Thursday, September 2, 2010

September's Birthstone - Sapphire

The birthstone for those born in September is Sapphire, available in a wide variety of colors. The most popular is blue. Sapphire is a form of corundum. Any color of corundum except red is called sapphire.

Sapphires have been prized for their beauty since ancient times when Persians believed that the earth rested on a giant sapphire whose reflection gave the sky its color. It was also believed that sapphire would protect the wearer from envy and attract divine favor. Sapphire is mentioned in the Bible as being one of the twelve “stones of fire” (Ezekiel 28:13–16) that were given to Moses and set in the breastplate of Aaron (Exodus 28:15–30). Sapphire is also one of the twelve gemstones set in the foundations of the city walls of Jerusalem (Revelations 21:19).

Sapphires are a durable gem, second only to diamonds in terms of the hardness of the stone. Because of this, they are easy-care stones which do not scratch or mar easily. Their value depends on color, transparency, and size.

Sapphires are found here in the U.S.A. in North Carolina and Montana. Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, India, China, Brazil and Australia are well known for Sapphire production. China yields the majority of the sapphires that are a very deep midnight blue or black color. The lighter cornflower blue shade is mined mainly in the Australian regions, as well as in Sri Lanka and Burma. Sri Lanka and China also yield most of the golden sapphires found. The rare pink and orange sapphires are mined mostly in Madagascar and Sri Lanka.

Since the sapphire is most often linked to qualities of loyalty, faithfulness and honesty it is a favorite choice for engagement rings. Sapphires gained increasing popularity in modern times when Prince Charles presented an oval sapphire surrounded by fourteen diamonds to Lady Diana for their engagement.

The phenomenon known as the "star" on some sapphires is caused by intersecting light bands on the stone which create the illusion of a star reflection. The popular star sapphire has historically been thought of as a love charm throughout many cultures. It is said that Helen of Troy attributed her battle conquests to a star sapphire that she owned. The bands of light across the stone that created the starlike appearance were said to represent destiny and hope in other societies.

Giving personalized sapphire birthstone jewelry is a special way to celebrate a September birthday.

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