Now that I’m attending grad school at CCNY/CUNY, my love of jewels will be eclipsed by my love of literature… but just as with eclipses, it won’t be for long! So, I’m a bit late with September’s birthstone, the marvelous sapphire, but I haven’t forgotten. In fact, I think I will wear my sapphire pieces all month.
Ah, sapphires. According to some of the esoteric gemologists (we have to call them something!), it seems that blue sapphires are of importance to people such as Solomon and Johnson, who write that the blue stones are better used by people of a quiet nature, and Richardson/Huett, for whom the sapphire deepens the appreciation of beauty and brings joy to the wearer. “Lightness” is the term used by Thelma Isaacs (btw, I have cited all these authors in previous posts). She writes, “lightness and joy,” in her book, Gemstones, Crystals & Healing.
Interestingly, the recommendation is to wear it set in silver to enjoy the healing vibrations. A pendant can draw negative vibes from other people toward oneself, an effect that is mentioned about other stones as well. Generally, one should be careful about wearing a stone right over the heart chakra or the hollow of the throat, that is over the center of “will.” My answer to that is to know which stones are complementary to one’s nature. For instance, I often wear a green tourmaline quartz as a pendant between the throat and the heart, and so project energy rather than absorb it.
As we know, sapphires and rubies come from the stone known as corundum, whose chemical composition is aluminum oxide, with a hardness of 9 on the Moh scale. Sapphires are found in nature in myriad colors. Any color from blue to violet, to pink and yellow gold, or seagreen is known as sapphire, while red corundum is known as ruby. The Star of India, discovered in Sri Lanka, is bluish-gray because of the rutilated appearance– like fine needles– of chemical impurities. This is actually what gives some sapphires an iridescence and depth, and makes them far more interesting than the absolutely transparent ones.
We do see the sapphire repeatedly appearing throughout the ages under the month of April, while chrysolite (another name for Olivine or Peridot) is the stone that appears for September. It is listed as one of the foundation stones in Aaron’s breast plate, which suggests that sapphire has always been one of those basic stones people turn to. Isaacs writes about blue sapphire used for healing, black for centering the body, white as a focal point to center the mind. She also mentions that Buddhists have ascribed rather magical properties to it in ancient times as a stone that promotes healthy circulation in the body. A connection to Ayurvedic medicine is that it was incinerated and used in ash form to treat “rheumatism, colic, and mental illness.” (48)
But the path of sapphire through history is a glorious one, whether colored blue with the natural occurrence of iron and titanium, or in combination with chromium which gives the pinkish-orange hue of the Padparadscha sapphires (meaning lotus-color in Sinhalese). Our love affair with sapphires has sparked the imagination of poets as well as jewelers. The Star of Bombay is a famous blue sapphire in cabochon– not faceted form, and it is said that King Solomon had one such sapphire in his royal seal. Helen of Troy had a sapphire, Queen Elizabeth II has has the Stuart Sapphire on the back of the royal crown, and Elizabeth Taylor was given a star sapphire by the first of her many husbands.
No sapphire story be complete without mentioning the humorous Pink Panther– made famous by Peter Sellers in the silly jewel heist films he appeared in- my memory of them is actually more concerned with the animated antics of the panther cartoon at the start of the movie. I love working with pink sapphires!
Enjoy your lovely stone, everyone born in September, whether you prefer blue, pink, gold, or even clear sapphires. It’s a very special stone.
- What’s the birthstone for September? (earthsky.org)