Sapphire: September's Birthstone of Many Colors

Modified: August 2017
by Jerry Sisk, GG; Co-Founder, Jewelry Television®

What comes to mind when you think of sapphire? Is it the rich, blue velvet color of September's birthstone or its connection to royalty and romance?

Sapphire holds a unique position in the world of gemstones and is considered one of the "Big Four", along with diamond, emerald and ruby . This select group of gems are considered "precious". Sapphire has been prized by many cultures spanning thousands of years. Cherished by royalty and clergy alike, this beloved gemstone has earned a place of honor in folklore, history and modern events. While commonly represented in the crown jewels of many powerful nations, both past and present, sapphire has also been incorporated into ceremonial attire and jewelry. It has been found in ornaments, objects of art and even various types of weapons.

In addition, sapphire has been associated with many Eastern cultures and beliefs. It is considered by many to have mystical powers and is worn close to the body. Sapphire is also well known to astrology and is considered a talismanic gemstone. It is associated with the sign of Taurus on the Zodiac, although some sources may also attribute it to other signs.

Sapphire is very versatile and can be found in every type of jewelry due to its durability and the spectrum of colors available. Sapphire is actually one of the most colorful gemstones on Earth and natural "fancy" sapphires occur in yellow, orange, purple and green.

Do you enjoy warm colors? Then you should consider some of the rich yellow to orange sapphires. They can liven up any piece of jewelry and give it a special feel and presence. If you enjoy cooler colors, you can always stick with the traditional blue hues that have been so highly prized throughout the years or you can consider green or violet sapphire if you like something out of the ordinary. White or colorless sapphire is an elegant, affordable alternative to diamond. It is an excellent natural simulant for the April birthstone and provides a beautiful, yet durable substitute.

Sapphire can be found in nearly every color except red, which makes it a ruby. In fact, both sapphires and rubies are varieties of the same mineral, corundum.

Corundum, in its purest form, is colorless and made up of aluminum and oxygen (Al2O3). In nature however, most corundum has some color due to small amounts of impurities or trace elements which replace some of the aluminum. For example, if titanium and iron are present, a sapphire's color will be the traditional blue. However, if trace amounts of chromium are present and replace some of the aluminum, a natural pink sapphire will occur. If too much chromium is present, you will end up with ruby, although there is no clear-cut line separating the two.

Luckily, nature is chaotic and creates a wide array of rich, exciting colors for you to choose from. Whatever your preference, sapphires have a great deal to offer!


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