Birthstone for September
The sapphire, September’s birthstone, is related to the ruby, July’s birthstone. Both are varieties of corundum, a crystalline form of aluminum oxide. Ruby is the name given to red corundum. All other gem-quality varieties of corundum are referred to as sapphires. All corundum, including sapphire, has a Mohs hardness of 9. This places sapphire second only to diamond in terms of hardness.
Sapphires are typically blue stones. They vary in color from extremely light blue to deep indigo, with the precise shade determined by the amount of titanium and iron present in the crystal structure. The medium-deep cornflower blue is the most valuable hue of blue. Fancy sapphires are sapphires that come in a variety of natural hues and tints such as colorless, gray, yellow, light pink, orange, green, violet, and brown. The diverse gemstone hues are caused by different types of impurities inside the crystal. Yellow sapphires, for example, obtain their color from ferric iron, while colorless gems have no impurities.
Australia, particularly New South Wales and Queensland, is the world’s largest supplier of sapphires. Australian sapphires are blue stones with a dark and inky look that are found in alluvial deposits of worn basalt. Kashmir, India, was formerly a well-known supplier of cornflower-blue stones. The Yogo Gulch Mine in Montana is a key source in the United States. It mostly produces tiny stones for industrial usage.
The legend of Sapphire
The name sapphire derives from ancient languages: the Latin sapphirus (meaning blue), the Greek word sappheiros for the Arabian Sea island of Sapphirine, where sapphires were discovered in ancient Greece, and the Arabic safir. Sapphire was known as the “Celestial Stone” by the ancient Persians. It was Apollo’s diamond, the Greek God of Prophecy. Worshippers who came to his shrine at Delphi to seek his assistance donned sapphires. Sapphires were employed by the Etruscans as early as the 7th century B.C.
Apart from being the September birthstone, sapphire was thought to symbolize the purity of the soul. Priests wore it before and throughout the Middle Ages to guard themselves against immoral ideas and fleshly temptations. These stones were prized by European medieval rulers for use in rings and brooches since they were thought to protect them from injury and envy. Warriors gave sapphire necklaces to their young brides in order to keep them loyal. It was widely believed that if the stone was worn by an adulterer or adulteress, or by an unfit person, the hue would darken.
Sapphires were previously thought to be snake repellent. People thought that deadly reptiles and spiders would die if they were put in a jar containing the stone. Sapphire, according to the French of the 13th century, converted folly into knowledge and anger into a good temper.
One of the most renowned sapphires is found on Queen Victoria’s Imperial State Crown, which she wore in 1838. It is kept in the British Crown Jewels, which are kept at the Tower of London. This diamond was previously owned by Edward the Confessor, who wore it on a ring at his coronation in 1042, and is hence known as St. Edward’s Sapphire.