The birthstone for September - Sapphire
Sapphire, as well as being the birthstone for September, is known as the wisdom stone.
It is thought to expand the awareness and tap into the subconscious mind.
It's also said to release mental tension and restore balance within the body. To stimulate concentration and bring lightness and joy - yes please!
Real vs Lab Made Sapphire
Sapphires have been prized for centuries but gem grade corundum (which includes sapphires and rubies) is actually much rarer than diamond.
So it was exciting news when over a hundred years ago, a French scientist discovered that it was possible to create both rubies and sapphires in labs - basically by melting the core components of the stone together at high temperatures.
I do completely get that lots of people who love nature, would prefer to wear a natural stone - a real treasure of the natural world; but lab made stones are actually real Sapphires I promise. They both have the same components and characteristics - the difference is only that one take millions of years of heat and pressure underground to form, and one is created in a fraction of the time in a lab. The only real difference is the point of origin.
And in terms of the environmental impact, lab grown gems are undoubtably the better option. Ground mining involves moving a lot of earth which can disrupt habitats and pollute water sources. Whilst it's obviously not zero impact on the environment - the overall carbon impact of lab gems is hugely less than mined gemstones.
I use lab sapphires in my designs as standard, but can source natural stones as required - just get in touch with me for more details.
I tend to get my natural sapphires from Australia where possible, because of the standards of working condititions required for the workers there and the hope that the governement and mining companies are working together on lessening the environmental impact.
Sapphires in history
Sapphires have always symbolised wisdom, truth, nobility, sincerity and faithfulness, so they have a long history of different uses in different cultures.
In both Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome, leaders believed that wearing sapphire stones would protect them from envy and harm, so it was common for members of the monarchy and authority to wear the gemstone.
In the Middle Ages, members of the clergy saw sapphires as something that linked them to heaven, so sapphires became very popular as a decoration, although they were extremely expensive. Sapphires also have an important role in religions that practice spirituality, particularly because of their links to honesty and faithfulness.
Star sapphires are a particularly lovely form of the gem, with a star pattern that shines as the light catches; perfectly symmetrical and glowing from within. I use lab made star sapphires - which are an option in the cabochon cuts of the stones. So in the oval and round cabochon birthstone rings.
The most famous star sapphire stone is The Star of India (pic above from the wiki page).
The sapphire is an astonishing 563 carats (and about the size of a golf ball) and is estimated to be over 2 billion years old.