Birthstone for September is a relative of July’s birthstone, ruby. Like ruby, it is a form of the mineral corundum, a normally drab grey mineral. Red corundum is called the ruby, while all other gem quality forms of corundum are considered to be sapphires.
Typically sapphires appear as blue stones. Ranging from very pale blue to deep indigo, due to the presence of small amounts of titanium and iron within the crystal structure. The most valued shade of blue is the medium-deep cornflower blue. Though what is most beautiful to you is more important than anything. Sapphires also occur in almost all other natural colors and tints – colorless, gray, yellow, pale pink, orange, green, violet and brown – called fancy sapphires. These different colors are caused by different kinds of impurities within the crystal. For example, yellow sapphires get their color from ferric iron. And these as colorless gems have no contaminants.
Sources of Sapphire
The biggest source of sapphires world-wide is Australia. Specifically the New South Wales and Queensland regions. Found in deposits of weathered basalt, Australian sapphires typically are blue gemstones with a dark and inky appearance. Also Kashmir, in India, has been a well-known source of the cornflower-blue stones. Along with the United States as a major source. Here the Yogo Gulch Mine in Montana yields almost only small stones for industrial use.
Meaning of the Word
The word sapphire has its roots in several ancient languages. The Arabic safir, the Latin sapphirus (meaning blue) and the Greek word sappheiros. Named for the island of Sappherine in the Arabian Sea where sapphires were found in ancient Grecian times. Ancient Persians called sapphire the “Celestial Stone.” It was the gem of Apollo, Greek God of prophesy and was worn by worshipers visiting his shrine in Delphi to seek his help. It was used by ancient Etruscans as far back as the 7th century B.C.
Sapphire was said to represent the purity of the soul. Before and during the Middle Ages it was worn by priests as protection from impure thoughts and temptations of the flesh. Medieval kings of Europe valued these stones for rings and brooches, believing that it protected them from harm and envy. Warriors presented their young wives with sapphire necklaces so they would remain faithful. Since it was believed that the stone’s color would darken if worn by an adulterer or adulteress, or by an unworthy person.
Sapphires were once believed to be protection against snakes. It was said that if poisonous reptiles and spiders were placed in a jar containing this gemstone, they would die. The French of the 13th century believed that sapphire transformed stupidity to wisdom, and irritability to good temper.
What is the Most Famous Sapphire?
The most famous sapphire rests on the Imperial State Crown. Which was worn by Queen Victoria in 1838. It is set in the British Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. This gem is called St. Edward’s Sapphire because it once belonged to Edward the Confessor. Who wore the stone on a ring during his coronation in 1042.
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