Sapphire, Lapis Lazuli and Carnelian: September’s stunning birthstones
September, the month between the wondrous sunny Summer days we have had and the crisp Autumn weather that lies ahead; and it is also forever associated with the act of emerging from Summer and going back to work or school. It is also a month that has many stunning birthstones. Sapphire is the most renowned of these stones, but Lapis Lazuli and Carnelian are also brilliant stones that have been used to create some enchanting pieces of jewellery.
The word sapphire has a long etymology, linked to a number of ancient words for “blue”. The colour blue is what people think of first when they hear sapphire, because the most valuable form of the gemstone is that deep, dark indigo we all know so well.
However, sapphire also comes in many other shades. Both sapphire and ruby are forms of the mineral corundum, but sapphire comes in a rainbow of colours – almost all of them, except for red. When corundum is red, it is then classified as a ruby.
Blue sapphires are thought of as one of the “big four” gemstones, but for those born in September you can claim the whole spectrum of colours that sapphires can appear as.
Sapphire’s have always been treasured and give great significance. They are associated with royalty and wealth. The sapphire blue is also synonymous with the idea of paradise across various religions, and the ancient Persians believed that the sky reflected a giant sapphire upon which the earth rested.
Sapphire has been used for thousands of years as gemstones in jewellery.
There are many famous jewellery pieces made from the gemstone. Sapphire’s classic shade of blue can be seen in the central stone of the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring, the deep sea blue of that enormous stone in the Imperial State Crown, and that Bulgari sautoir Elizabeth Taylor was gifted by Richard Burton.
It’s also been used to make brilliant modern jewellery, such as this sapphire tennis bracelet.
If you are looking to add some wonderful sapphire pieces of jewellery to your collection this month, there are some especially beautiful rings that have been created from the iconic stone.
This timeless Ceylon Sapphire ring is a beautiful example of jewellery at its best. A stunning stone, wonderful diamonds and well made setting.
Or if you prefer something with a little more bling, this Oval Sapphire and Diamond ring might be more your style.
Lapis lazuli, often known simply as Lapis, is a deep-blue metamorphic stone. It has been a stone prized since antiquity for its intense colour.
There have been lots of lapis lazuli artefacts found dating back to 7570 BC, at the oldest known site of the Indus Valley civilisation.
In more recent times, lapis lazuli began arriving in Europe at the end of the Middle Ages, where it was ground into powder and made into ultramarine, the finest and most expensive of all blue pigments. Ultramarine was used by some of the most important artists of the Renaissance and Baroque era; including Masaccio, Perugino, Titian and Vermeer. The pigment was so valuable that it was often reserved for the clothing of the central figures of their paintings, especially the Virgin Mary.
This is why the stone is so valuable.
Lapis Lazuli jewellery
When you first think of jewellery, lapis lazuli probably doesn’t come to mind; but it has been used to make some brilliant pieces. The stone takes to polish really well, meaning it can look really good when finished properly. The natural flecks of gold and dark indigo pigment give Lapiz pieces really character.
Carnelian is a stone famed for its vivid colours, with earthy red tones that make you think of Mars.
Carnelian has been used to make some great earthy jewellery.
The deeper red tones can be seen in a piece like this.
Or there are other pieces that have been polished and look more orange.
If you would like to explore more birthstone content, we covered August’s most famous birthstone Peridot, as well as the slightly more obscure Spinel and Sardonyx.