by Ann Hudson
September's birthstone is the sapphire. Sapphires have a centuries-long association with royalty and romance, and September's birthstone jewelry incorporates beautiful sapphire gems. They're precious gemstones and a variety of the mineral corundum. Red corundum gems are rubies, and all other corundum shades are considered sapphires. September birthstone jewelry comes in many varieties and may also include lapis, which is the alternative September birthstone.
Color: The most popular and valuable sapphires are the traditional indigo-blue color, but sapphires come in many other colors, including white, yellow, black, and pink. Orange-pink sapphires are called padparadscha and have a unique fiery hue. Blue sapphire gems are valued, in part, on the purity of their shade and can have green, violet, or purple undertones. An abundance of violet and purple undertones is desired by most jewelry lovers.
Features: Coming in at 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, the sapphire is only slightly softer than the diamond. The star sapphire is a variation of this precious gem. It contains an intersection of inclusions that yield the pattern of a six-pointed star on the surface of the stone. Flawless sapphires are rare, and many beautiful sapphire gems are created in a lab to bring the beautiful blues, pinks, and yellows to all types of September birthstone jewelry.
Famous stones: Many famous pieces of sapphire jewelry are treasured for their beauty and gemstone size. The Queen Marie of Romania Sapphire is a one of the largest examples of this precious gem. The cornflower-blue sapphire is over 478 carats and was purchased in 2003 for $1,494,480. The Star of India Sapphire, which can be seen at New York's American Museum of Natural History, is a 563-carat star sapphire. Though it is not the largest star sapphire, it is unique because it has stars on both sides. The Logan Sapphire, on display at The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., is a flawless, 432-carat gem set into a gorgeous diamond brooch.
Lapis: Lapis lazuli is also an accepted September birthstone option. Lapis is a rock composed of lazurite and several other minerals. Lapis is a blue gemstone and is usually dotted with gold spots and veins. Lapis comes from Afghanistan and has a rich ancient history. Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Greeks all treasured lapis for its gorgeous hue and decorative properties.