September is a month of transition. Summer gives way to fall, the leaves begin to change, and kids go back to school. The rhythm of life shifts slowly. It strikes me as apropos that September’s birthstone is the enigmatic sapphire. Formed deep in the earth, sapphires are emblems of change - the type of change forged under intense pressure. Many people think of sapphires as bright blue gemstones. They are associated with royalty, with romance, and with the 1997 classic Titanic.
In reality, sapphires are often misunderstood. For example, did you know that sapphires come in a huge variety of colors? Or did you know that they are in fact rarer than diamonds?
Read on to learn more about this month’s breathtaking and mysterious birthstone: the sapphire.
How are sapphires made?
Unless it was grown in a lab, the sapphire on your finger or dangling from your earrings was formed forever ago (basically) and has waited years upon years to be found and eventually make its way right to you. Wild, right? It all started when molten rocks deep under Earth’s surface began to cool slowly. These molten rocks are known as magma. (Am I giving you flashbacks to sixth grade science yet?) This slow cooling process causes crystals to grow. The slower the magma cools, the bigger - and more valuable - the crystals.
When aluminum mixes with oxygen, it forms a new mineral called corundum. Corundum is unique because it takes on a wide variety of colors, depending on which elements are mixed with it. Red corundum is known as a ruby. Any other color of corundum is called a sapphire.
The slow, fortuitous process of forming sapphires, and the myriad of elements that go into them, remind me of the process of breaking down one thing to create another. This is exactly what I did with the Magnificent Marquise ring, which uses elements from several family heirlooms to form one incredible, original, sapphire ring.
Where are sapphires found?
Way back in the day - and I mean way way back - the land masses of India and Asia were pushed together, forming the Himalayan mountains. (Six grade science, remember?) This process forced all those gorgeous corundum crystals toward the surface, allowing them to be discovered.
Consequently, sapphires are only naturally found in a few places on Earth, mostly in Southern Asia and Eastern Africa. They are also found in Sri Lanka and Madagascar. In fact, there are significantly fewer sapphire reserves on the planet than diamond reserves!
What color are sapphires?
The most well-known type of sapphire is the blue sapphire. But sapphires also come in green, purple, yellow, pink, brown, black, clear, and just about every color in between. In fact, no two sapphires are exactly the same. The rarest - and most prized - type of sapphire is an orangey-pink gem called the Padparadscha.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of a non-blue sapphire, sneak a peek at this stunning green sapphire Lilypads by the Pond ring. I mean that color, wow!
Inspired by sapphires
Every sapphire, like every person, has a story to tell. This is part of the reason I adore sapphires. Sapphire jewelry should reflect the stories found in nature and in life. When I designed the Beneath the Stars ring, I did so with the mystery and magic of the night sky in mind. The vibrant blue or soft violet center stones echo the many tones of that beautiful starry sky.
Similarly, one of my all-time favorite commissions, the Cuff Combo, tells a love story in three parts. It features a combination of sapphires and amethysts, resulting in something truly personal and original.
As you can see, my passion for sapphires runs deep. I hope that after reading this you understand a little more about what makes the sapphire special. And, if you’re lucky enough to have a September birthday, I hope you will embrace and celebrate this stone that is almost as dynamic and original as you.