Sapphire, September’s sparkling royal gem

Sapphire, September’s sparkling royal gem

sapphire ring

What color is a sapphire birthstone? Blue, of course, you say. But it actually comes in a variety of shades, called “fancy sapphires”: yellow, violet, green, orange, pink, and purple. Plus, it’s one of the “big 3” colored gemstones, along with the emerald and ruby. But the sapphire has been prized throughout the centuries. According to the GIA, ancient Persians believed the earth actually rested on a giant sapphire, which made the sky blue. And the very term, “royal blue” comes from the hue of this precious gem.

Some fun facts about sapphires

  • The only thing that can scratch a sapphire is a diamond (9 vs 10 on the Mohs hardness scale).
  • When a sapphire is red, it’s considered a ruby. Both are comprised of corundum but with different minerals coloring them (iron and titanium for blue sapphires; chromium for rubies).
  • The gemstone’s name comes from the Latin and Greek for blue, “sapphirus” and “sappheiros.”
  • Apple watches and iPhones include crushed-up, lab-created sapphire crystals in their lenses to make them more scratch resistant, as do several Swiss watches.
  • Napoleon gave Josephine a sapphire and diamond engagement ring. Prince Charles gave Diana a 12-carat blue sapphire ring that’s now worn by Princess Kate.
  • A star sapphire is due to a feature called “asterism.” This is due to tiny, needle-like inclusions that reflect the light. The finest star is at the top center of the stone.

Healing properties

  • In ancient times, healers thought that a sapphire would protect the wearer from evil. It was also believed to help eye problems (perhaps because it was the color of the sky) and was a sign of nobility and faithfulness.
  • Today, some believe that a sapphire can calm the mind, and increase self esteem. It can relieve anger and frustration. Many believe that it can also attract abundance and blessings.

Taking care of your sapphire jewelry

  • According to, to minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Sapphire jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a soft cloth.
  • Be sure to take your sapphires (and other precious stones) to a jeweler regularly for a thorough cleaning and to make sure all prongs are still tight.

How to buy sapphire jewelry

  • The GIA recommends that color is a sapphire’s most important quality when you’re looking to buy. Blue to violet blue, strong saturation.
  • Most sapphires have some inclusions, but make sure that they won’t make the stone less durable.

The best way to protect your royal blue sapphire jewelry? Make sure it’s properly insured. Your first step is to have an updated professional appraisal every 3-5 years to reflect rising jewelry prices. Contact me at (617) 304-0174 or at to set up an appointment.

Happy September birthdays! Revel in your sky-blue sapphire jewelry and feel your connection with royalty across the ages.

Royally yours, Aimee

About Aimee Berrent

Aimee M. Berrent is the owner of A Matter of Brilliance and a GIA Graduate Gemologist. She offers appraisal services such as jewelry appraisals, diamond appraisals, and estate appraisals within Massachusetts and all over the East Coast.
Aimee has over 25 years experience in the jewelry trade, and received her Graduate Gemologist (G.G.) in Residence diploma from the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) in Santa Monica, California, and is a member of the National Association of Jewelry Appraisers (NAJA).
Aimee has advanced training in jewelry appraisal theory. She frequently attends jewelry conferences and takes courses to stay on top of current gemological advances and appraisal training.

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