Australian Sapphire Birthstone Jewellery

Thursday, 1 September 2022
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Your Ultimate Guide to Sapphire Birthstone Jewellery  

 Often, when people envision sapphire birthstone jewellery, they conjure up images of deep blue stones which have a rather aquatic vibe. They are designated as the birthstone for those born in the month of September, the birth month of both Virgos and Libras, strong personalities who usually wear such powerful colours in their September birthstone rings very successfully. 

 However, sapphire birthstone jewellery, like the sapphire itself, comes in a rainbow of different colours, and the less common sapphire colours, including pink and yellow, are gaining in popularity with gemstone fans, and are being found in September birthstone rings more frequently, not just because of their meaning, but also because they are stunningly beautiful. 

 What are Sapphires Anyway? 

The sapphire is a gem formed from corundum, an aluminum oxide mineral that can be found just under the surface of the Earth. As demonstrated by the white sapphire, corundum is a transparent, colorless mineral on its own; it is only when trace minerals are added to the mix that sapphires acquire the rainbow of colours that we are most familiar with. The fact that rubies include corundum even though they belong to a different class of gemstone should not be overlooked. 

 No two sapphires will ever be exactly alike; even those belonging to the same colour family vary widely in terms of their hue, undertones, and saturation, as well as their inclusions, requiring a slightly different cut to bring out the best colour. Sapphires are incredibly rare. 

 In addition to the variety seen in this gemstone category, sapphires are incredibly resilient, coming in at level 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, second only to diamonds. 

 When using the Mohs Hardness Scale, which Frederich Mohs created in 1812, a mineral’s hardness is determined by scratching it against another mineral that has already been tested for hardness. The outcome is a ranking from 1 to 10, with talc coming in at the bottom of the scale and diamond coming in at the top. 

Sapphires and corundum are resistant to abrasions such as scratching, breaking, chipping, or cracking, which means that sapphire birthstone jewellery can usually be worn on a daily basis, even by those who lead a more active lifestyle, without the gem coming to harm. 

 Where are Sapphires Found? 

 Sapphires are found all over the world. But while many gemstone fans might be familiar with sapphires mined in the East, primarily in Burma, Sri Lanka and Thailand, Australia is also home to rich deposits of sapphires, and these gems have some unique properties that truly set them apart. 

 The two principal sources of Australian sapphires are Anakie in central Queensland, and New England in northern New South Wales. 

Inverell, New South Wales, provided the earliest known reports of mineable sapphire in 1854. Though it took approximately 40 years for the first sapphire mining to begin.  Geologist Archibald John Richardson found green sapphires that were initially mistaken for emeralds in 1873. Although he originally was unable to find a market for these gems, he bought the nearby acreage in order to develop the site. 

 By the middle of the 1880s, the area had begun to flourish as a railway connection to Anakie was built, and its potential was recognized. Most of the early Australian sapphire production in the 1890s was sold to German consumers, who then shipped the gems to tsarist Russia. After the Anakie region was declared a mining field in 1902, two tons of sapphire and other corundum had been taken out by 1913. 

 Mining almost came to an end with the outbreak of World War I and the fall of Imperial Russia; it wasn’t until the 1960s that the market for rough sapphires increased and mining at Anakie was restored. 

 The villages of Inverell and Glen Innes, also known as the New England fields, are the center of Australia’s second-largest mining region. Despite the fact that sapphire was initially discovered here, mining did not begin for several decades and only occasionally performed until 1959. New England fields mining was not very profitable until the early 1960s, much like the mining at Anakie. 

 What Colours are Australian Sapphires? 

It’s often the unique colours of Australian sapphires that make them so appealing, both as September birthstone jewellery, a September birthstone ring, and  wearing it in general highlighting the beauty of the stone. 

 The majority of Australian sapphires with gem quality credentials are blue in color. These hues range from a nearly colourless bluish hue to a deep royal blue that, when cut, almost looks black. However, medium to dark blue gemstones make up the majority of the colour spectrum. 

 Various shades of greenish-blue rank as the second most popular sapphire colour in Australia. This lovely spectrum typically appears in light to medium tones which are just a little bit greenish blue. 

 Green and yellow are two additional notable sapphire colours. The yellow variation includes strong gold, orange, and light yellow varieties. The greens come in a variety of attractive hues, from mild to nearly black tones, including yellow-green, yellowish-green, and brownish-green. 

There are also Australian sapphires which are pink, purple, and mauve, although these stones are very uncommon. Additionally, there are sapphires that can alter their colour based on the lighting they are exposed to. While some stones shift from greenish-yellow to orangey pink, others exhibit effects resembling those of alexandrite. 

 Part-color Australian sapphire, which has coarse banding of green, blue, and yellow inside a single stone, is another lovely and exotic kind. Wattle sapphire is a word used to describe parti-coloured stones that range from green with a hint of yellow to yellow with a hint of green. Wattle sapphire, when cut properly, has the potential to be among the most exquisite members of the corundum family. 

 Australian specimens can also include star sapphires, which typically appear in black and bronze. They also come in other colours, such blue, blue-gray, and sometimes, green and gold. In short, you can usually find sapphire birthstone jewellery to suit every taste, every outfit, and every colour preference, so even those not born in September may want to check it out! 

 Sapphires in Legend and Myth 

 Often, those who love to wear a September birthstone ring also love to know about the myths and legends behind it. In fact, those stories and meanings are usually reasons people love birthstone jewellery in general. 

 As is the case for most gemstones, the legends and myths surrounding sapphires date back to antiquity. Sapphire was linked by the Greeks to the god Apollo. Due to the widespread notion that sapphires are linked to the spirit realm; they were frequently worn at the renowned oracle at Delphi. 

 Sapphires were later prized by those claimed to be witches and necromancers because of their alleged power to access the “third eye” and they were also believed to have significant healing powers. 

Sapphires were even more significant to the ancient Persians. They believed that blue sapphires were really pieces of a massive pedestal that held up the world and whose reflections gave the sky its blue colour. Wearing a sapphire was considered a personal connection to the universe, and even to its wisdom. 

 In later centuries, sapphires – especially darker blue sapphires – became more closely associated with wealth and royalty, and that was especially the case for European royalty. 

 The British Royal Family has always been associated with sapphires. Sapphires of all colours were favoured by both Henry VIII and his daughter, Queen Elizabeth, and ‘Bonnie’ Prince Charles was a big fan too. The Crown Jewels contain sapphires, and Princess Diana’s engagement ring, which was given to Princess Catherine, was famously set with a Ceylon sapphire. Even more recently, Princess Eugenie set a new sapphire trend when she chose a salmon hued pink sapphire ring when she became engaged. 

 Whatever your reason for choosing sapphire birthstone jewellery, whether it’s for its colour, its significance to your birthday, its mystical reputation, or a combination of all of this, there’s no doubt that it is some of the most beautiful, and even durable, you can wear. 

Author Bio

Jill Hansen runs Anastasia’s Of Broome and is a highly recognised expert in both the fields of South Sea Pearls and Diamonds. Jill trained in seeding pearls in the Cook Islands by Japanese Pearl Technicians, and established a wholesale pearl business selling pearls all over the world. She pioneered the combination of pearls and diamonds to create Lust™ Pearls, a unique fusion of these two beautiful gemstones. Jill holds the prestigious recognition of being an Antwerp Diamond Broker for selecting and sourcing Diamonds direct from the diamond capital of the world, Antwerp. She is a diamond expert and is happy to use and impart her knowledge to help customers make informed decisions.

Not sure what your birthstone is check out our article on all monthly gemstones here.

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