Monthly Archives: September 2016

Sapphire - September Birthstone

Sapphire – September Birthstone

Sapphire is the Birthstone for you if you were born in September.

The Imperial State Crown showing the St. Edward's Sapphire.
The Imperial State Crown showing the St.Edward’s Sapphire.

It has been a popular gemstone since Ancient Greek and Roman times. Polished sapphires have been found that date back more than 2000 years. In the Middle Ages, according to folklore, they will protect your loved ones from envy and harm. Medieval clergy wore them to symbolize heaven, while their parishioners thought the gemstone attracted heavenly blessings.

The sapphire was said to represent the purity of the soul.  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. It was believed that the stone’s colour would darken if worn by an adulterer or adulteress, or by an unworthy person.

Ancient Persians called sapphire the “Celestial Stone.” It was the gem of Apollo, Greek God of prophesy and was worn by worshippers visiting his shrine in Delphi to seek his help. It was used by ancient Etruscans as far back as the 7th century B.C.

The most sought-after sapphires are a medium to medium dark blue or slightly violet-blue. However, these stones, or their very close relations, are found in every colour of the rainbow. Sapphire is a variety of the gem species corundum and occurs in all colours of the rainbow. Pink, purple, green, orange, or yellow corundum are known by their colour. Ruby is the red variety of corundum.

Where do the colours come from? Find out here.

Where is Sapphire Found?

The biggest source of sapphires world-wide is Australia, especially New South Wales and Queensland. Found in alluvial deposits of weathered basalt, Australian sapphires typically are blue stones with a dark and inky appearance. Kashmir, in India, used to be a well-known source of the cornflower-blue stones. In the United States, a major source is the Yogo Gulch Mine in Montana that mostly yields small stones for industrial use.

Yogo Gulch Sapphire Mine
Yogo Gulch Sapphire Mine. Image by bal_agates

Sapphires were once believed to be protection against snakes. It was said that if poisonous reptiles and spiders were placed in a jar containing the stone, the creatures would immediately die. The French of the 13th century believed that sapphire transformed stupidity to wisdom, and irritability to good temper.

One of the most famous sapphires rests on the Imperial State Crown, worn by Queen Victoria in 1838. It is normally kept with the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. This gem is called the St. Edward’s Sapphire because it once belonged to Edward the Confessor, who wore the stone on a ring during his coronation in 1042.