Friday, August 28, 2009

September Birthstone - Sapphire

It's almost time for a new month, and that means that it's time to discuss the birthstone for September - the Sapphire. Are you surprised that the picture doesn't show only blue stones?

The reason for this is because the sapphire is a member of the corundum family of minerals, like the ruby. By definition, all colors of corundum other than red are classified as sapphire. However, any colors of sapphire other than blue are considered "fancy sapphires." Cornflower blue is the most popular color for sapphires.

Photo of the sapphires courtesy of ebay seller BangkokGemMart

The sapphire is considered the modern and traditional birthstone for the month of September. It is also given as gifts for the 5th, 23rd, and 45th wedding anniversary.

The word sapphire comes from the Greek word "sappheiros" which means precious stone. It is highly prized as gemstones. Sapphires have long been worn by priests, who associate the stone with purity, and also kings who thought that they symbolized wisdom. They have been used in Vintage and Antique jewelry since early times.

The world's largest sapphire is the Millennium Sapphire, a huge sapphire discovered in 1995 in Madagascar. It is designated a national treasure and is valued between US$90 and US$500 million. This massive gem broke the previous record and is an astounding 61,500 carats. It has been exhibited in museums world wide since its discovery.

Sapphires have a hardness of 9 on the Moh's scale of hardness. which makes it a very hard stone, close to that of a diamond. It is mined in many areas of the world particularly Australia, Ceylon and Thailand. East Africa and Montana in the US are secondary sources of the gem.

After mining, sapphires are heat-treated to remove cloudiness which is caused by very fine crystal inclusions, and to improve the color. This treatment is permanent.

For those who believe in metaphysics, the sapphire is thought to enable the wearer with clairvoyance and insight. The healing properties associated with the gem are that it is effective for health problems relating to hearing problems, cancer and burns. It also is supposed to lower fevers and aid in inflammation.

To care for sapphires is relatively easy. They are very hard stones, but can still be subject to chips or splits, so some care must be taken when wearing to avoid hard knocks. They should be cleaned regularly to keep their bright color. They can be cleaned with a soft cloth and gentle detergent. They may also be soaked if needed in warm water and detergent. Always dry carefully before storing. They are safe to use in ultrasonic cleaners if there are no other stones than diamonds in the setting.

This lovely Georgian poem talks about the qualities of Sapphires:

A maiden born when autumn leaves
Are rustling in September's breeze,
A Sapphire on her brow should bind;
To bring her joy and peace of mind.

2 comments:

  1. Sapphire causes many benefits to the wearer both for the health and the mind. This particular gemstone has been a favourite of the royalty and the high priests from the time immemorial. They represent fidelity and sincerity.
    Thanks for sharing nice information related to it.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Sapphire is amazing! Lovely post!

    Ron from interval training

    ReplyDelete

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