Sapphire

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Sapphire is a member of the most popular family of colored gemstones – corundum (Al2O3). We all encounter sapphire on a regular basis as it has many common uses. It is used in watch crystals, in lasers and electronic equipment, but the place you probably see it the most is at the grocery store as the scanning window at the checkout station. This variety of applications is due partially to its clarity and to the Mohs scale hardness of 9, which ranks it as the second hardest (scratch resistant) natural material behind diamond. In addition it has been relatively easy to manufacture since 1902.

Though it is found in nature in virtually every color, blue is the hue most commonly associated with sapphire. What about red sapphire? That would be ruby, but we’ll save that for another article. A rainbow of colored sapphires can commonly be found in a single jewelry item.

When rutile crystals align in corundum, they create a phenomenon known as asterism which is star sapphire. Synthetic blue star sapphires were very popular in the 1960s and 70s.

New-age practitioners will prescribe sapphire for spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. Legend has it that this versatile gem offers healing powers for rheumatism, colic and mental health. Many believe it to be an antidepressant , and an aid to telepathy, clairvoyance and astral projection. “I knew I was going to say that.”

Sapphire is the birthstone for September and is given to celebrate the 5th, 23rd, and 45th wedding anniversaries, while a star sapphire is presented on the 65th anniversary. If you were lucky enough to be born in September you can celebrate with your favorite color in a very durable and legendary gemstone. If you weren’t born this month, just pick your favorite color of sapphire and enjoy!

Have a sparkling week!

For specific gem and jewelry questions visit www.kentjewelryrolla.com where you will find a link to the American Gem Trade Association website or contact Kent at kent@kentjewelry.com. Kent Bagnall is the owner of Kent Jewelry in Downtown Rolla, Missouri.