Sapphire, composed of the mineral corundum, is a very durable stone. Second only to diamond on the Mohs scale of hardness, it is an ideal gemstone for jewelry exposed to heavier use such as rings.
Worn by Medieval clergy and even commoners to attract heavenly blessings, sapphires were often given as a gift of love. The ancient Persians believed the earth rests upon a giant sapphire. Its reflection, they said, made the sky blue.
This September birthstone is one of the naturally transparent minerals, which forms in all colors of the rainbow when traces of iron, titanium, chromium or vanadium are present in the crystal.
Lists of birthstones date back centuries. It is believed that the breastplate worn by Aaron in ancient times contained twelve gemstones, one to represent each of the twelve tribes of Israel, and also to represent the twelve months of the year. When worn on the assigned month the gems were thought to have heightened healing powers.
All the colors of corundum, except blue sapphires and red, which are classified as rubies, are called Fancy Sapphires. Fancy sapphires come in shades of pink, purple, orange, yellow, gold, green and range from soft pastels to vibrant hues. Occasionally, sapphires are formed with multiple colors. This formation is called bicolor or tricolor depending on the number of colors. Sapphires can also be striped or formed with an unusual pattern called Chatoyancy or “cats eye” in layman’s terms. The most prized colors of sapphires are a medium to medium dark blue or slightly violet blue.
Because sapphires contain such heavenly healing powers, and are thought to symbolize truth, honesty and faithfulness, they are often given as tokens of esteem or deep affection. Whether used as a pop of color in an engagement ring or to let someone special know you care, sapphires are a classic way to show your deepest sentiments.