Sapphire - September birthstone
If you were born in September, your birthstone is the Sapphire. Sapphires are an extremely popular gemstone, thanks to their beautifully deep blue shade. Traditionally symbolic of the soul, trust, purity, loyalty, honesty, and fidelity, sapphires were once the gem of choice for engagement rings. The word "Sapphire" comes from a Greek word, sappheiros, meaning blue. One of the legends surrounding the stone comes from the ancient Persians, who believed that the world was nestled on a huge sapphire. The blue sky, they said, was the reflection of the stone's vibrant shade.
Sapphires are actually minerals known as corundum. The most popular color for sapphires is blue, but the stone can also be found in violent, peach, pink, yellow, and orange shades. Occasionally, sapphires in shades other than blue will be referred to as "fancy sapphires." The most prized sapphire is in fact not blue. Found in Sri Lanka, the padparadscha sapphire is a salmon color with pink and orange hues. This stone is very rare and is considered among the most prized gems. Currently, there is a trend for pink sapphires. However, the traditional vivid blue is still popular. Today, jewelers are setting sapphires in platinum or white gold and adorning them with pave diamonds. If you are searching for sapphires, you will find that jewelry with violet, yellow, golden, orange, and purple stones is very popular. Another current trend is towards "papaya" sapphires or stones with a distinctive reddish-orange glow.
Since a rich color is highly desirable in a good sapphire, most gems today are heat treated before being sold as jewelry. The stones are heated to 2000 degrees to bring out the most vivid color. Heat treatment is safe and will not affect the quality of your stone. However, some customers want a sapphire with a natural shade. If this is true of you, keep in mind that natural colored sapphires are much more expensive and far rarer. If you want to buy this sort of stone, be sure to get a report from a reputable lab (such as the AGTA Gemological Testing Center) confirming that the stone has not been heat treated. When you get your stone verified by a lab, you will also want to have the lab confirm the country where the stone originated. Sapphires from Burma and Kashmir are highly prized and are often sold at much higher prices than stones from the US, Australia and other countries. However, before you pay extra for such a stone, make sure that it really is from the country claimed.
Sapphires range in size from under one carat to more than 15 carats. In fact, unlike other gems, it is common to see sapphires in larger sizes. Usually, sapphires are cut in oval or cushion shapes, which best reflect the light off the stone. However, trilliant, princess, emerald, and round cuts are also available, although usually only in sapphires smaller than one carat.
Once you have purchased your sapphire, keep it away from your other jewelry when you are not wearing it. Sapphires are used as abrasives and are very hard, so they can scratch other jewelry. If you need to clean your sapphire, use a gentle dish soap. If your stone or jewelry is very grimy, gently use a toothbrush as well to get rid of any dirt.