September is the Blue Month: The Blue Sapphire That Is!

September is the Blue Month: The Blue Sapphire That Is!

The blue sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September. It is also the gem commemorating 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. Sapphires have been highly valued and sought after from ancient Rome and Persia, throughout the Middle Ages into modern times. 


Sapphires are known for their rich blue color, but come in almost every color of the rainbow—including pink, peach, orange, yellow, green, teal, and purple. Red sapphires are better known as rubies. The color variations result from trace elements in the mineral corundum. Classic blue sapphires contain iron and titanium, and trace elements of chromium can turn corundum pink, while more chromium turns it into a ruby. The rarest type, a pinkish orange variety called padparadscha, is sifted from Sri Lankan rivers. It comes from the Sinhalese word for ‘lotus flower.’

Origin of the word

The word sapphire is derived from the Latin and Greek words for ‘blue’: sapphirus and sappheiros, which may have originally referred to another type of blue stone called Lapis Lazuli.


Gemstones are rated on their ability to withstand scratching based on a system called the Mohs Scale of Hardness, and sapphires score a 9 out of 10. Only a diamond, which has a 10 on the Mohs Scale, can scratch a sapphire. Their durability makes them an excellent choice for engagement rings.  Because of its hardness, sapphire also has industrial uses. The Apple Watch Series 3 features lab-created sapphire crystal in its screen to make it more scratch resistant, as do several Swiss watch companies.

Places of origin

Kashmir, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Sri Lanka are historically important sources for sapphires. Sapphires have been found in Australia, Tanzania, Thailand, Cambodia, Malawi, Madagascar, the US (Montana), among other countries in Asia and Africa.

Sapphires were discovered in Kashmir around 1881 after a landslide high in the Himalayas. Spectacular sapphires appeared further south as well. The stones faceted from these crystals established Kashmir sapphire’s reputation as one of the world’s most coveted gems. 

Sapphires have also been found alongside ruby deposits in the Mogok area of Myanmar. Burmese sapphires possess a rich, intense blue hue, making them particularly prized.  Myanmar is also a noted source of jadeite jade, spinel, zircon, amethyst, peridot and other fine gem materials. 

Sri Lanka has been an important source of sapphires for more than 2,000 years. The blue and fancy-color stones mined from the alluvial gravels of this “jewel box of the Indian Ocean” display remarkable brilliance and saturation. In addition, the island’s milky white “geuda” sapphires can be heat treated to a rich blue color.

Thailand is a source of sapphires and has a major cutting and treatment center in the Chanthaburi Province. Sapphires from Myanmar and Cambodia often go to Chanthaburi for cutting and treatment and are also sent to Bangkok.


Various cultures have attributed mystical powers to sapphires, including heavenly powers, truth, innocence, peace, and good health. It was believed that sapphires protected their wearers from evil. Because of their blue color, they are associated with the heavens. In fact, Europeans in the Middle Ages believed that sapphires cured eye diseases and preserved chastity, along with providing other heavenly blessings. Sapphires have also been used to symbolize nobility and faithfulness. In folklore story, art, and consumer awareness, sapphire has always been associated with the color blue. 

In addition, deep blue sapphires have long been associated with royalty (which likely contributed to the naming of the color “royal blue”). Royal blue sapphires were often worn by medieval kings, some of whom believed that the gemstones would protect them from their enemies.

The sapphire represents integrity, honesty, and honor.  The blue essence in a sapphire is of the highest quality and sets the standard in judging the quality of other blue gems, such as topaz and tanzanite. The ancient Greeks and Romans used them as protection stones that eliminated bad spirits and harm to the community.

In the 14th and 15th centuries, sapphire engagement rings were popular among royal families and the wealthy. However, the blue sapphire was the most popular stone because it represented honesty, loyalty, and truth.

Because sapphire symbolizes nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness, it has decorated the robes of royalty and clergy members for centuries. 

In the 18th and 19th centuries, people were purchasing sapphires because they were rarer than diamonds.  Sapphires were quite popular in Victorian engagement rings, where they were often surrounded by smaller diamonds to create floral designs.

Notable sapphires

French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte gave Josephine a two stone sapphire and diamond engagement ring in 1796. The ring sold at auction for close to a million dollars in 2013.

The Rockefeller Sapphire is a 62.02 carat (ct) rectangular step-cut stone that was unearthed in Myanmar (Burma). Acquired in 1934 by financier and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr. (1874–1960) from an Indian maharaja, the gem was recut and remounted over the years. The sapphire was first set as a brooch and later as a ring featuring two cut-cornered triangular diamond side stones.  

Prince Charles’ engagement ring to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 is the most famous sapphire today and is now worn by Princess Catherine. It features a 12-carat oval blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds.  So the history of the sapphire continues.

Unique attributes

Many people are surprised to find that sapphires can exhibit a phenomenon called the “star effect,” or asterism. This occurs when inclusions create a star pattern of rays on the surface of a dome-like cabochon-cut sapphire, often called a “star sapphire.”

Perhaps the most intriguing type of sapphire is the “color change” variety. These gemstones exhibit different colors depending on the lighting, subtly shifting from blue in daylight to bluish-purple in incandescent light.

Sapphire care & cleaning

Sapphires are tough and great for daily wear, but it is important to care for your stone on a regular basis. Warm, soapy water is always a safe choice for cleaning. Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe for untreated, heat-treated, and lattice diffusion–treated stones. Fracture-filled or dyed material should only be cleaned with a damp cloth. 

At Patronik, we provide free jewelry cleaning and stone maintenance to all our customers. 

The Benefits of Custom Design Jewelry

The Benefits of Custom Design Jewelry

Over my numerous years in the business designing unique pieces for customers, I still find that many people are surprised by just how easy the custom jewelry process is. Often they tell me “I thought it would be so much more complicated and take a long time, but this was simple and fun!” The most challenging and important task is finding a jeweler you can trust and feel comfortable with. Once you have that, you can begin to design any piece of jewelry you desire.

As a customer-first business, my process begins by understanding the customer’s vision, and in some cases, helping them to realize their vision. I always begin by discussing their ideas and then constructing renderings of different design options. The next step is creating a 3D wax mold of the piece so they have something tangible to react to and modify to their liking. Once we finalize the mold, a casting is made with the metal of their choice — gold, platinum, or sterling silver. We then polish and set the gemstones.

The customer is involved in every step of the way, and we work together to ensure we work within the allocated budget. One common misconception is that custom pieces are more expensive. This is not true. In fact, it can sometimes be cheaper than buying something ready-made; not to mention that the process is fun and enjoyable.

Working with your local jeweler also has many advantages:

  1. You establish trust and face-to-face rapport;
  2. You can have your jewelry cleaned, repaired, and checked regularly;
  3. You support your local community and make your downtown more vibrant.

Custom design is about the jewelry you wish to create; the desire to have something unique — a one of a kind piece. At Patronik Designs, we work out the details to make your jewelry vision a wearable heirloom for today and the future.

September Birthstone: Sapphire

September Birthstone: Sapphire

Have you ever wondered why there is a special stone for every month of the year? Commonly referred to as birthstones, experts believe they can be traced back to the Bible. According to Wonderopolis, “In Exodus 28, Moses sets forth directions for making special garments for Aaron, the High Priest of the Hebrews. Specifically, the breastplate was to contain twelve precious gemstones, representing the twelve tribes of Israel.  Later, these twelve stones were likely also linked to the twelve signs of the zodiac. Eventually, they also became associated with the twelve months of the calendar year.”

There is an ancient list of birthstones jewelers modified earlier this century. While the ancient list is still in use, confusing many people, the modern list is considered supplemental to the ancient list. We’ll start our birthstone history fun facts with September and add to it as the year continues. Enjoy!

A sapphire is a variety of corundum that adorns a deep blue color. The corundum takes on the blue coloring from trace amounts of both titanium and iron. The name sapphire comes from the Latin word for ‘blue stone,’ sapphirus. One of the benefits of sapphires is their hardness, registering a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale (diamond is a 10). This means it’s a strong and sturdy gemstone that you don’t have to worry about getting scratched. It also means this gem is useful for industrial purposes that take heavy wear and tear.

Deep blue sapphires are found in Kashmir, India, where some of the best sapphires in the world are found. You can also find sapphires in Australia and Madagascar. 

And sapphires don’t just come in blue. They literally come in a rainbow of colors! Be sure to take a look at some beautiful pinks.

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