Sapphire: September’s birthstone

The simple purity of one of the most famous precious gemstones – sapphire - is celebrated in September. Its signature blue colour inspired comparisons and connections to heaven, and hence the Greeks wore sapphire for guidance when seeking answers from the oracle. This gemstone was also worn by the wealthy as a symbol of protection from the evil intentions of their enemies.

Buddhists believed that the sapphire brought spiritual enlightenment, and Hindus used it during worship. Early Christian kings believed in sapphire’s powers of protection - using it in ecclesiastical rings, and ancient Hebrews believed that the Ten Commandments were engraved on tablets of sapphire. This explains why the precious blue stone has been associated throughout history with honesty, trust, purity and loyalty.

Dehres necklace and ring with heart cut sapphires and diamonds

Traditionally, sapphires are thought of as naturally vivid blue, though they occur in a wide spectrum of colours. However, there is one exception - red corundums are actually known as rubies. You might be surprised to find out that one of the rarest colours in sapphires is in fact the pinky-orange Padparadscha, named after the colour exhibited by the Sri Lankan lotus flowers. Generally, as with most gemstones, sapphires increase in value depending on the size and intensity of their hue. Kashmir and Burmese sapphires display the truest, richest blue colour, and are considered the rarest and most exceptional variety of the blue corundum as they are scarce in nature. 

House of Tabbah ring with sapphires, emeralds and diamonds

More often than not, you will see sapphires cut as cushions, ovals and pears or other traditional shapes that exhibit a number of facets. However, gems that have too many inclusions inside look much more appealing as cabochons or their slightly pointy variations, known as sugarloafs. There is one more type of the cut used for sapphires when setting them as complementing stones - buff top - generally used for smaller sapphires that are set next to each other.

Veschetti ring with sapphire, diamonds and mother of pearl

Incidentally, a similar effect with no visible metal between the stones is achieved in the invisible setting technique perfectly mastered by the German brand Stenzhorn. Famed for its complex jewellery engineering; Stenzhorn offers a variety of jewellery with carré cut sapphires that sit on metal rails side by side, in order to create an effect of not just an uninterrupted row of gems - but a whole sparkling blanket. The pavé setting also allows very little metal to be visible on the surface - as seen in Fabergé 'Emotions' rings or Avakian's 'Caché' collection.

The timeless sophistication of the sapphire has a universal appeal, and any jewellery showcasing this beautiful, hard wearing and meaningful gem will be greatly appreciated - especially by those with September birthdays.

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