Traditional Birthstone: Sapphire
Modern Birthstone: Jade, Jasper, or Moss Agate
The word “sapphire” when used alone, typically refers to the blue variety. Other colors, such as yellow, pink and orange, are termed “fancy sapphires”. Blue sapphire is a member of the mineral species corundum, which comes in virtually every color of the rainbow. Its sister stone is ruby, the red variety of corundum.
Sapphire's Color and Characteristics
Blue sapphire is one of the most popular colored stones. Blue sapphire’s hues reflect the sky’s every shade, from blazing afternoon to velvety midnight. More consumers buy jewelry adorned with blue sapphires than with any other colored stone. US consumers buy about half of the blue sapphires on the world market. One factor that contributes to blue sapphire’s appeal is that, of the Big 3—ruby, sapphire, and emerald. Sapphire’s extraordinary durability is another characteristic that makes it desirable. Sapphire excels in hardness-- a 9 on the Moh’s scale of hardness, as well as, in toughness and stability. Its resistance to scratching and other damage makes it ideal for setting in jewelry that is worn every day.
The Sapphire throughout History
Sapphire is listed in the second row of Aaron’s Breastplate. Historically, there are countless references to sapphires. The many biblical references to the stone include the Ten Commandments, which were given to Moses on tablets made of sapphire. Medieval Christians expanded on the biblical allegories with their uses of sapphires, and the stone came to be known as the “guiding stone” of kings and emperors. It has decorated the robes of royalty and clergy members for centuries. Traditionally, the gem symbolizes nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness.
The mystic Hildegard von Bingen believed it a powerful talisman against madness and demonic possession. It was also believed by some to cure the “madness of love.” For purposes of emotional healing, the blue sapphire is especially thought to bring to those who wear or carry it a sense of spiritual enlightenment and inner peace, also considered a very powerful antidepressant, used to treat certain types of mental illness. Sapphire bestows clarity, peace, and the kind of attitude adjustment necessary to fully enjoy the present moment, unencumbered by the issues of the past.
Up until recently, the overwhelming favorite stone for engagement rings was not diamond, but sapphire! A great example from the British Crown jewels, Kate’s engagement ring.