Deep blue and a violet blue are the most desired colors of Sapphire.
Symbolism and Meanings
Sapphires are thought to clear the mind and keep bad health away.
September’s birthstone, the sapphire has been popular since the middle ages. A member of the corundum family, the sapphire shares much in common with another popular gemstone: the ruby. While the most highly prized sapphires are easily recognized are known for their middle to dark blue coloring, sapphires can occur naturally in almost any color of the rainbow, including yellow, pink, orange, green, and even brown.
Gregorian Birthstone Poem
There is a Gregorian calendar birthstone poem for each month in the year. The September verse is shown below:
A maiden born when September leaves
Are rustling in September’s breeze,
A sapphire on her brow should bind
`Twill cure diseases of the mind.
—Gregorian Birthstone Poems
The deep blue sapphires that are the most popular have been known for many things. The ancient Greeks believed that the sapphire was the sacred gem of Apollo, their god of light, truth, music, healing, and prophesy. Wearing a sapphire was believed to provide powerful protection from both illness and evil. Ancient warriors would give sapphires to their wives in order to help keep them faithful. It was believed that if the woman was unfaithful, the stone would darken.
In Medieval times, the sapphire became a symbol of heaven, and as such was often worn by clergy in order to set them apart as agents of God. Commoners believed that owning a sapphire would not only provide protection from negative influences such as envy and illness, it would attract heavenly blessings to both an individual and their household. As a result, the gems became highly prized.
During the 13th century, sapphires became very popular in France as well. It was thought that the stone had the ability to transform a grumpy or irritable person into a more pleasant humor. Additionally, the stone was believed to be able to impart knowledge and wisdom, ridding the wearer of any ignorance or stupidity.
Today, the sapphire is the traditional birthstone for the month of September. In addition, it is also often given as a gift for the 45th and 65th wedding anniversaries.
While the most common natural sapphires are blue, they often contain at least a small amount of a secondary color such as purple, violet, or green. While blue is the traditional color of the September birthstone, some of the most highly prized and rare varieties of sapphire contain almost no blue at all.
Fancy color sapphires are yellow, green, or pink. The pink ones are particularly prized, so long as their color does not stray into the red range. Once the hue enters the red range of color, the stone is considered to be a ruby rather than a sapphire.
One of the most rare forms of sapphire is the star sapphire. This blue stone with have intersecting inclusions that cause a six-pointed star pattern to appear in the stone. Very rarely, a twelve point star may occur. While the star is usually white, it can have a golden color as well, depending on the material of the inclusion.
Finally, the color-change sapphire appears to be a different color depending upon the light. When worn outdoors, these gems may appear blue, while under incandescent light, they may appear to be purple. Other color combinations include green while outdoors and pink or violet while indoors.
Origin of the Word Sapphire
The word ‘sapphire‘ originates from old french ‘saphir‘; this comes from the Latin ‘sapphirus‘ and Greek ‘sappheiros‘.
Sapphire is an oxide mineral, specifically, aluminium oxide, Al2O3. It has a massive and granular trigonal crystal system. Its hardness is high resulting in 9 on Mohs scale (diamond is 10). It has a vitreous luster, a specific gravity of 3.95 – 4.03 and a melting point of 2,030 – 2,050 °C.
Natural or Synthetic?
Today, many of the sapphires that you will find in jewelry stores are artificial. These are created by pressing alumina powder with an oxyhydrogen flame against a mantle. This creates a teardrop shaped artificial sapphire. One of the benefits of this process, is that the artificial gems appear virtually identical to natural sapphires, but they can be created without the flaws that are found in the natural gemstones. In addition to being created in all of the natural occurring colors of sapphire, synthetic sapphires can be created in any color and hue.