September birthstone: Everything you need to know about sapphire
Sep 27, 2022
What is the September birthstone?
The September birthstone is sapphire, a rare and valuable gemstone that has been prized since ancient times. Sapphire is well known for its unique blue color and it is the stone of wisdom, symbolizing love and purity.
A long history of the sapphire September birthstone
The word sapphire comes from the Greek sappheiros, which refers to the rich blue color that most people associate with sapphire. It has been worn as a talisman against illness and it is said to be able to safeguard travelers.
The kings of ancient Persia believed that the sky’s color was but a reflection of the blue sapphire. Medieval clergymen wore sapphire stones because their blue color was a symbol of heaven. And the folk believed that the gemstone could suppress wicked thoughts.
Sapphire properties: Hard, can be any color but red, inevitable inclusions
Sapphire is a very hard gemstone
Sapphire is made of corundum, which is the hardest natural substance after diamonds, and the extremely rare gem: moissanite. It has a value of 9 on the Mohs hardness scale.
Sapphire is transparent to translucent, with a vitreous and or glassy luster, and has a strong pleochroism. This means that the stone presents different colors when seen at different angles. It makes cutting and polishing a sapphire very challenging.
The chemical formula for sapphire is Al2O2, or aluminum oxide, minus any impurities. It has a refractive index of 1.76 to 1.77 and is 3.9 to 4.1 times denser than water.
Since almost all sapphires have inclusions, they are not judged on their clarity as strictly as a diamond would be. Like any other colored gems, they are judged mostly on their color.
Rare and unique star sapphire stones
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Some rare sapphires have a mineral called rutile within them that produces what looks like a six-pointed star. These valuable gems are called star sapphires.
September birthstone color
What color is the September birthstone? Though most people think sapphires are blue, a sapphire can be any color but red, including white, blue, yellow, pink, black, and so on.
Corundum itself is colorless and is called white sapphire. Sometimes, white sapphire substitutes for a diamond. When corundum is red, it’s called a ruby.
The color of blue sapphires is due to the inclusion of iron and titanium. The yellow sapphire gets its color from iron, while the black sapphire, like the blue stone, gets its color from titanium and iron. Black sapphires are not considered high quality.
Pink sapphires get their color from chromium. The more chromium in the gem, the deeper the shade of pink. Eventually, red color is achieved, and the stone becomes a ruby.
Sapphires that aren’t blue are called fancy sapphires. They can also have more than one color. In that case, they’re called particolored sapphires.
Some sapphires are called “color-changing sapphires,” and they reveal different shades of blue depending on whether the gem is under artificial or natural light. The Alexandrite sapphire is blue in daylight but turns red or violet when it is in artificial light.
In order to bring out the best color of a sapphire, they usually have a brilliant cut on the top of the gemstone and a step cut on the bottom.
September birthstone meaning: A stone of wisdom, symbolizing love and purity
Like many other gemstones, sapphire comes with its own meanings. It’s the September birthstone and the gift for the 45th wedding anniversary. Generally speaking, the sapphire is a stone of wisdom.
The blue sapphire symbolizes love and purity. One of the most famous sapphire rings is the Princess Diana ring, which features a 12-carat oval sapphire surrounded by 14 round diamonds set in 18-karat white gold.
It was given to Lady Diana Spencer by Prince Charles, and then passed down to their daughter-in-law the Duchess of Cambridge. That's why it is also Kate Middleton's engagement ring.
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September birthstone price: Rare and expensive
The value of a sapphire depends on its weight, its clarity, and its color. The most expensive sapphires are usually clear, deep blue, and can cost over 10000 dollars per carat, while the cheapest cost only $30 per carat.
For example, a buyer can buy earrings with large sapphires that weigh a total of 3 carats for about $400 but spend over $2000 on another pair of sapphire earrings whose sapphires weigh a total of 1.20 carats but are of higher quality.
Fancy sapphires whose colors are less intense cost considerably less than blue sapphires.
How it's been treated also affects the price of the sapphire. A sapphire gem that’s been treated chemically is not as valuable as one that’s been heated. If you are not sure how the gemstone is treated, you should order a lab report.
Sapphires can be natural or synthetic
Nowadays, a lot of natural sapphires are heat-treated to enhance color and remove impurities. This is called the diffusion process and is generally accepted by the market.
Apart from treated sapphire stones, synthetic ones are made through a process that uses aluminum, titanium, and other necessary materials.
Where is sapphire found? Sri Lanka, Australia, Myanmar
The main mining countries of sapphire include Sri Lanka, Australia, Myanmar, the United States, Thailand, Vietnam Nigeria, Pakistan, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, China, India, and the Czech Republic.
Famous pieces of September birthstone jewelry
Besides the Princess Diana engagement ring, another three pieces of famous sapphire jewelry are:
The Stuart Sapphire
This is another royal gem of Great Britain. It’s set in the Imperial State Crown and can be seen with the rest of the crown regalia at the Towner of London.
Though its provenance is murky, historians believe it was first owned by Charles II, then James the IV, and then George III.
The Bismarck sapphire necklace
This stunning necklace not only features a huge 98.56-carat sapphire, but also a lot of diamonds set on a platinum chain.
It was made in 1935 and named after Countess Mona von Bismarck, who gave it to the Smithsonian Institution in 1967. The sapphire is from Burma and was bought by the countess in 1926 while she was on her honeymoon in Sri Lanka.
The Star of Bombay
This star sapphire was given to Mary Pickford, the star of silent films, by her husband Douglas Fairbanks. When she died in 1979, she gave it to the Smithsonian Institution.
The gem weighs 182 carats and looks purple in some angles due to the presence of vanadium. The Bombay Sapphire gin is named after it.
September birthstone care and cleaning
Caring for sapphire jewelry is easy. Store the jewels in velvet bags so they won't be scratched by other gems or metals.
When it comes to cleaning, use warm water and a bit of dishwashing liquid. Rub the gem with a soft toothbrush, rinse with clear water, and then dry the jewelry with a soft and lint-free cloth.