BIRTHSTONE OF THE MONTH | 'SAPPHIRE'
The striking deep blue of a quality sapphire is reminiscent of a cloudless night sky. Ancient civilizations believed that the world was set upon an enormous sapphire, which painted the sky blue with its reflection. This legend, as well as the belief that the ten commandments were inscribed upon tablets made of sapphire, gives September’s birthstone a royal place among gemstones.
Named after the Greek word "sapphirus", meaning blue, Sapphires have long been a favorite among priests and kings, who considered them symbolic of wisdom and purity. These gemstones are prominent among the British Crown Jewels, and Prince Charles chose this as the engagement stone for Princess Diana when she became his fiancée.
In ancient times, Sapphires were thought to be protective against envy, and even against poisoning. A common belief was that a venomous snake placed in a Sapphire vessel would rapidly die! Ground to a powder, the blue stone was believed to cure colic, rheumatism and mental illness, and to strengthen eyesight.
Sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum. Corundum is found in every color of the rainbow, with red being designated as ruby and all other hues Sapphire. But the most prized color of Sapphire is a rich, deep blue. These gemstones were mined as early as the 7th Century BC from India and what is now Sri Lanka. They are found today in Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Myanmar, Thailand, Australia, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, China, Madagascar, and the United States. Large specimens of Corundum crystals are rare, although the 563-carat Star of India can be seen in the American Museum of Natural History. This is the largest and most famous of star Sapphires, which are cut to reflect light from inclusions within the stone, revealing a bright six-legged star pattern.
The Sapphire is second only to the Diamond in hardness, making it a durable gemstone for setting into jewelry. A gift of Sapphire represents sincerity and faithfulness. As nourishing to the soul as gazing up at the sky on a summer day, this brilliant blue gemstone is truly a heavenly choice!
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