Next Appraisal Clinic: February 9th
Happy Birthday September babies! September’s birthstone is traditionally blue sapphire but did you know that Sapphires come in a wide range of fancy colours? From violet, pink, orange, yellow, green, purple and colourless, the options are truly endless! So don’t be blue as summer comes to an end, be dazzled by an array of colourful sapphires! Which colour of sapphire is your favourite?
How Sapphires are Made
When most people think of sapphires, we think of a rich blue color, but sapphires come in almost every color of the rainbow—including pink, peach, orange, yellow, green, teal, and purple. Red sapphires are better known as rubies (both are varieties of the mineral corundum). Sapphires get their colours from trace elements in the mineral corundum. Classic blue sapphires contain high iron and titanium, and trace elements of chromium can turn corundum pink, while more chromium turns it into a ruby. The rarest type of sapphire is a pinkish orange variety called padparadscha, a name that comes from the Sinhalese word for lotus flower. Traditionally from Sri Lanka, these gemstones are found in Sri Lankan rivers.
Varieties of Sapphires are found in many places throughout the world such as: Australia, Tanzania, Thailand, Cambodia, Malawi, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, the United States, and more.
The History of Sapphire
The word Sapphire is derived from the Latin and Greek words for “blue”: sapphirus and sappheiros, which may have originally referred to another type of blue stone called Lapis Lazuli. Throughout history various cultures have attributed mystical powers to sapphires, including heavenly powers, truth, innocence, peace, and good health. It was believed that sapphires protected their wearers from evil. Because of the blue color, which they associated with the heavens, Europeans in the Middle Ages believed that sapphires cured eye diseases and preserved chastity, along with providing other heavenly blessings.
Deep blue sapphires have long been associated with royalty, which likely contributed to the naming of the colour “Royal Blue”. Royal blue sapphires were often worn by medieval kings, some of whom believed that the gemstones would protect them from their enemies. French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte gave to his beloved wife Josephine a two stone sapphire and diamond engagement ring in 1796. The ring, which sold at auction for close to a million dollars in 2013, features a pear-shaped sapphire next to a pear-shaped diamond facing opposite directions, on a simple gold band.
The most famous royal sapphire today is the engagement ring given by England’s Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, and now worn by Princess Catherine. It features a 12 carat oval blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds.
The Meanings Sapphires
To the ancient and medieval world, Sapphire of heavenly blue signified the height of celestial hope and faith, and was believed to bring protection, good fortune and spiritual insight. It was a symbol of power and strength, but also of kindness and wise judgment.
In Hebrew lore, King Solomon and Abraham both wore talismans of Sapphire, and the Law given to Moses on the Mount was said to be engraved on tablets of Sapphire. The Greeks wore it for wisdom at Delphi when seeking answers from the Oracle at Apollo’s Shrine. Buddhists believed it brought devotion and spiritual enlightenment. The Hindus considered Sapphire as one of the “great gems” and used it as offerings in the temples for worship and to align astrological influences. In Christianity, sapphire was used in ecclesiastical rings, and was cherished by kings and nobility for its powers of protection and insight.
As a talisman, Sapphire was thought to preserve chastity, discover fraud and treachery, protect its wearer from poison, plague, fever and skin diseases, and had great power in resisting black magic and ill-wishing. It healed ailments of the eyes, increased concentration, and would lose luster if worn by an intemperate or impious person.
Today Sapphire is still a Stone of Wisdom, a royal stone of learning, mental acuity and psychic activation, a seeker after spiritual truth. Its pure Blue Ray brings order and healing to the mind, lending strength and focus, and an ability to see beneath surface appearances to underlying truths and to utilize that knowledge. It stimulates the Throat and Third Eye Chakras, allowing one to access deeper levels of consciousness in order to gain a fuller understanding of self.
Fun Sapphire Facts!
Sapphires are one of the most durable naturally occurring elements in the world. Gemstones are rated on their ability to withstand scratching based on a system called the Mohs Scale of Hardness, and sapphires score 9 out of 10. The only natural item that can scratch a sapphire is a diamond, which has a 10 on the Mohs Scale. The durability of sapphires makes them an excellent choice for engagement rings and other everyday jewellery. Because of its hardness, sapphire also has industrial uses; the Apple Watch Series 3 features lab-created sapphire crystal in its screen to make it more scratch resistant, as do several Swiss watch companies.
Many people are surprised to find that sapphires can exhibit a phenomenon called the “star effect,” or asterism. This occurs when inclusions create a star pattern of rays on the surface of a dome-like cabochon-cut sapphire, often called a “star sapphire.”