September / Sapphire
A member of the corundum mineral family and the composite sister of the ruby, the many-hued sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September. While blue is the colour most typically associated with sapphire, this gem stone comes in a variety of colours; namely pink, orange, white, green, yellow, and sometimes a combination of colours (parti). Red corundum is known as ruby and all other shades are categorised as sapphire.
A stone of purity, the blue sapphire, evokes a sense of dependability and commitment. As a colour choice, blue is prodigiously popular, equally appealing to men and women. It is seen as trustworthy, serene and spiritual. It is the colour of constancy, belonging to sea and sky- both unequivocally perpetual realms. These qualities have unsurprisingly transferred to the symbolism of the sapphire. The more electric shades of blue, found in the sapphire palette, are assuredly redolent of dramatic, dynamic, exhilarating emotions, while the darkest hued sapphires call to mind mystical wisdom and profound insight.
The word sapphire has its etymological origins in several ancient languages; the Greek word sappheiros the Arabic safir and Latin sapphirus. The ancient Persians named it the “Celestial Stone”. In Greek mythology, the sapphire was synonymous with Apollo, the god of prophesy. Those seeking his divine assistance would adorn themselves in sapphires when worshipping at his shrine. Throughout the ages, members of the clergy wore sapphires as talismans for chasity, and campaigning soldiers would often bestow a sapphire necklace on their wives to ensure fidelity. The sapphire was also thought to protect the wearer from harm and envy and not surprisingly, serpents. The all-conquering sapphire supposedly sounded the death knell for all manner of poisonous reptiles. Sapphire’s purity and potency would have been a discernible antidote for the malevolent snake. Thirteenth century Frenchmen put great stock in the transformative and redemptive powers of the sapphire- by all accounts the gem was effective in converting stupidity to wisdom and irritability to congeniality.
With a colour choice to suit most tastes, the sapphire continues to attract admirers.
“A maiden born when September leaves
Are rustling in September’s breeze,
A sapphire on her brow should bind
‘Twill cure diseases of the mind.”
Birthstone Poems, 1870, Tiffany & Co, author unknown.