SAPPHIRES - SEPTEMBER'S BIRTHSTONE
Hey there, Fireflies!
It's time to learn about the fabulous Sapphire, September's Birthstone!
Sapphires are a member of the Corundum Family and come in all the colors of the rainbow - except for red. Each of these gemstones has the same crystalline structure, yet when there are different mineral inclusions/impurities that are trapped inside the gemstone, the color of the gemstone changes drastically. Yet they are all in the same family. When a gemstone has the same crystalline structure that can place it in the Corundum Family yet is characteristically a saturated red, that is when a Sapphire becomes a Ruby. Otherwise, even pink corundum are considered Sapphires.
When Sapphires are colorless or in any color but blue they are called Fancy Sapphires. Parti-Colored Sapphires are gemstones that have 2 or more colors in the same stone. The marriage of 2 colors can be any mixture, but more commonly the combinations will be different shades of blue, green, yellow, clear, and browns.
Colorless Sapphires have been traditionally used as a Diamond Alternative for many years, and at a Moh's Hardness of 9 they're extremely durable - and they're more budget conscious than your traditional diamonds, too!
Sapphires even cross into the phenomenal gemstone category with Star Sapphires and Star Rubies being highly prized for their internal play of light separating into viewable lines and stars called Asterism. These lines come from a mineral called Rutile that grows in a linear structure inside the Sapphire and lines up at perfect angles to refract light into what looks like the rays of a star that float on the surface of the gemstone. These particular gems are cut into cabochons - gems that are round on top and flat on the back - in order to make the best visibility of the star possible.
Sapphires also come in a rare form called Color Change. There are different minerals that grow inside each gemstone and some of these impurities react differently with different types of light. Incandescent light is different than Fluorescent Light, as is Natural Daylight. Each light source has a unique wavelength and reacts with our visual environment differently. The gemstone's inclusions change the look of the stone depending on the available light source by absorbing and reflecting the different wavelength of colors back to our eyes, making them look like a different gemstone shade all together!
In the gemstone industry, Sapphires are all generally considered to have been treated in some way unless they have a specific certificate of independent lab testing stating that the gemstone has not displayed any evidence of treatment. Before 1980, and dating back to ancient Roman times, Sapphires were treated to enhance their color and beauty but this treatment was kept a secret and not many consumers were made aware of this issue. In the early 1980's a company that mined Sapphires out of Yogo Montana, USA started marketing a special Sapphire named the Yogo Sapphire that was "the only guaranteed untreated Sapphire in the world", exposing this unknown tidbit of information to the public. By 1982 the Sapphire industry had been completely exposed for it's secret practices of heating/treating Sapphires and by 1984 it was front page news on the Wall Street Journal. Consumers were angry and wanted full disclosure.
The oldest treatments involve heating the stones to enhance the color and clarity. Furnaces are used to heat the stones for extended periods of time to a specific temperature, and most use controlled environments with certain air mixtures such as nitrogen-deficient or oxygen-rich. Low heat can change the color of the stone and high heat will change the color and also dissolve the rutile inclusions making the stone look clear and inclusion-free. Diffusion Treatment is a much newer form of treatment but is a common practice where another substance, such as beryllium, is introduced into the stone via high heat to change or enhance the color.
Unfortunately since the practices of treating the stones has had such a long history and was so embedded into world culture, and the entities doing the treatments have had such a long time to perfect their practices, it can be quite hard to tell when just looking at a stone to know if it has been treated in some way, so the industry just has an umbrella disclaimer that all Sapphires are considered treated unless there is proof that they have not, however if there is treatment that is known and significantly affects the value, it must be disclosed to the consumer.
Shown here is a synthetic Sapphire, grown in a lab. In 1902 Synthetic Sapphires made their way into the scene, and while the synthetics being created today have a use in industrial applications, some have made their way into the gemstone industry and are so good at mimicking natural Sapphires, they can even fool some of the most trained eyes. It is best to source your Sapphires from reputable dealers and jewelers who are committed to full disclosure and making sure you, the consumer, is informed. Here at Firefly Jewelry Studio you will find that commitment. No synthetic gemstones are used in any of Firefly's Collections and gemstones are only sourced from mines and dealers with the same commitment to excellence and transparency.
Where do they come from?
Sapphires hale from all corners of the Earth. From Australia to Montana in the United States where you will find the most beautiful Parti-Colored Sapphires with multiple colors in just one stone, from Thailand to Tanzania where you would find color changing Sapphires, and from Sri Lanka to Eastern Africa where you would find the rare Padparadscha Sapphire in the most stunning shade of orangy-pink!
In general, Sapphires are known as the "Stone of Prosperity" helping one to fulfill their dreams and attracting abundance. Sapphires are great at cleansing the chakras and moving stagnant energy, and also ridding one of unwanted thoughts, bringing joy and putting the spring back in ones steps through lightness of energy and opening ones eyes to the beauty around them.
Sapphires are known to be associated with the corresponding chakras of the same color. Rubies are considered to be red and one would think they would be connected to your Root Chakra, however they are actually associated with the Heart Chakra. More information on Rubies can be found here on July's blog.
Sapphires and the Chakras:
- White and Purple for the Crown: White - Focuses ones attention, reveals talents and encourages the pursuit of life's passions. Purple - enhances spirituality and concentration in meditation. Helps to clear the paths through which Kundalini moves and flows, known as the "Stone of Awakening"
- Indigo for the Third Eye: Inspires creativity and psychic awareness, helps to clear negative energy from the chakras, cleanses auras, known as the "Stone of Encouragement" it pushes the wearer to further their own pursuits to betterment.
- Blue for the Throat: A beautiful stone for enhancing communication, its is a stone of strength and intuition, and helps one to generate kindness and compassion for others. It is known as the "Stone of Uniformity" encouraging authentic actions and thoughts towards unifying the collective masses with unconditional love. It promotes dreaming and stimulates psychic abilities, and promotes purifying and releasing trapped energies in order to move forward in life and ones spiritual path.
- Green for the Heart: Instills loyalty, and enhances alertness. Known as the "Stone of Fidelity" it is a wonderful choice for those in committed relationships.
- Yellow for the Solar Plexus: A stone for wealth, wisdom, endurance, and releasing blocks towards ambitions, it can help keep your energies up and your eye on the prize, keeping one from getting stuck in the "small stuff".
- Orange for the Navel Sacral Center: Triggers wisdom and loving creation in ones endeavors by activating the Sacral Center at the heart of the sexual and creative center. This puts the focus on the expressions of ideas, artistic truths, and life, with forward momentum. Vitality, strength, and purpose come to the wearer of this warm and loving stone.
- Black for the Root: Provides protection and grounding for body and soul, relieves anxiety and instills a belief in ones own abilities, especially in the realm of ones own intuition.
- Parti Colored for the corresponding colors within each gemstone - such as green/blue, would work with both the throat and the heart. Both cleanses and charges respective chakras.
The Queen of Romania’s Sapphire
Photo source: flickr.com/photos/milleliri/11622508286
This huge Sapphire comes in at 478 carats and was purchased by King Ferdinand of Romania for his Queen Marie in 1921. In 2003 it was auctioned at Christies for almost $1.5 million and was the largest Sapphire ever auctioned. It now lives in a private collection.
The Logan Sapphire
Photo source: By Chip Clark, Smithsonian staff. Public Domain, via Wikimedia Commons
This flawless Sapphire is 423 carats and is from Sri Lanka. About the size of an egg, this beauty is surrounded by 16 carats of diamonds and was donated to the Smithsonian Institute by Mrs. Polly Logan in 1960. It is now on display in the Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.
The Stuart Sapphire
Photo Source: By 'British School'  (Royal Collection no. 630740) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
This big beautiful rock is a part of the British Crown Jewels. It weighs 104 carats, though its origins are a mystery. The first history recorded was that it was possessed by Charles II prior to James the II and VII fleeing with it to France in 1688. In 1807 it was returned to the UK after being sold to George III, and was placed in the center of the circlet in the The Imperial State Crown of Queen Victoria. In 1909 it was moved to the back of the circlet to make way for the Cullinan II Diamond (read more about the Cullinans here) where it lives to this day.
The Star of India
The Largest Gem Quality Star Sapphire ever found is the Star of India. Mined in Sri Lanka and procured for the Paris Exposition in 1900, it comes in at a massive 563.4cts. This golf ball sized beauty now lives in the American Museum of Natural History.
In October of 1964 the gemstone was stolen from the American Museum of Natural History after thieves left a bathroom window unlocked during the day, sneaked in by night and discovered that the battery to the alarm on the Star was dead. It was stolen with several other notable gemstones. The thieves were caught 2 days later and in January of 1965 revealed that the gems were in a bus station locker in order to receive a more lenient sentence.
The Black Star of Queensland
The second runner up for largest Star Sapphire, the winner until 2015, is the Black Star of Queensland. Found in 1938 in Queensland Australia, this big bad beauty weighs in at 733 carats.
Discovered by a 12 year old boy, this hunker was used as the family's doorstop until that little boy's father, Harry Spencer, a miner in the Queensland Mining Fields, decided to take a closer look more than 10 years later. Harry Spencer sold the stone in 1947 to Harry Kazanjian for $18,000, which funded a new home for his family.
Harry Kazanjian eventually cut away for than 400 carats to reveal the beauty inside and the final stone with strong Asterism and brightly contrasting rays. His family's business boomed and the stone was tagged as being a lucky stone for those who possessed it! Over the course of the years the stone was eventually sold and in now in a private collection in Switzerland.
The Star of Adam
Photo Source: theguardian.com
The largest Star Sapphire ever discovered is known as the Star of Adam and was found in Sri Lanka. It weighs a whopping 1404.49 carats and was found in 2015.
Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, is known as "The Jewelbox of the Indian Ocean" is well known for its beautiful star Sapphires and the blue beauties, often called Ceylon Sapphires being found in the most perfect "Sapphire Blues".
It is estimated that this gemstone is worth over $300 Million and lives in a private collection at this time.
I hope you have enjoyed learning more about this beautiful gemstone! Sapphires are wonderful gemstones and make a rich and opulent addition to any jewelry collection!
Have a great month, Fireflies!