Sapphire is September’s birthstone and is the standard gemstone for the zodiac sign of Virgo.
Sapphires are a family of gemstones available in many colours. The blues, like blue sapphire, are some of the most popular and valuable. They are part of the peridot family and can be found in shades of blue, green, orange, yellow and black.
Probably the most famous sapphire is the one chosen by Princes Diana as the centre piece of her engagement ring to her then husband, Prince Charles. The 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire was encircled by a halo of diamonds set in 18 carat white gold. The ring itself is believed to be worth £300,000.
Sapphire’s in history
The name sapphire comes from the Latin word “sapphirus”, which means blue. In ancient Persia, the only persons permitted by law to wear sapphires were the king and his close relatives. The Greeks named sapphires after their goddess of hope, while in India the colour blue was considered sacred. Below is believed to be a 2000 year old sapphire ring that once belonged to Caligula, an ancient Roman Emperor.
The ethical gemstone
Sapphires are easier to ethically source and are less harmful to the environment that some other precious gemstones. Like most coloured stones, around 80% of sapphires are mined by small scale miners. Small scale mining operations are far less disruptive to the environment than the mechanized mining used to extract diamonds. Many of the miners own a share in the mine, ensuring they receive a fair price for the stones they mine.
When a sapphire is red it is a Ruby.
They are only second to diamonds in durability
It is believed that Sapphire keeps evil spirits away.