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September's birthstone is Sapphire

Posted on 6th Sep 2012 @ 2:42 PM

Sapphire, the September birthstone, has been popular since the middle Ages and, according to folklore, will protect your loved ones from envy and harm.  Medieval clergy wore sapphires to symbolize heaven, while commoners thought the gem attracted heavenly blessings.  Blue sapphires range from very light to very dark greenish or violets blue, as well as various shades of pure blue.  The most prized colors are a medium to medium dark blue or slightly violets blue. 

Through history, sapphire symbolizes truth, sincerity, and faithfulness in relationships, and to bring peace, joy and wisdom to the wearer and owner. In the past, the sapphire was also believed to be a talisman that would protect you against evil spirits and other unsavory creatures of the night. The ancients regarded star sapphires as a powerful talisman protecting travelers and seekers. They were so powerful, they would continue protecting the wearer even after being passed on to another person.

Abbes Hildegard von Bingen (1098-1179) chronicled the healing powers of gemstones in her book Physica. According to her view, gemstone are formed through the powerful combination of water and fire, therefore they hold powers corresponding to these phenomena. She also believed that each stone had a certain, divine blessing from God. She said this about sapphire: Who is dull and would like to be clever, should, in a sober state, frequently lick with the tongue on a sapphire, because the gemstone's warmth and power, combined with the saliva's moisture, will expel the harmful juices that affect the intellect. Thus, the man will attain a good intellect.

 

Fancy color sapphire

Sapphire naturally comes in variety of colors.  Pink, purple, green, orange, or yellow corundum are known by their color (pink sapphire, green sapphire) known as fancy color sapphire.  

 

Yellow and green sapphires are also commonly found. Pink sapphires deepen in color as the quantity of chromium increases. The deeper the pink color the higher their monetary value as long as the color is tending towards the red of rubies.

Sapphires also occur in shades of orange and brown and colorless sapphires are sometimes used as diamond substitutes in jewelry. 

 

Treatments

Sapphires may be treated by several methods to enhance and improve their clarity and color. It is common practice to heat natural sapphires to improve or enhance color. This is done by heating the sapphires in ovens to temperatures between 500 and 1800 °C for several hours,

Clarity
Sapphire tends to be cleaner than ruby. Look for stones that are eye-clean. This means no inclusions that are visible to the naked eye. Actually, extremely fine silk throughout the stone can enhance the value of some sapphires. The famous sapphires from Kashmir have a velvety blue color which is caused by this fine silk. This silk is needed for the star effect in star sapphire, however, too much silk weakens the color, making it appear undesirably grayish.

Cut
Various shapes and cutting styles are common with sapphires. Ovals, cushions, and rounds are seen, as are other shapes, such as the heart or emerald cut. Round stones can command a small premium. Cabochon-cut sapphires are also common. Used for star stones, the best cabochons are somewhat transparent, with smooth domes of good symmetry.

Sapphire location and deposits
Sapphires come from Thailand, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Tanzania and Australia. The United States, Cambodia, Nigeria, Kenya and China also produce some sapphires. Perhaps the most famous sources for sapphires are the Kashmir region of India, and Burma. Discovered over 100 years ago, the Kashmir sapphire has a lovely, velvety blue color prized by gem lovers. Burmese sapphires can also be fine, but like the Kashmir region, these two areas today produce very little material.