Sapphire was adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912 as the birthstone for September and is also one of the birth stones for the Zodiac signs of Pisces, Taurus, Virgo and Sagittarius. Sapphire is given as a gem for the 5th, 23rd and 45th wedding anniversaries while a star sapphire is given on the 65th wedding anniversary.
Sapphire and Ruby, although vastly different in colour to each other, belong to the same family of minerals: corundum, the mineral form of alumina which crystallizes in the hexagonal system. Blue is by far the most popular color for sapphires, but Sapphires can be almost any color, including yellow, green, white, colorless, pink, orange, brown, and purple. Padparadscha is the name for a rare orange-pink variety of sapphire and has a higher value than blue sapphires.
Sapphires with inclusions of tiny, rutile needles exhibit an optical property called asterism. This is the star shaped effect seen in star sapphires and is usually only seen in cabochon cuts. Star sapphires usually have six ray stars, but twelve ray stars are also known. Rarely, when sapphires are cut en cabochon, they can demonstrate a cat’s eye effect. This effect displays a thin band of light down the center of the stone and is known as chatoyancy.
Sapphires have been found all over the world but fine gemstones are found in Australia, Thailand, India, Madagascar, Zimbabwe, North Carolina in the U.S., Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Kenya.
Sapphire is believed to have poweres of spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. Sapphire is also said to offer healing properties for rheumatism, colic, and mental illness.