Sapphire is the gemstone for those born in September. It is said to be a stone of wisdom, royalty and prophecy. Sapphires signified the height of celestial hope, faith, and bring protection, good fortune and spiritual insight. It is a symbol of power, strength, kindness and wise judgement. Travellers wore Sapphire in ancient times to protect them in unknown lands.
Sapphires have been set in jewellery for hundreds of years and are still very popular today. Most famously, Lady Diana’s engagement ring from Prince Charles was a brilliant blue sapphire. The ring was then passed down to Prince William, who then presented the engagement ring to Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge.
Sapphires at their highest quality are clear. Poorer quality sapphires have a milky opaque marble effect. However there is a particular phenomenon that is both rare and beautiful in opaque sapphires called asterism that gives a star effect. When white light hits the surface of the stone, a six ray star pattern can be seen. This occurs when the numerous needle like inclusions perfectly align. If you are buying star sapphires be sure to watch for the star effect travelling across the stone as you tilt it in any direction. Imitations will only show a stagnant star effect.
The second hardest gemstone after diamond, Sapphire presents in every colour of the rainbow and more. Classically, Blue sapphires are the most famous. Ruby and Sapphire are from the same gemstone family Corundum. When Corundum is found in shades of red and some pinks it is called Ruby.
Sapphires form deep underground where there is no precence of silicon. Corundum is made up mainly of aluminium and oxygen and then traces of iron, titanium and chromium give it varying shades of colours. The gems are created in a rare and unique environment over many thousands of years and are then carried to the rivers and creeks on the Earth’s surface through volcanic activity. Authentic stones are mined in Australia, East Africa, Burma and Sri Lanka and Madagascar.
The largest star sapphire is the Star of India at an amazing 536 carats. The stone was donated to the American Museum of Natural History. It was stolen and returned 2 months later, adding to the mystery and value of Sapphires.