Surprising facts about the Sapphire: The September Birthstone

This regal and mysterious stone can exist in many hues, has the ability to change colour and is thought to bring its wearer inner peace.  

September is the month of spring, sunshine and the stunning sapphire birthstone. If the word sapphire immediately brings to mind a deep velvet blue stone then you are not alone. The word originates from the Latin word “saphirus” and the Greek word “sapheiros”, meaning blue. Sapphires are commonly associated with blue but in fact come in array of colours, with the exception of red.  They originate from the corundum family but red corundum stones are labelled rubies, sister stones to the regal sapphire. Coloured or fancy sapphires are then referred to as pink sapphires, purple sapphires, etc. where blue sapphires are simply called sapphires. These magnificent gems are valued just under diamonds due to their hardness with a 9 rating on the Mohs Scale compared to diamonds with a 10 rating. This makes them an exquisite, durable and valuable addition to any jewellery collection.   

The Nobility Stone

The sapphire was adorned by royalty for centuries and has since been associated with nobility and faithfulness. The most recent and iconic example of this is Princess Diana who wore a 12-carat sapphire engagement ring.  In ancient times, the sapphire was thought to protect its wearer from harm and as a remedy for poisoning. The sapphire was most commonly worn by clergy as a symbol of heaven, a ward against sorcery and protection of innocence. Today, it is thought to provide protection from illness and create inner peace, joy and prosperity.  

The Illustrious White Sapphire

The corundum in its purest form is colourless but this is exceptionally rare. This is called a white sapphire and the less colour it has, the greater its value. Traces of colour such as yellow, grey and blue reduce the value of the stone. These gorgeous colourless gems are often used as accent stones. 

True Colours

Sapphires come in every colour from green to yellow. Traces of elements give sapphires their radiant colour, with iron and titanium traces creating blue and chromium creating red. The more iron, the darker the blue hue. The greater the intensity of the colour, the greater the resulting value of the stone. The most valued blue sapphires are violet and velvet blue. Highly valued sapphires have great colour intensity, saturation and brightness. 

Parti On

Sapphires can have a mix of colours in a single stone. These sapphires are known as “parti-coloured”. The rarest and most expensive of these sapphires have an orangey-pink colour and are known as “Padparadscha”, meaning lotus flower. This coloured sapphire is very expensive and rare due to its magnificent appearance where the colours mix to create a unique sunset appearance. 

Padparadscha Stone

Colour Changing

Some rare sapphires have a chameleon effect where they change colour based on lighting. The colour change is rated as weak, moderate and strong with the greater the change in colour, the greater the value. This can occur in all sapphire coloured stones but is most common in blue stones that shift from a blue colour in daylight to a violet colour in incandescent light. 

A Star is Born

Inclusions in stones naturally reduce their value but some inclusions in sapphires actually increase their value as they create a velvety look and create added light. An example of this is the star effect which is a form of asterism in a stone where a star pattern is visible due to inclusions. 

Star Effect

If the sapphire is the star you want in your next piece of jewellery, then contact us and let us help you find the perfect stone.