September’s birthstone, sapphire, is one of the world’s most sought-after gemstones. Read on to learn some cool facts about its history.
Sapphires have been renowned as symbols of wealth and power since ancient times. In the Bible’s Song of Solomon, a bridegroom is described as decorated in jewels, “his body…ivory work, encrusted with sapphires.” To contemporaries, the reference to sapphires would have signified his high status.
In modern times, sapphires continue to capture the world’s imagination with their unusual colour, sparkle and depth. The most famous sapphire is the Star of India Sapphire, so called for its unusual starburst detail at its centre. The 563-carat stone, which was formed over 2 billion years ago and discovered in the 1700s, made news when it was stolen from the New York Museum of Natural History in 1964. The gem was recovered safely within two days.
The Star of India Sapphire
The Queen Marie of Romania Sapphire, which last sold for 1.3 million dollars, is the largest sapphire to be sold at auction in Christies in Geneva. The sapphire, set in a pendant, was famously given to Queen Marie by her husband King Ferdinand of Romania in 1922. Queen Marie often wore the pendant to royal events, as it matched her sapphire tiara. In 1947, her grandson, King Michael, sold it to jewelry collector Harry Winston.
The Queen Marie of Romania Sapphire
Another historical sapphire of historical significance is the Stuart Sapphire, which was likely owned by English king Charles II. Charles’ father, James II, likely passed the sapphire to his son upon his flight from England to France, and Charles passed it on again to his own son, Henry Bentnck. When the Stuart cause was over, the gemstone, along with all the other royal treasures, were returned to King George III. Now, the Stuart Sapphire is included in the Imperial State Crown.
The Stuart Sapphire, set in the Imperial State Crown (detail below)
As a birthstone, sapphires remain popular among those with September birthdays. According to legend, the sapphire is believed to impart its wearer with the power of foresight or precognition. Sapphires are gaining popularity among celebrities; Nicole Ritchie’s engagement ring is a birthstone sapphire in its unusual but striking pink incarnation.
Nicole Ritchie (born September 21, 1981) wears a pink sapphire birthstone engagement ring.
Know someone with a September birthday? Check out our collection of September sapphire birthstone jewelry here.