What is Sapphire?
Sapphire is a gemstone in the Corundum group. (The other one in the same group used for the making of jewellery is Ruby) Many of these gems are found in Sri Lanka and Burma.
The gemstones are associated with all shades of blue but in fact come in most other colours as well. – including purple, yellow, orange, green, pink, brown, gold, grey, teal, black and colourless. Variation in colour is caused by iron and titanium impurities. The best Sapphire is cornflower blue and is found in Kashmir. Dark blue Sapphire is found in Thailand and Australia.
Sapphires are first mentioned in the history books in the 6th Century when the Pope decreed that a Sapphire must be worn on the right hand of cardinals when they make a blessing.
It is thought that Sapphires reached the Mediterranean and Europe during Greco-Roman times.
The death of Queen Elizabeth the First was announced by dropping a sapphire ring from the window of Richmond Palace.
In the Middle Ages, sapphire was thought to represent the tranquillity of the heavens. It was thought that it had the power to give peace and friendship to the wearer as well as suppressing impure thoughts.
It is considered the most spiritual of the gems as it is considered that it mirrors the blue of heaven. The Bible states that the Throne of Heaven was made up of Sapphires.
The Persians thought that the earth rested on a giant Sapphire and that its reflection caused the sky to be blue.
It is associated with magical powers such as the ability to heal wounds.
The Sapphire is the birthstone for September, signifying serenity and truth.
“Out of the depths shall Sapphires come
For September’s child to have wisdom” (unknown source)
It is associated with the 45th wedding anniversary.
Caring for Sapphire
As Sapphire is such a hard and tough stone, most cleaning methods are acceptable, including ultrasonic, steamers and warm soapy water.
Care should however be taken as rough handling can cause scratches and chips. In addition as they are such a hard stone they will scratch other stones apart from diamonds and so they need to be kept apart from other stones and from each other.
It is so durable that the mounts in which it is set are more likely to wear out before the stone and so it is recommended that the prongs should be checked periodically to ensure that the stones are secure.
Caring for Sapphire (summary)
• Regular cleaning. Most cleaning methods acceptable
• Avoid keeping with other stones – should be kept separately in a soft bag
• Check mounts and settings regularly