The Sapphire is the gem quality variety of the mineral corundum and the last of the four precious stones we will discuss. The Sapphire is the official birthstone of the month of September and the Anniversary gift for the 5th and 45th year.
The second hardest stone on earth with a Mohs hardness of 9, the Sapphire is a very rare and beautiful stone. The Blue Sapphire is the most recognized, however the sapphire does comes in a variety of colors, ranging from deep yellows to vibrant pinks. All colors of gem quality corundum are known as a sapphire except for the red, which is known as a Ruby.
Padparadscha Sapphire is a very rare sapphire with a pinkish-orange hue, named from the Sinhalese word for lotus blossom. Another more rare color is the Pink Sapphire. Also found in Sri Lanka and Africa, this brilliant stone is a less expensive alternative to the desirable pink diamond.
There are only a few places in the world that the blue sapphire can be found. The three most famous regions for blue sapphire are Kashmir, Burma and Sri Lanka. Though Madagascar leads the world in sapphire production, this small country is also known for its wide range of colored sapphires. Today, Madagascar and Tanzania have the most important sapphire mines.
The Sapphire is regarded as the stone for Taurus so if a Taurus wears a sapphire, it is thought to protect the wearer from and cure mental disorders. The sapphire has always symbolized truth, sincerity and loyalty. It is thought to bring peace, joy and wisdom to its wearer. The Ancients thought it to be a talisman against evil spirits and the regarded the star sapphires as a protector of travelers and seekers.
So powerful was the lore of the Sapphire, great rulers in history went to great lengths to procure and keep them to safeguard their reign. Charlemagne, the founding father of France and Germany and the first ruler of Western European Empire was an intensely religious man. To him, Sapphires symbolized heaven and the promise of eternal salvation. He owned a sacred amulet in which a relic of the True Cross was placed between two sapphires. In ancient Greece and Rome, kings and queens were convince that blue sapphires protected them from envy and harm.
- In the middle ages the term sapphire actually referred to Lapis Lazuli.
- The largest star sapphire is the Star of India and weighs an amazing 536 carats.
- Colored Sapphires, other than Ruby, are known as a Fancy Sapphires.
- Almost all sapphires from around the world are cut and processed in Chanthaburi, Thailand.
- Artificial or incandescent light can make a sapphire darker and inky black-blue.
- Helen of Troy was said to have owned a large star sapphire which was believed to hold the key to her desirability.
- For her engagement to Prince Charles, Princess Diana chose a 12-carat Oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by 14 solitaire round diamonds set in 18K white gold. This was an unusual selection from the Crown jewelers Gerrard of Mayfair. Even more enduring to the British people, was that any member of the public could purchase the £28,500 ring from the Mayfair catalog.
So wear the sapphire to protect you on your travels, warn off evil spirits, connect with heaven, or just wear it because is it a beautiful stone. Choose from all the colors under the rainbow, except red of course… for that is the Ruby.
Until next time when we discuss the birthstones of October…The very popular Tourmaline and the Opalescent Opal.
The Jeweler’s Directory of Gemstones by Judith Crowe