Sapphire is the birthstone for September. It symbolizes sincerity, truth, faithfulness and nobility.  For centuries, sapphire has adorned royalty. The ancient Greece and Rome believes that sapphire protected their owners from harm and envy.  In addition to being the September birthstone, sapphire is also the gem commemorating the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.

Sapphire and ruby belongs to the same family Corundum. While ruby can only be red, sapphire refers to all corundum that is not red. source: GIA

fancy colour sapphire
source: GIA



Although the term sapphire usually refers to the blue variety, sapphire actually comes in a rainbow of colours, such as pink, yellow, green, etc. They are referred to by adding the colour before “sapphire”, ie. Pink Sapphire, Yellow Sapphire.


royal sapphire ring

The most well known sapphire in the recent years is the 12ct blue sapphire ring first worn by Princess Diana and now by Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Another famous sapphire was the 62.02ct  Rockefeller Sapphire that was acquired in 1934 by John D. Rockefeller Jr. Other most famous historical sapphires include the 423ct Logan Blue Sapphire, the 563ct Star of India and the 478ct Queen Marie of Romania’s Sapphire


sapphire bracelet

When it comes to buying sapphire, colour is the most important quality factor.  The most highly valued blue sapphires are velvety blue to violetish blue, in medium to medium dark tones.  The saturation should be as strong as possible without darkening the colour or compromising brightness.

The most popular colour of sapphire in the market today is referred to as “royal blue”, which probably came from the British royal story of Princess Diana and her sapphire engagement ring.  Probably the most demanding colour of the September birthstone is the velvety “cornflower” blue from Kashmir.  Since the 1880s, “cornflower” sapphire has been considered the finest sapphire and has become a collector’s favourite.

Clarity is another factor to consider when buying sapphire.  Blue sapphires often have some inclusions. Clarity refers to the lack of inclusion in a stone.  Sapphires with extremely high clarity are rare and very valuable.

pear cut sapphire ring

Cut is one of the most important factors in appearance.  Sapphire are usually cut to achieve the best overall colour, maintain the best proportions, and retain the most weight possible.   Sapphire are commonly seen in oval cut, pear cut, cushion cut and emerald cut.

 sapphire set

Location is another important factor that affect sapphire’s value. Kashmir, Myanmar (formerly Burma) and Sri Lanka are three historically important sources for sapphire.  Kashmir sapphire has a very high reputation as one of the world’s most coveted gems and is very rare on the market.  Burmess sapphire can possess a rich, intense blue hue, which has made it particularly prized. Today, Sri Lanka is the steadies and largest producer of sapphire.  It is also the source for the very rare pink-orange sapphire known as padparadscha sapphire.  Sapphires from the above three locations are more in demand and usually particularly prized.

Significant quantities of the sapphire have also been found in Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar and the United States (Montana), among other countries in Asia and Africa.


sapphire brooch

Sapphire is a very hard, ranking 9 on the Mohs scale. It has excellent toughness and no cleavage which makes it a perfect choice for rings and for daily wear. Nowadays, most sapphire are treated to improve their colour and clarity. Heat treatment is the most common method and the results are permanent, so it is well accepted in the trade.  Less common treatment such as lattice diffusion, fracture filling and dyeing will require special care. Some fracture-filled and dyed sapphire can be damaged by even mild acids such as lemon juice or detergent.


Warm, soapy water is a safe choice for cleaning sapphire.  Ultrasonic and steam cleaners are usually safe for untreated or only heat-treated sapphire.