While some opt for alternate gemstones, most individuals agree that the blue sapphire is the birthstone for September. When many hear the word sapphire, they think of the deep blue gemstones. However, this semi-precious gem actually occurs in a variety of colors and shades. Generally, the blue sapphire is the most widely known. The only color not found in sapphires is red, which is classified as rubies. Sapphires have been revered since the Middle Ages. They were believed to symbolize the heavens, attracted favor from the divine, and provided wisdom in judgment. It was also believed to ward off evil.
Blue sapphires were primarily mined in Kashmir, India, Burma, and Sri Lanka. Modern blue sapphires are found primarily in Australia and Madagascar. Natural gemstones are preferred for jewelry; however, synthetic sapphires have contributed to industries and applications including circuits, satellite communication systems, scientific instruments, and high-durability windows among others. The finest quality blue sapphires are one of the rarest gemstones found in nature. In addition, the blue sapphire is often gifted for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.
Sapphires are created when the metal titanium is included within the corundum, which is found in igneous rock. As the magma begins to cool, crystals begin to form. Generally, the slower the magma cools, the larger the sapphires will be. Changes in the environment, changes in pressure, and potential inclusions ensure no two genuine sapphires will be exactly alike. Almost all except the rarest sapphires will have some type of inclusion and generally, only lab-created gems are perfectly clear. It is a very hard gemstone, rating a 9 on the Mohs’s Scale. The only harder substances are moissanite and diamond. Sapphire deposits can often be found in the shape of a barrel. Expert gem cutters will then create a piece by cutting facets to provide more brilliance when in a setting.
Because of the hardness and durability of sapphires, as well as the beauty, they are ideal gemstones for daily wear. They are popular gemstones to wear whether one was born in September or simply enjoys them. It is important to note that often heat treating is used to improve the color or clarity of a gem. This treatment is permanent and accepted by the jewelry industry. Other less accepted and relatively rare treatments including dyeing or fracture filling, so it is important to understand what treatments have been done to the sapphire you plan to purchase. These treatments are less popular as they can make the gem prone to damage.
Though revered for many centuries, the sapphire was given new popularity in 1981 when Prince Charles gifted a blue sapphire engagement ring to Princess Diana. However, royalty in ancient Greece and Rome, and for the centuries since that time, have always appreciated the sapphire for wear. The sapphire was so revered; it is even mentioned in biblical texts. The sapphire was named for the Greek word “sapphirus”, which translates to “blue”. Some sapphires are known as star sapphires for the white star-like shape that appears on the surface. This is caused by what is called an asterism, and are cherished for their unique and powerful look. The “Serendipity Sapphire” is currently the largest ever found, weighing over 2.5 million carats, or approximately half a ton. Interestingly, it was discovered in the backyard of a Sri Lanka man and could be valued at over $100 million.
Like most other gems, regular cleaning is important. Warm, soapy water is always acceptable. However, as long as your sapphires have not been treated in a way that weakens them, an ultrasonic cleaner may also be used. In those cases, a soft, damp cloth should be utilized instead. You should avoid subjecting the gem to acids, even including lemon juice as these substances can possibly etch the surface of the stone.
If you have a September birthday, have a milestone anniversary approaching, or simply love the look and durability of sapphires, Paffrath and Son Jewelers has a broad selection of sapphire jewelry to choose from. We offer several styles of pendants, rings, and bracelets. In addition, our in-store jeweler can work closely with you to create a special custom piece. We invite you to visit our store to look for yourself. We look forward to serving you.