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September's Something Blue Birthstone: The Sapphire

Photo via Flickr (aldenchadwick) Photo via Flickr (aldenchadwick)

Something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue: That's what many brides include in their special day in order for everything to go according to tradition. What better way is there to incorporate "something blue" into your wedding day than to wear a stunning blue sapphire on your hand, wrist, earlobes, or neck, especially if you are saying your "I do's" during the month of September? If the gorgeous blue stone is good enough for Princess Diana and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, then it's good enough for your special day.

The History of the Sapphire

The sapphire has long been a symbol of aristocracy and authenticity. Throughout time, it has been a stone that has adorned many members of royalty and clergy due to its symbolism. Royalty in ancient Greek and Roman times believed that the beautiful blue stone protected them from harm. It was worn by clergy during the Middle Ages because it was the belief at the time that the sapphire symbolized blessings from God. It was also believed that it protected someone from their enemy and evil spirits.

Because of the sapphire's stellar reputation with royalty, it was part of the engagement present to Diana Spencer when Prince Charles asked for her hand in marriage in 1981. This same stone was then passed down to Prince William and given to Kate Middleton as an engagement gift. The two have been happily married now for several years.

The Colors of the Sapphire

The word "sapphire" comes from the Greek sappheiros, and when someone refers to the stone, they are most likely speaking of the blue variety. In most historical references, art, and folklore, the sapphire is most commonly referred to as being blue. The sapphire is a type of corundum and can be found in several different colors besides dark blue. Some of the other colors of sapphires include red (also known as the ruby, which is another type of corundum), orange, yellow, green, light blue, teal, purple, pink, and white. Royal blue sapphires are the most sought-after color of this prized stone, yet darker blue is more common. The padparadscha, which is a pinkish-orange sapphire, is a very valuable and rare stone that can be found in Sri Lanka. It is one of the most valuable forms of the stone.

The Mining of the Sapphire

The sapphire is mined in several different places around the world. The most lucrative sources include Australia, Cambodia, Madagascar, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Montana in the United States. In the past, the Kashmir Blue sapphire was famously found in Kashmir, a region on the India-Pakistan border. Unfortunately, today, it is not very often that any sapphires are found in this area of the world.

Synthetic sapphires are available, and these stones are much less expensive than genuine stones. They are easily produced in a lab and sold as a cheaper alternative to natural sapphires. The sapphire can be polished and made into all different cuts, and it works well both as the primary stone in a piece and as an accent stone. A sapphire can also be polished into a cabochon and made into a cameo.