It may be the birthstone for the month of September, but it could be celebrated all year long. The Ancient Persians believed sapphires made the sky blue with their reflections.
Sapphire is a precious gemstone, one of two gem varieties of the mineral corundum, the other being ruby.
In folklore, history, art, and consumer awareness, sapphire has always been associated with the color blue. Most jewelry customers think all sapphires are blue, and when gem and jewelry professionals use the word “sapphire” alone, they normally mean “blue sapphire.” However, natural "fancy" sapphires also occur in yellow, purple, orange, gray, black, white and green, sometimes even showing two or more colors, called "parti sapphires". The only color sapphire cannot be is red-as red corundum is called ruby. Pink colored corundum may be classified as ruby or sapphire depending on the locale, and then there is a special orange-pink sapphire color is called padparadscha.
Significant sapphire deposits are found in Easter Australia, Thailand, Sri Lanka, China, Madagascar, East Africa and in North America in a few locations, mostly in Montana. Sapphire and rubies are often found in the same geological setting. Every sapphire mine produces a wide range of quality – and origin is not a guarantee of quality. For sapphire, Kashmir receives the highest premium although Burma, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar also produce large quantities of fine quality gems.
The cost of natural sapphires varies depending on their color, clarity, size, cut, and overall quality. For gems of exceptional quality, an independent determination from a respected laboratory often adds value.
In the Western world, there is a longstanding tradition of engagement rings being presented to women in order to propose marriage. The Romans were the first to use engagement rings to signal the honorable intentions of the groom. The tradition of engagement rings as we currently know it arose in the medieval era, when, in 1215, Pope Innocent III instituted a mandatory waiting period from engagement to marriage—creating the period of “engagement.” During this same time period, it was believed that a sapphire’s color would change or fade if worn by an impure or untruthful person. It is said that the fidelity of the wives of the Crusaders was tested with sapphires when their husbands returned from their campaigns.
Engagement rings as we know them today became popular in the 14th or 15th century amongst royal and wealthy families. Sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and diamonds were all used in these early tokens of betrothal. Sapphires were favored because they symbolized romantic love, truth, and commitment. During the 18th and 19th centuries, diamonds from Brazil and Africa flooded the market and prices declined. This led many to conclude that sapphires, rubies, and emeralds were more valuable and rare than diamonds. As a result, engagement rings with colored gemstones were more desirable for those who had the means to purchase them.
Today, sapphires can lend themselves to the classic jewelry styling, or a more modern twist. Whichever way you like them, fancy shapes, and colors, sapphires can be a key piece to have in any jewelry wardrobe, whether it is worn everyday or for that special occasion.