Sapphire is September's birthstone and comes in every color except red (ruby). Blue is the most common color for sapphire gems. White sapphire is occassionally used as a diamond substitute. Sapphire tennis bracelets are beautiful and loved by many.
Sapphire: Regal and Quiet
by Margaret Burgon Klemp

There is more than one way to become a legend. It cousin, the ruby, is well-known because of its' brilliant red color, and because man decided to equate it with their emotions as a symbol of love. But, there is more than one way to become a legend. History is full of legends that were quiet and less bombastic than some of their contemporaries. This is true of gemstones. The sapphire is legendary not because it appeals emotions, but it has an appeal that requires deeper meaning and understanding. It is quiet, it is calm. But its' effect is long lasting. Perhaps that is one reason why it is described in the book of Exodus in the Bible this way. "And they saw the God of Israel; and there was under his feet as it were a pavement of sapphire stone, like the very heaven for clearness." (Exodus 24: 9-10)
Marbode of Rennes (1035-1123) said in his writings:
Sapphire has an appearance
Similar to the heavenly throne;
It depicts the heart of simple men
Waiting with sure hope,
In whose life and ways
The highest is pleased.
Marbode was the Bishop of Rennes in France, and an avid researcher. He composed the earliest and most influential medieval lapidary which described in detail the attributes of sixty different stones. In addition to being an expert on various gemstones he composed hymns, and was a well respected leader and advisor in the Catholic Church. The sapphire has traditionally been involved in the area of religious magic, and it was believed that the owner of the stone could use it to harness psychic powers. It was, and still is, the choice of high church officials and regents especially when their rings are mounted. There are several language origins for the word "sapphire." In Sanskrit it was known as "sauriratna" in honor of the planet Saturn. Ancient Chaldean references called it "sampir," while the Greeks had a modern translation, "sappheiros" which denoted the color blue. The Arabic translation was "safir" and the Latin texts call it "saphirus."
The sapphire does share a lot in common with its' ruby relative, but there are some differences. First of all, the sapphire is must more widespread and more accessible. This is because sapphires originate in the earth's upper crust. The second difference is that it is blue and some natural processes have to occur that are a little different from rubies for a change in color. In some cases, however, early natural metamorphisms are identical to the ruby. They both come from the family of corundums, and share the same attributes of light refraction, density and hardness. Both stones are derived from the same chemical crystallization of alumina.
The sapphire comes in all shades of blue. The most sought after shade is Cornflower Blue Sapphire, the finest of all the sapphires. It is a gleaming blue gem with a touch of purple in it. The Royal Blue variety is velvety and the cobalt in it lets the viewer wonder how deep it really is. Marine Blue sapphires carry the color and dramatic tones of the oceans. Sapphires come in all different shades of blue. Titanium and Iron show up more in the rocks where sapphires are formed, however, they are formed differently all over the world.
In Kashmir sapphires are formed in pegmatites which are veins made up of pegmatite. In the pegmatite formations that are the feeding ground for Kashmir sapphires there is an abundance of aluminum and boron. In the rock surrounding the formation there is iron and titanium present.
In Australia, Cambodia and Thailand sapphires have developed over millions of years from rich deposits of molten carbonatite that has a lot of aluminum mixed with it. At first they were situated deep in the earth's crust where there was a presence of high pressure and extremely high temperatures. It was basalt volcanic activity that propelled them to the surface along with other minerals, and finally they were laid to rest on the valley floors.
In other parts of the world sapphires may have come from ancient formations that were once impure marble which developed over time through metamorphic conditions into crystalline cal silicates known as skarns. A skarn is a metamorphic rock that is usually variably colored green or red, occasionally grey, black, brown or white. It usually forms by chemical processes that form rocks during metamorphism and in the contact zone of magma like intrusions. Skarns in the igneous environment are associated with marble and wider zones of cal silicate rocks. Mixtures of corundum, titanium and iron were also a part of the crystallization process. Because of this process there are numerous inclusions in a sapphire, and like the ruby, they are useful in verification techniques when authenticating the stone.
Sapphires do twinkle. This is caused by the smaller, microscopic stones inside the primary gem that were created at the same time. This twinkling phenomenon is known as "silk" referring to its silky and silvery qualities. It appears as a star that seems to be imposed over a silk like background.
Some of the most important occurrences of sapphires can be found in Sri Lanka, but sometimes access to them is difficult. Pit and river mining are the most used techniques in Sri Lanka, but is impeded because the country resists modernization. Other areas where sapphires can be found are Tanzania, Australia, Madagascar, and Montana (USA).
Honored as the stone of fidelity and chastity, some say it is a sign of peace and friendship, while ancient Romans and Egyptians felt it was a holy stone of truth and justice. Innocent III, during his time as Pope said that every Cardinal and Bishop should wear a sapphire ring on the right hand to be used when they were giving blessings.
The sapphire: legendary, quiet and regal.
Gems: A Lively Guide for the Casual Collector, by Daniel J. Dennis Jr., Henry N. Abrams, Incorporated, New York, New York
Gemstones: Symbols of Beauty and Power, by Eduard Gubelin and Franz-Xaver Erni, Geoscience Press, Tucson, Arizona
Gems in Myth, Legend and Lore, by Bruce G. Knuth, Jewelers Press, Thornton, ColoradO

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