September Birthstone – Sapphire
What is the birthstone for September
The September birthstone is sapphire – a gem that’s been cherished for thousands of years. Although the term sapphire usually refers to the blue variety of corundum (ruby is the red variety), this birthstone comes in a rainbow of other colors. Sapphires have been long associated with royalty and romance and are also said to symbolize fidelity and the soul. “Sapphire” comes from the Greek word sappheiros and blue sapphire is one of the most popular colored stones. Read on to learn more about the September birthstone, specifically its history and where it can be found.
Sapphires make stunning gifts for anyone born in September or celebrating a 5th or 45th wedding anniversary.
You can’t go wrong with this colorful gemstone, whether you’re seeking classical blue or another shade of the sapphire rainbow. Learn more about sapphire gemstones by exploring below.
Sapphire – September Birthstone
Although sapphire typically refers to the rich, blue gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, this royal gemstone occurs in a rainbow of hues. Sapphires come in every color except red, which instead earn the classification of rubies.
Trace elements like iron, titanium, chromium, copper, and magnesium give naturally colorless corundum a tint of blue, yellow, purple, orange, or green, respectively. Sapphires in any color but blue are called “fancies.”
Pink sapphires toe a fine line between ruby and sapphire. In the U.S., these gemstones must meet a minimum color saturation to be considered rubies. Pinkish-orange sapphires called padparadscha (from the Sri Lankan word for “lotus flower”) can draw higher prices than some blue sapphires.
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.”
Sapphire gems are 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.
The remarkable hardness of sapphires, which measure 9 on the Mohs scale, is second only to diamond. They aren’t just valuable in jewelry, but also in industrial applications, including scientific instruments, high-durability windows, watches, and electronics.
Sapphire Meaning and History
September’s birthstone, the sapphire, has been popular since the Middle Ages. The celestial blue color of this gemstone symbolized heaven and attracted divine favor and wise judgment.
Greeks wore sapphire for guidance when seeking answers from the oracle. Buddhists believed that it brought spiritual enlightenment, and Hindus used it during worship. Early Christian kings cherished sapphire’s powers of protection by using it in ecclesiastical rings.
Ancient Hebrews believed that the Ten Commandments were engraved on tablets of sapphire, though historians now believe the blue gemstone referenced in the Bible may have been lapis lazuli.
Classical violet-blue sapphires traditionally came from the Kashmir region of India between the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The world record price-per-carat for sapphire was set by a gemstone from Kashmir, which sold at auction for $242,000 per carat (more than $6.74 million total) in October 2015.
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.
Australia was a significant source of sapphires until deposits were discovered in Madagascar during the 1990s. Madagascar now leads the world in sapphire gemstone production.
In 1902, French chemist Auguste Verneuil developed a process to make synthetic sapphire. The abundance of synthetic sapphire unlocked industrial applications spanning integrated circuits, satellite communication systems, high-durability windows, and scientific instruments.
Sapphire became a symbol of royal love in 1981 when Britain’s Prince Charles gave Lady Diana a 12-carat blue sapphire engagement ring. Prince William later gave this ring to Kate Middleton when he proposed in 2010.
Today, top-quality blue sapphire remains one of Mother Nature’s rarest gemstones.
How to Buy Sapphire
Sapphires make stunning jewelry gifts for anyone born in September or celebrating a 5th or 45th wedding anniversary. Whatever your reason for buying sapphire, you can’t go wrong with this brilliant gemstone, whether you’re seeking classical blue or another shade of the sapphire rainbow.
The quality factors of sapphires are not as clearly defined as other gemstones like diamonds, but generally, the 4Cs still apply. Like diamonds, sapphires are assessed by color, clarity, cut, and carat size, in addition to country of origin.
Color is the key indicator of a sapphire’s price. The highest valued sapphires are vivid blue, sometimes with a violet hue. Secondary hues of green or gray detract from sapphire’s value.
Sapphire gemstones come in almost any color except red, which is classified as ruby. Pinkish-orange varieties are known as padparadscha, and these typically have higher per-carat values than other colors of fancy sapphire.
Some sapphire stones even exhibit color change, shifting from blue in daylight or fluorescent light to reddish-purple under incandescent light, much like the color-changing alexandrite gemstone.
Blue sapphires typically have better clarity than rubies, though they often have long, thin rutile inclusions called “silk.” Inclusions generally make gemstones less valuable, but they can increase the value of sapphires that exhibit asterism—or stars—the four- or six-rayed star pattern of light produced by the fibrous inclusions, elongated needles, or growth tubes in a gemstone. This singular, celestial-like phenomenon is best seen in a gemstone cut en cabochon.
Blue sapphire gems can range in size from a few points to hundreds of carats. Most commercial-quality blue sapphires weigh less than five carats. Large blue sapphires, while rare, are more readily available than large rubies.
The 423-carat Logan Sapphire in the National Museum of Natural History is one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires ever found. The Star of Adam is the largest blue star sapphire, weighing 1404.49 carats.
Sapphires are often treated with heat to improve color and clarity. Untreated natural gemstones are somewhat rare and incredibly valuable.
Discover The Birthstones for Each Month
If you’re curious about the birthstones associated with each month, click the links below to learn more:
January Birthstone | February Birthstone | March Birthstone | April Birthstone | May Birthstone | June Birthstone | July Birthstone | August Birthstone | September Birthstone | October Birthstone | November Birthstone | December Birthstone
Last Updated on March 19, 2023 by JewelryNStyle