Thursday, September 1, 2011

September Birthstone: Sapphire

Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September.  It is the non-red variety of corundum (the red variety of corundum is ruby).  A 9.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphire is the second hardest natural mineral.  It is one of the four most precious gemstones (the other three being, diamond, ruby and emerald).

Blue is by far the most popular color for sapphires, but they can be found in many other colours, including yellow, green, white, colourless, pink, orange, brown, and purple.  Sapphire has been mined in Sri Lanka, since the 7th century.  It is also found in Australia, China, Thailand, Kenya, Tanzania and Nigeria.  Sapphires are commonly heated to improve their color and reduce cloudiness that is caused by rutile inclusions. The rutile inclusions are responsible for the "star" or "cat's eye" in star sapphires. 

There was a notion in ancient times, that the Earth is set on sapphire, and hence, the sky is blue. It is also believed that the Ten Commandments, were written on sapphire.  The ancient Egyptians associated sapphire with the 'eye of Horas' (the eye in the sky).  It was also popular amongst the Romans, for its beauty.  Sapphire was worn by kings, as it was believed to possess the property of wisdom.  Priests wore it because it was also said to symbolize purity. 

The sapphire helps bring spiritual enlightenment and inner peace.  It is believed to offer healing properties for rheumatism, colic, and mental illness.  It is also considered an antidepressant and an aid to psycho-kinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance and astral projection.  Long ago, it was used as an antidote for poison and as a cure for a number of illnesses.

Sapphire is associated with physical and emotional balance.  Attributes like wisdom, purity and sympathy are linked with sapphire.  It also stands for the qualities of loyalty, faithfulness, truth, sincerity, constancy and reliability.  Therefore, it signifies long term relationships.  Sapphire also said to inspire clarity of thoughts and improve problem solving capacity.  It is said to protect the possessor from evil thoughts.  It is also believed that sapphire strengthens the power of intuition.

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