What is my birthstone? - September
SAPPHIRE BIRTHSTONE MEANING & HISTORY
The September birthstone has traditionally symbolised sincerity, truth, faithfulness and nobility. For countless centuries sapphire has adorned royalty and the robes of the clergy. The elite of ancient Greece and Rome believed that blue sapphires protected their wearers from harm and envy. Clerics of the Middle Ages wore sapphires because they symbolised Heaven. Ancient Persians believed the earth actually rested on a giant sapphire which made the sky blue.
The September birthstone was reputed to have healing powers as well. Medieval Europeans believed that sapphires could cure plague boils and diseases of the eye. Sapphire was also thought to be an antidote to poison.
Famous sapphires include the Rockefeller Sapphire, a 62.02ct. rectangular step cut stone that was unearthed in Myanmar (Burma). Acquired in 1934 by financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874–1960) from an Indian Maharaja, the gem was recut and remounted over the years. The sapphire was first set as a brooch and later as a ring featuring two cut-cornered triangular diamond side stones.
Perhaps the best-known sapphire in recent history is the 12ct. blue gem surrounded by diamonds in the sapphire engagement ring first worn by Princess Diana and then given by her son Prince William to Kate Middleton now Princess of Wales.
WHERE IS SAPPHIRE FOUND?
Kashmir, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Sri Lanka are three historically important sources for the September birthstone. Significant quantities of sapphires have also been found in Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar and the United States (Montana), among other countries in Asia and Africa.
Sapphires were discovered in Kashmir around 1881 when a landslide high in the Himalayas exposed a large pocket of velvety “cornflower” blue crystals. As the spectacular sapphires began to appear further south, the Maharaja of Kashmir – and his army – took control of the new locality. From 1882 to 1887, thousands of large, beautiful crystals were recovered. The stones faceted from these crystals established Kashmir sapphire’s reputation as one of the world’s most coveted gems. Production has been sporadic since then, but auction houses occasionally sell fine pieces of Kashmir sapphire jewellery.
The Mogok area of Myanmar is another locale famed for producing the September birthstone. Jungle-clad hills hemmed by mountains make a dramatic landscape. Sapphire typically occurs alongside ruby deposits, but in much smaller quantities than its red counterpart. ”Burmese” sapphire, as it is still called by many, can possess a rich, intense blue hue, which has made it particularly prized