The birthstone for September is the gorgeous sapphire (you lucky people). When you think of a sapphire you would automatically assume they’re blue, but did you know that sapphires actually come in a range of different colours? Pink, purple, yellow, orange, black, white, these and many more are all available when It comes to sapphires. What about red I hear you ask, do sapphires come in red? Well yes they do, however the sapphire shares the same chemical composition as the ruby. When comparing a red ruby and sapphire there is no definitive demarcation; so in most cases, near-red sapphire would be classed as inferior coloured ruby. So it's common practice to trade near-red sapphire as a quality fancy colour sapphire, rather than as a lower grade ruby. Just to keep things complicated of course!
‘Fancy sapphire' is what the ranges of different colours are called. This is because for many years only the blue sapphire was seen as a ‘true’ sapphire. Nowadays with all the colours acknowledged as ‘true’ sapphires they differentiate them by referring to them as fancy sapphires. These fancy sapphires are typically traded using colour-specific names, such as yellow sapphire, green sapphire or purple sapphire. It wasn't always that simple though, through the years there were several misleading names used for coloured sapphire varieties, most of which are no longer used, such as 'Oriental peridot', a term which was used to refer to green sapphire.
Although most of this post has been dedicated to discussing coloured sapphires, I couldn’t resist bringing up the largest sapphire that has been discovered, which of course is a good old blue one. According to the American Museum of Natural History website its also one of the best known objects In the world. The star of India! It weighs an amazing 536 carats ( :O that’s one big gemstone). Discovered about three hundred years ago in Sri Lanka, the Star of India was donated to the American Museum of Natural History by the financier J.P. Morgan. Later the infamous burglar, Jack Murphy, (AKA "Murphy the Surf"), stole the stone. Its recovery two months later only added to its fame. Not bad for 2 billion years old stone?