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Behind The Birthstone: Sapphire for September

Popular since the Middle Ages, September’s birthstone symbolizes loyalty, nobility, sincerity and integrity. Though the word sapphire typically refers to the rich blue variety of the stone, this vibrant gemstone naturally occurs in multiple hues including yellow, purple, green and pink. In ancient times, these brilliant blue gems were worn when seeking answers from oracles or enlightenment. The name “sapphire” comes from the Latin sapphirus and Greek sappheiros meaning “blue stone,” though those words may have originally referred to lapis lazuli. Some believe it originated from the Sanskrit word sanipriya which meant “dear to Saturn.”

Both Virgos and Libras can find a wide selection of sapphire jewelry to add to their birthday wishlist that will last for ages. To help celebrate this birthstone, we’ve rounded up a few fun facts and some new arrivals to for gifting inspiration

multi colored sapphire and moonstone bracelet
  • Sapphires are among the most durable gemstones on the market. Its 9 out of 10 Mohs ranking makes it a great engagement ring and everyday jewelry choice.
  • This hardness also makes it useful in industrial applications, similar to diamonds. The Apple Watch features lab-created sapphire glass in its screen.
  • Sapphires get their colors from trace elements in the mineral corundum. It is turned to blue sapphire when it contains iron and titanium, and more chromium turns it into a ruby.
  • Varieties of sapphires other than blue are called “fancies.”
  • Pink and purple sapphires are very rare, with padparadschas (pinky-orange) being the rarest. Padparadscha’s name comes from the Sanskrit word for lotus flower.
pink, purple and padparadscha sapphires
  • September’s birthstone can be found in India, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, China, Australia, Brazil, Africa and North America (mainly Montana).
  • Their origin can affect their value as much as color, cut, clarity and carat size.
  • Madagascar currently leads the world in production.
  • In 1902, French chemist Auguste Verneuil developed a process to make synthetic sapphire opening up industrial applications for the stone.
  • Deep blue sapphires have long been associated with royalty (which may have contributed to the naming of the color “royal blue”).
star sapphire ring
  • Some of these gemstones exhibit a phenomenon called asterism, which creates a “star effect” on the face of the stone. This occurs when needle-like inclusions create a six-ray star pattern on the surface of a cabochon-cut stone, often called a “star sapphire.”
  • Famous star sapphires like the 1404.49-carat Star of Adam, the 563.4-carat Star of India and the 182-carat Star of Bombay came from Sri Lankan mines.
  • Others are “color changing” and exhibit different colors depending on the lighting, often changing from blue during the day and showing purple in incandescent lighting.
  • Ancient lore believed that the stone protected its wearers from evil. In the middle ages, Europeans believed they cured eye diseases and preserved chastity.
  • This gem became a symbol of royal love in 1981 when Prince Charles gave Lady Diana a 12-carat blue sapphire engagement ring. Their son, Prince William later gave this ring to Catherine Middleton when he proposed in 2010. 

For more sapphire facts, treatment and care tips visit our gemstone guide here and browse below for necklaces, rings, earrings and bracelets sure to put a smile on any September babies’ face.





Facts sourced from American Gem Society and The Gemological Institute of America