September has arrived, so it's time to dive into the dazzling world of sapphires, the birthstone of this month.
As a quick aside, there are other fantastic birthstones for September, each with its own unique charm. These include moonstone, agate, lapis lazuli and the timeless diamond. September truly has something for everyone.
Sapphires: Scattered Across the Globe
Sapphires (and rubies) were created many millions of years ago through dramatic events in our earth's history - in geological terms they are magmatic or metamorphic, formed when continents collided creating mountains, or carried to the surface during volcanic eruptions. Sapphires can be found some in of the most beautiful corners of the Earth, from the sun-kissed mines of Australia to the exotic depths of Thailand, Madagascar, the USA, and the enchanting island of Sri Lanka. Some are mined, and they can also be found in river beds, due to being a dense and heavy rock not easily washed away.
A Gem Steeped in History and Magic
Sapphires aren't just pretty rocks; they've played a significant role throughout history, entwined with beliefs and traditions. They've been said to bring strength, wisdom, kindness, and hope. These gems have been used in alchemy, magic, and healing practices, as well as in many religious ceremonies.
In the medieval times, sapphires were even used as a test for fidelity, believed to change colour if worn by the unfaithful.
Sapphires in Culture and Belief
Across cultures, sapphires have held special significance. The ancient Persians envisioned the Earth balanced on a giant sapphire, reflecting the heavens' colours. Buddhists believed sapphires had a calming effect, aiding in devotion to prayer and meditation. And in Islam, the seventh heaven is adorned with the radiant light of rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.
Star Sapphires: A Glimpse of Heaven
Ever heard of star sapphires? These rare beauties occur when needle-like inclusions align with the stone's hexagonal structure, creating a six-rayed star when viewed in the right light. They're typically cut as cabochons, showcasing their unique celestial dance.
Crafting with Sentiment
This stunning stacking ring was crafted from my customer Anna's cherished but broken jewellery. I incorporated her sentimental brown star sapphire and diamonds and reused gold to surround the stones, to bring brightness and colour, she chose a responsibly sourced cornflower blue sapphire.
It's a testament to the timeless beauty of sapphires and their ability to hold sentimental value.
Colours of the Rainbow (Almost)
Although the word sapphire is derived from the Latin "saphirus" and the Greek word "sapheiros" which both mean blue, sapphires actually come in a splendid array of colours from rich teal, to yellow and green through to pinks — all colours except red. The magic ingredient for their colour is found in trace elements in the mineral corundum. Iron and titanium create those captivating blues, while chromium gives rise to delicate pinks. Interestingly, a higher level of chromium results in the fiery red stone we know as a ruby.
Durability and Elegance Combined
Sapphires score a solid 9 on the Mohs Hardness scale, making them an excellent choice for everyday wear. These gems are as durable as they are beautiful, making them perfect for any piece of jewellery including rings and contemporary engagement rings.
Unveiling the 4 Cs
When it comes to pricing sapphires, it's all about the 4 Cs, just like with diamonds. Cut, colour, clarity, and carat weight all come into play. And if you're in search of something truly extraordinary, keep an eye out for the captivating peach Padparadscha sapphire, named after the lotus flower. It's one of the rarest gemstones on Earth and can only be found in Sri Lanka.
However, some of the 'imperfect' gems are just as stunningly beautiful and interesting as the ones with the high price tag. Opaque and rose-cut gems with their intricate and unique patterns make for wonderful contemporary jewellery.
Social Impact of Sapphires
This aspect of the jewellery trade remains very complex. Now, many jewellers, including myself are committed to try to choose stones that are conflict free, for which workers receive fair pay for their work in good conditions. Although there is currently no watertight way of tracing gemstones, I work with reputable suppliers who, in turn, work closely with miners, gem cutters and transporters to be as sure as possible this is the case and it is something we continue to strive for.
So there you have it – a glimpse into the world of sapphires, the captivating gem of September. Whether you're celebrating a birthday this month or simply looking to add some sparkle to your life, sapphires are the perfect choice. Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your own special sapphire jewellery and check out the range for sapphire pieces here.
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- Tags: Gemstone Guide