The sapphire birthstone is reportedly one of the most sought-after gemstones for most of human civilisation. In fact, there’s an ancient belief that if you’re born during sapphire’s month of September, you can benefit from the stone’s enigmatic powers of intelligence, health, and truth.
As one of the most romantic and royal stones in the world, the sapphire has earned itself a fascinating reputation. In this article, we’ll be looking at the history surrounding the sapphire and its meaning for those lucky September-born individuals.
Sapphire birthstone meaning
The term sapphire derives from the Greek word sappheiros meaning “blue colour”. It’s one of the four precious gemstones alongside diamond, ruby, and emerald, and despite it typically being associated with the colour blue, it can come in several other colours, not including red.
Across many different cultures and mythologies, the sapphire has taken on many meanings and connotations. In Greek mythology for example, a sapphire was stolen from Zeus by one of the Titans. During the Middle Ages, clergy often wore blue sapphires because they believed the gem symbolised heaven.
In ancient Persia, people believed that earth was supported by an enormous sapphire that mirrored its blue colour onto the sky. Also, in the Bible, the gem was referred to as one of the “twelve stones of fire” that were given to Moses and set into Aaron’s breastplate.
Astrologists perceive the sapphire birthstone as a gem with healing properties. It’s said to promote truth, loyalty, wisdom, and clear thinking, particularly when worn by individuals born in September or under the Virgo star sign. Many also hold the belief that sapphires can cure physical ailments, especially eye infections, headaches, earache, and thyroid issues. Back in ancient Greek and Roman times, members of royalty wore blue sapphires as they thought the stone could protect them from the evil intentions of their enemies.
What exactly are sapphires and where are sapphires mined?
Sapphire is part of the corundum mineral family which also includes rubies. So, the name “sapphire” can describe any corundum gemstone that isn’t “ruby red” as a red corundum would be a ruby. Despite not being quite as hard as diamonds, sapphires are impressively resilient and durable. This makes them perfect for use in fine jewellery, with sapphire engagement rings gaining a lot of popularity in recent years.
Sapphires are often mined on the Asian, Australian, African, and South American continents. However, the ones that come from Thailand or Ceylon are typically thought of as the finest due to their vivid hues and amazing clarity. A large amount of earth needs to be moved to find only a couple of sapphires. Rough sapphires normally look dark and dull until they are cut and polished into the stunning gems.
What colours can sapphires come in?
Naturally, the most well-known sapphires are blue, but the stone can actually come in a rainbow of colours. Some coloured sapphire examples include:
- Pink sapphire- it can be any shade of pink apart from “ruby red”
- Padparadscha- this is a rare orange gem named after a lotus blossom
- Yellow sapphire- the presence of iron makes this stone yellow
- Star sapphire- there is a star-shaped marking inside the stone
- Green sapphire- there is iron pigmentation, similar to the yellow gems
Sapphires in engagement rings
After the diamond, sapphire is the most popular choice of gem for an engagement ring. Their popularity in ancient Greece and Rome came from their symbolic meaning of loyalty and truth. Furthermore, in 18th century France, a well-known writer called Madame de Genlis wrote a story called Le Saphir Merveilleux (The Marvellous Sapphire). It became so beloved by the people that it quickly became highly fashionable amongst wealthy European couples to wear sapphires.
The most famous sapphire engagement ring in the modern day is the Duchess of Cambridge’s blue sapphire ring. The stunning piece of jewellery originally belonged to Lady Diana and was given to the Duchess when Prince William proposed to her in Africa.
This inspired women across the world to add a splash of sapphire to their jewellery collection. In fact, ever since this royal proposal, there has been a noticeable increase in sapphire gemstone purchases and jewellery designs, especially in bespoke rings.
Sapphires as gifts
As mentioned above, sapphires are highly durable, valuable, and stunningly beautiful. Therefore, they are a great option for long-lasting gift jewellery for any kinds of occasion, big or small. Traditionally, the sapphire wedding anniversary is after 45 years, so the gem is often gifted for that very special occasion. Obviously, there is also September birthdays (or anyone born under the star sign of Virgo), for which a sapphire would make the ultimate meaningful birthday present.
Looking for a beautiful piece of sapphire jewellery? Barbara Tipple is an award-winning, experienced and professional jeweller who creates outstanding bespoke jewellery UK. If you want sapphire jewellery that’s unlike anything else, Barbara can design it for you, her talent for bespoke jewellery creation is second to none and she is well-known and admired in the industry for her work.
Get in touch with us today to discuss your design ideas and Barbara will help make your perfect jewellery dream a reality.