Looking for the sparkle to beat this early fall heat? The answer might be in the cool and welcoming depths of the September birthstone, the sapphire!
Happy September, everyone! We know it doesn’t really feel like fall but by our calendar, it’s time to get out all of our favorite decorations, pumpkins, and new birthstones for this wonderful month. Halloween might be right around the corner, but orange and black won’t be our color pallet just yet. This month we are feeling a little blue. Not the sad kind of blue, but the blue that really sparkles. This month we are diving into the cool and elegant depths of the mysterious and mighty sapphire.
There is a reason why this incredible gem has a hushed and powerful quality that seems to claim the attention of any room. It has been associated with royalty and nobility for hundreds of years. Even if these gems aren’t upon the heads of nobility so much today, their qualities of regality have never left. The beautiful blue stone is one of the most popular and recognized of all time. Surprisingly though, the sapphire comes in a variety of colors, not just its signature blue. According to AGTA, you can find sapphires in golds, sunset colors, violets, dark twilight blues, pale blues, and more. According to AGTA, the sapphire’s sister gem is the ruby. They both come from the Corundum species. Sapphires are very commonly found next to ruby deposits. It is the second hardest gemstone, right behind the diamond. It ranks as a 9 on the Mohs scale and has no cleavage. Cleavage, according to GIA, is the tendency to break when it is struck. Its hardness and resilience make this gem perfect for daily wear, and their shape and cut will last through the years with ease. They are also traditionally given for the 5th and 45th wedding anniversary.
According to AGTA, the gift of a sapphire is a promise of trust, loyalty, and sincerity. With such a hefty promise, it has been a common gem found in engagement rings for many years. They have also symbolized romance, truth, and nobility making this one of the most romantic stones of all time. According to ancient legend, the Persian culture believed that the earth rested on a giant sapphire, which is why the sky was blue. This beautiful blue goes beyond the sky. According to IGA, sapphires were linked to ancient healing properties too. They were thought to cure boils caused by the plague, they could cure eye disease, and even be an antidote to poisoning.
The sapphire can be found all over the world including Australia, Laos, Vietnam, Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar, and Montana. Montana sapphires are the most famous and most prolific in the United States. The three most historically important locations for sapphires are Kashmir, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.
It is very common for sapphires to be treated to bring out their most stunning hues of blue. The most common treatment is done with heat. This treatment will last forever and will bring out the truest color of blue in the stone. According to GIA, since the use of heat is so common it is an accepted practice in the trade and industry. Other treatments include lattice diffusion, fracture filling, dyeing, and diffusion. Diffusion treatments, according to AGTA, can cause the stone to have orange, yellow, pinkish-orange, and blue coloring. When purchasing a sapphire make sure to ask what treatments, if any, have been done to enhance the stone. These treatments need to be documented upon purchasing to be shown if you want to sell it in the future or to use when getting the gem insured. Untreated and heat-treated sapphires are much more expensive than any other sapphire. Natural coloring and the color itself will determine the price you pay for your sapphires. According to AGTA, the purist blue sapphires that range between deep navy to icy blue are the most valuable of all.
Of all sapphires, genuine Kashmir sapphires are the most sought after and the most cherished. Sapphires were first discovered in Kashmir in 1881. After being discovered in a landslide that uncovered a large pocket of the gem, thousands of sapphires were found and mined between 1882 and 1887 in Kashmir. After 1887, even though Kashmir had now gained the reputation as the sapphire capital, mining slowed drastically. This is credited as one of the many reasons why sapphires from this location are so coveted.
Due to their incredible beauty and mystery, it should be no surprise that there is such a thing as a famous sapphire. Again, this sadly does not include The Heart of the Ocean. One of the most famous sapphires was a 62 carat stone that was owned by John D. Rockefeller. The stone was found in Myanmar and has seen a series of different cuts and settings throughout its lifetime. It is currently sent in a ring between gorgeous diamonds. The most recent sapphire in the news is the 12 carat stone surrounded by diamonds that was Princess Diana’s engagement ring. The ring is now worn by her daughter in law, Kate Middleton, the current Duchess of Cambridge.
Sapphires have been mined in Montana since 1865. They have been mined in the Upper Missouri River and Rock Creek which still have very active mines to this day. They were also mined in Dry Cottonwood Creek and Yogo Gulch, although those mining areas have been inactive for many years, according to GIA. Montana was known for its gold, silver, and copper mining. This all changed when corundum was discovered by gold miners. At first, sapphire mining was a huge industry out of Montana due to its use in watchmaking before 1940. After WWII they were replaced with fake stones, which caused a huge hit to the sapphire market. Sapphires were first discovered in Montana by gold miner Ed R. Collins at the El Dorado Bar. Sapphire mining still happens there to this day, and the sapphires that are found there come in pastel colors. They can be found in pinks, purples, deep greens, and a rare ruby can be found there once in a while too.
The mystery and wonder of the sapphire continues to this day. Being such a strong stone that comes in so many different shades and colors, it’s no wonder that they have caught the eye of many jewelers and jewelry lovers throughout the decades. Do you have a favorite sapphire of your own? Are you looking to add one to your collection? Come and chat with us about these beauties and see one for yourself. Even if it’s not your birthstone, you will fall in love with the sapphire the instant you see it sparkle in the Summerville sun! Until next time friends, remember to keep calm and rock on!
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