The meaning behind September's birthstone: Sapphire


September’s birthstone is sapphire

which comes from the Greek word sappheiros – cherished for thousands of years the name usually refers to the blue variety of corundum (ruby is the red variety). Blue sapphire is one of the most popular colored stones but Jemima loves the fact that this birthstone comes in a rainbow of other colors.

Long associated with royalty and romance, sapphires are also said to symbolize fidelity, sincerity, truth, faithfulness, nobility and the soul. For centuries, sapphire have adorned royalty and the robes of the clergy. The elite of ancient Greece and Rome believed that blue sapphires protected their owners from harm and envy. Clerics of the Middle Ages wore sapphires because they symbolized Heaven. Ancient Persians believed the earth actually rested on a giant sapphire, which made the sky blue.

In some cultures it was even reputed to have healing powers as well. Medieval Europeans believed that sapphire cured plague boils and diseases of the eye and was also thought to be an antidote to poison.


Sapphires are traditionally found…

in Kashmir, Myanmar and Sri Lanka. Significant quantities have also been found in Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar and Montana in the United States and even in other countries in Asia and Africa.

Sapphires were discovered in Kashmir around 1881 when a landslide high in the Himalayas exposed a large pocket of velvety “cornflower” blue crystals. These crystals established Kashmir sapphire’s reputation as one of the world’s most coveted gems. Production has been sporadic since then, but auction houses occasionally sell fine pieces of Kashmir sapphire jewelry.

”Burmese” sapphire, as it is still called by many, can possess a rich, intense blue hue, which has made it particularly prized.


Famous sapphires…

include the Rockefeller Sapphire, a 62.02 carat (ct) rectangular step cut stone that was unearthed in Myanmar (Burma). Acquired in 1934 by financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874–1960) the gem has been recut and remounted over the years; set as a brooch and later as a ring featuring two cut-cornered triangular diamond side stones.

Perhaps the best-known sapphire in recent years is the sapphire engagement ring first worn by Princess Diana and then given by her son to Kate Middleton, now Duchess of Cambridge, this 12 ct blue gem is surrounded by diamonds mounted in white gold.


Check back next month for the meaning behind October’s birthstone: Tourmaline

BirthstonesJemima Hargreaves