still do to this day.
- Before diamonds became the stone of choice for engagement rings, many people gave sapphire engagement rings instead.
- In 1796, Napoleon Bonaparte gave Josephine a sapphire engagement ring. The ring sold at auction in recent years for $949,000.
- Arguably the most famous sapphire of modern times was Princess Diana's 18-carat sapphire engagement ring that was eventually passed down to Kate Middleton.
- Sapphire became the official birthstone of September in 1912 by the National Association of Jewelers.
- This gemstone is linked to the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.
- The largest star sapphire is known as the Star of Asia and weighs 330 carats.
- Many people associate sapphires with nobility and honesty. The stone has also represented faithfulness and chastity. As a truth stone, wearing it was believed to help people keep their promises.
- Thousands of years ago, sapphires were worn as amulets to guard the wearer against evil and protect them from enemies.
- Sapphire has been used in healing practices as a peace stone. It is thought to have antidepressant-like qualities and can aid in the quest for tranquility and enlightenment.
- Sapphire has had strong religious ties throughout history and is mentioned in the bible a dozen times.