Gemstone of the Month: September
September’s gemstone can only be Sapphire. There are other stones associated with the month – Chrysolite and Lapiz – but to the true connoisseur, there really can be only one go-to gemstone…
Now for the fun facts!
Sapphire: Stone of wisdom, prophecy and royalty; worn by rulers, shamans and prelates alike
The stone of wisdom, prophecy, and royalty, to the believer Sapphire, can bring protection, spiritual insight and good fortune. Sapphires have been treasured and used for thousands of years. Blue sapphire is also a stone of love and commitment, making it a perfect gemstone for an engagement ring.
There are many theories as to how Sapphire got its name. Historians claim that it came from the French word Saphir, or the Latin word sapphires, or the Greek word sapphires all of which mean blue stone. Sapphire is a precious gemstone, a blue variety of the mineral corundum. While typically blue, natural ‘fancy’ sapphires also occur in yellow, purple, orange, and green colours; while ‘parti sapphires’ show two or more colours. The only colour in which sapphire does not occur is red – as red coloured corundum is always called ruby. Pink-coloured corundum may be either classified as ruby or sapphire depending on its origin. A pinkish orange variety of sapphire is called padparadscha, a name derived from the Sanskrit "Padma ranga" (the Padma meaning lotus; ranga meaning colour), a colour akin to the lotus flower. Natural padparadscha sapphires often draw higher prices than many of even the finest blue sapphires.
Significant sapphire deposits are found in Eastern Australia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Madagascar, East Africa, and in North America in a few locations, mostly in Montana. Sapphire and rubies are often found in the same geological setting. Historically, the best Sapphire is found in Kashmir, Sri Lanka and Burma (although the latter is more famed for the quality of its ruby).
Sapphires in colours other than blue are called "fancy" or "parti coloured" sapphires. Fancy sapphires are often found in yellow, orange, green, brown, purple and violet hues. Particoloured sapphires are those stones which exhibit two or more colours within a single stone. Australia is the largest source of particoloured sapphires; they are not commonly used in mainstream jewellery and remain relatively unknown. Another rare variety of natural sapphire, known as colour-change sapphire, exhibits different colours in a different light. Colour change sapphires are blue in outdoor light and purple under incandescent indoor light, or green to grey-green in daylight and pink to reddish-violet in incandescent light. These parti-coloured sapphires cannot be created synthetically and only occur naturally.
Colourless sapphires have historically been used as diamond substitutes in jewellery.
A star sapphire is a type of sapphire that exhibits a star-like phenomenon known as asterism; red stones are known as "star rubies". Star sapphires contain intersecting needle-like inclusions following the underlying crystal structure that causes the appearance of a six-rayed "star" shaped pattern when viewed with a single overhead light source. The inclusion is often the mineral rutile, a mineral composed primarily of titanium dioxide. The value of a star sapphire depends not only on the weight of the stone, but also the body colour, visibility, and intensity of the asterism.
Commonly, natural sapphires are cut and polished into gemstones and worn in jewellery. King Solomon and Abraham both wore talismans of Sapphire, and some say that the laws given to Moses were engraved on tablets of Sapphire. This stone is mentioned in Revelation as one of the 12 foundation stones John saw in New Jerusalem. Worn by many in history from all types of religions Sapphire is said to bring good fortune and help keep the wearer on their spiritual paths.
Some famous sapphires include:
The Star of Adam - the largest blue star sapphire which weighs 1404.49 carats. The gem was mined in the city of Ratnapura, southern Sri Lanka. This gemstone is said to have been valued at a mere $300 million!
The Black Star of Queensland - the second-largest gem-quality star sapphire in the world, weighs 733 carats.
The Star of India - mined in Sri Lanka and weighing 563.4 carats, thought to be the third-largest star sapphire, and currently on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.
The 182-carat Star of Bombay - mined in Sri Lanka and located in the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., is another example of a large blue star sapphire.
The 423-carat Logan sapphire in the National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C., is one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires in existence.
Sapphire is the birthstone for Virgoans in September and the gem of the 45th wedding anniversary. A sapphire jubilee occurs after 65 years.
Keep an eye out for Kristaval’s Sapphire pieces as you scroll through our pages…