Birthstones are limiting. We’re breaking out of the box and inviting you to explore the wide world of gemstones!
For November we're featuring a versatile colored stone… sapphire!
Here are our top three reasons to keep sapphire on your radar:
1. A Rich, Romantic History
Sapphires traditionally symbolize nobility, truth, sincerity and faithfulness, and for centuries they’ve been associated with royalty and romance. So it’s no wonder these gorgeous stones have been featured in engagement rings, most notably the ring given to Princess Di by Prince Charles. GIA says it best: “Her sapphire ring helped link modern events with history and fairy tales.”
But sapphire has many other associations as well. Greek and Roman royalty were convinced that blue sapphires protected their owners from envy and harm, and clergy members during the Middle Ages wore them to symbolize heaven. The beliefs about sapphire from the past still hold true today. According to the Crystal Vaults, it is the stone of wisdom and royalty, of prophecy and Divine favor.
Although symbology and metaphysical properties don’t mean something to everyone, the history of sapphire is vast. It’s importance and value spans time, place, and religion and the symbols always come back to wisdom, faith, and royalty.
In folklore, history, art, and consumer awareness, sapphire has always been associated with the color blue. Most jewelry customers think all sapphires are blue, and when gem and jewelry professionals use the word sapphire alone, they normally mean “blue sapphire,” but there is actually a wide variety of colored sapphires!
Besides blue sapphire and ruby, the corundum family also includes so-called “fancy sapphires.” They come in violet, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and intermediate hues. Sapphires can even exhibit the phenomenon known as color change, most often going from blue in daylight or fluorescent lighting to purple under incandescent light.
Sapphires are also extremely durable. On the Mohs Hardness Scale, which ranges from 1 to 10, they come in at 9. The hardness scale indicates a gem’s resistance to scratches and abrasions, so sapphires are extremely resistant. Gemstone toughness is its resistance to breaking and chipping, which depends on the crystallography and chemical makeup of a gem. Cut is also very important for durability, because due to a gems crystallography it may be easier to break if impacted in certain directions. But sapphires have excellent toughness and no cleavage, making them a great choice for daily wear and rings!
3. Eco-Friendly Options
While natural sapphires are beautiful and durable, they can get quite spendy and they – like any natural gem – require ecological and social damages in order to get from the earth to your jewelry. But there are other options.
Lab grown sapphires offer a variety of colors that are easily accessible and affordable, but they’re also eco-friendly as there is no mining damage to the earth to create them. These gems are chemically identical to natural stones. The only way to tell if a gemstone is lab grown is to look for the differences in inclusions through a microscope. The characteristics other than these microscopic inclusions are exactly the same as a natural gem.
Although fancy sapphires are found naturally, they are more rare and therefore more expensive. Sapphire is valued highly for its blue color as well, and weighs in with a higher price than many gemstones because of its rarity. So if you want color options, affordability, durability, and sustainability, go for lab grown sapphires. If you want durability, authenticity, and rarity, go for the natural gemstone. Either way, sapphires are a perfect choice for any piece of jewelry.
Want to learn more about other gems and gemology in general? Check out our Gemology page!