Did you know that the birthstone for September is sapphire? If you’re like me, you’ve perhaps known this by fact of being envious of those born in this month (I’m a February baby and, alas, amethysts are just not my thing). Sapphires are a favorite gemstone of mine so I thought I would share with you some of the fabulous qualities that make these beautiful gems so alluring…
Sapphires are a great example of how varied a single gemstone type can be. Sapphires are actually the same species as ruby, but the color difference is the result of different “impurities” entering the chemical composition. For example, corundum (the species group of sapphires and rubies) is a clear, crystalline form of aluminium oxide. When titanium and iron enter the compound, the crystal acquires a blue tint.
Rubies, on the other hand, are the result of chromium entering the picture. Sapphire (and ruby) gemstones the third hardest gems known to humans, following after diamond and moissanite, respectively. Thus, they are a great option for daily-wear rings because you run a lower risk of breaking of scratching a sapphire, as opposed to a very soft emerald or brittle opal.
Corundum comes in many colors, including orange, yellow, pink, red, and blue. If it’s red, it’s a ruby; if it’s any other color, it’s a sapphire. “Fancy” sapphires are non-blue sapphires and, depending on its hue, it may have is own trade name associated with its distinct color. For example, padparadscha sapphires are pinkish orange to orange-pink in hue with light to medium tone and vivid color hue. These aren’t simply “pink” sapphires; they’re amazingly beautiful, rare sapphires that are sourced almost exclusively from Sri Lanka. Padparadscha sapphires are my absolute favorite and I always covet them when I have the opportunity to work on a piece featuring these amazing gemstones.
But, other colored sapphires are beautiful, too. We’re currently featuring these multicolored sapphire and diamond huggies in our showroom and the vibrant yellows, pinks, and blues are what make these rainbow hued earrings truly stand out. They would be a great option for that September baby who maybe doesn’t love blue sapphires but relishes a good color scape.
Then again, it’s hard to go wrong with your traditional blue sapphire. We have a few options in our shop right now featuring the lovely blue that we typically think about when we daydream about royal jewelry. We’re all familiar with Princess Diana’s blue sapphire ring (now on Kate’s hand) which features a blue Ceylon sapphire, and our Art Deco-style sapphire and diamond cocktail highlights this same hue perfectly.
Looking for a more everyday gift? You cannot go wrong with blue sapphire studs. These are set in white gold, but we can customize to your choice of setting if you prefer a different style.
Or, if you’re in the market for an engagement ring, our cornflower blue sapphire and diamond ring features a slightly lighter shade of blue for a more calming blue than its vibrant Ceylon counterpart.
If none of these options is quite right, send me a note and I’ll come up with more ideas based on your individual aesthetic. As you’ve come to learn, the options for sapphires are nearly limitless!
Alexandria & Company is an Old Town-based workshop and design studio specializing in creating and restoring fine jewelry and silver hollowware. They are the in-the-know jewelers of Alexandria and have been serving clients out of their small workshop for decades. Tucked in their historic building on South Royal Street, the team at Alx&Co. brings a personalized, modern approach to their craft – this is not your average stodgy jeweler or antique shop. Visit them during their walk-in hours or online to view their collection of handmade fine jewelry or to drop off a repair project; or, if you’re feeling creative, make an appointment to talk about that custom design project you’ve been imagining.
121-B South Royal Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
Design Studio Walk-In Hours (all jewelry services): Wednesday – Saturday 12-6pm
Silver Workshop Walk-In Hours (all silver repair and restoration services): Wednesday or Friday 12-6pm, or by appointment
Appointments encouraged for custom design.