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Sapphire - The September Birthstone

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

The name "sapphire" comes from the Greek word "sappheiros," which means "blue stone." Sapphire is a gemstone that has been prized for centuries for its beauty and rarity and has always been a favourite for engagement rings and other jewellery. It is the birthstone for September, and it is often used in engagement rings and other jewellery. Sapphire is a variety of corundum, all colours of corundum are sapphire with the exception of red which is ruby.

Sapphire is a very hard gemstone, with a Mohs hardness of 9. This makes it second only to diamond in terms of hardness. Sapphire is also a very dense gemstone, with a specific gravity of 4.0 and is rather heavy when compared to less dense gemstones such as Emerald.

Colors of Sapphire

Sapphires can be found in a variety of colors, including blue, pink, yellow, green, orange, purple, and colorless. The red variety of corundum is ruby. The color of a sapphire is determined by the impurities that are present in the mineral. For example, blue sapphires get their color from the presence of iron and titanium and pink sapphires get their colour from the presence of chromium.

Yellow Sapphire Ring
An exceptional 5.5 ct yellow sapphire, sourced specially for client.

Sapphire is a popular gemstone for jewellery because of its beauty, rarity, and durability and vibrant hues making it a good choice for those who are looking for a luxurious and stylish piece of jewelry. The most valuable sapphires are usually vivid blue hues with excellent clarity and even distributed tone and colour. The most prized blue sapphires are the famed Kashmiri blue sapphires with an intense velvety cobalt blue. Another hugely valuable sapphire type is the beautiful Padparadscha sapphire, its colour is often described as viewing the sunset through a lotus petal. Its gorgeous combination of pink and orange are very rare in the right tones and clarity and can fetch very high prices.

Sapphire is found in limited locations throughout the world. Most sapphires in the market today are mined in Madagascar and Sri Lanka, with other deposits in USA, Australia and various other locations in Africa.

Blue sapphire ring
Trillion shaped blue sapphire engagement ring

Sapphire synthetics are prolific in the market and are created in a laboratory using a variety of methods. Some of the most common methods include flame fusion, flux growth, and hydrothermal growth. Synthetic sapphires can be made to be very similar to natural sapphires in terms of color, clarity, and durability. However, there are some key differences between synthetic sapphires and natural sapphires. For example, synthetic sapphires often have inclusions that are characteristic of the synthetic growth process. Additionally, synthetic sapphires may have a slightly different refractive index than natural sapphires. These characteristics are not easy to spot and this is why it is important to use an experienced gemologist when buying natural sapphires. Most high street jewellers and dealers would not be able to tell synthetic from natural themselves, only an experienced gemologist or dealer can help you to identify the type of sapphire you are buying and to ensure that you are getting a fair price. With higher value sapphires I would definitely recommend only buying with a gemological certificate from a trusted lab.

Esoteric Values

Sapphire is said to have a variety of esoteric properties. It is said to bring peace, wisdom, and protection. It is also said to promote loyalty, fidelity, and courage.

At Clayton Delville, I specialise in sourcing fine natural sapphires. My years of gemological experience allow me to reliably source your perfect sapphire of any size or colour. Get in touch or visit me in Harrogate to discuss your bespoke piece of sapphire jewellery.

Clayton Delville

Clayton Delville Hood

Clayton is a GIA graduate gemologist, Diamond and Coloured stone grader and dealer with over 20 years experience in the Diamond, Gemstone and Jewellery business. More...



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