Monday, September 7, 2009

GEMSTONE OF THE MONTH - SAPPHIRE

A symbol of devotion to God and the mysterious planet Saturn, the magnetic, blue sapphire gemstone is widely known as the "Stone of Destiny."

The sapphire is derived from a non-red variety of the corundum mineral; the same mineral its twin, the ruby, originates from.


Sapphire also shares the ruby's tough, resistant exterior. According to folklore, it is believed The Ten Commandments were etched on sapphire tablets.

Sapphires are mined in many countries, including Australia, but the most exquisite medium-dark blue stones are found in Kashmir along the Himalayas.

Sri Lankan sapphires are a bit lighter than the Kashmir stones but still considered immensely beautiful. Some of the world's largest sapphires were found in Sri Lanka; however, the 61,500-carat Millennium Sapphire, found 14 years ago in Madagascar, currently holds the world record of largest sapphire.

Like many other gemstones, the color of sapphires varies and is not limited to shades of blue. There are clear, yellow, green, pink, and violet sapphires.

Aside from the medium-dark blue sapphire, the one other color variation considered just as valuable is called Padparadscha and is an orange-pink hue.

Everyone from clergymen of the Middle Ages to the late Princess Diana owned spectacular, blue sapphire rings. Among the world's most famous blue sapphires is the Logan Sapphire; a 423 carat stone found in Sri Lanka. It is mounted in a gorgeous brooch setting flanked by 20 round brilliant diamonds. The brooch is currently on display at the Smithsonian Institute.

Over the centuries, the ethereal blue stones were believed to protect its owners from the evil eye of envy, create peace between enemies, promote financial success, and cure sore throats.
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Photo 1 (top right): The Logan Sapphire Brooch
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