Born in September? Sapphire, loved by the Romans, revered by early Buddhists and popular with modern royalty, is your birthstone. Those with September birthdays are in that elite league who has a precious gemstone for their birthstone, the other three being diamonds, emeralds and rubies.
A belief in the healing properties of gemstones is highly personal but it is a phenomenon that has been with us for centuries and passed down through folklore, so for completeness I will only add that, amongst other attributes, sapphires are associated with inner peace.
Although the classic sapphire is blue, with the most sought after being cornflower blue, sapphires come in an array of colours including yellow, green, black, purple and pink and indeed colourless. Colours other than blue are often referred to as fancy sapphires – but you will never find a red sapphire as at that point they are identified as rubies.
In terms of their hardness (9 non the Mors scale) sapphires are second only to diamonds. However, care should still be taken with your jewellery as the gemstones can still be scratched or cracked.
Like all gemstones the value of a sapphire is dependent on its colour, cut, clarity and carat weight (in the jewellery world you will regularly see reference to the 4Cs).
As far as clarity is concerned you will seldom find a naturally occurring sapphire without some inclusions in it – completely clear sapphires are just too rare. Indeed if you purchase a flawless sapphire you may find that it is synthetic or simulated.
A new world auction record for a Kashmir sapphire was set at the Magnificent Jewels Sale in May 2015 (The Jewellery Editor). Also in 2015 the world’s biggest blue star sapphire was found in a Sri Lankan mine, weighing an astonishing 1,404 carats (Forbes)