Any corundum that is not red is a sapphire. The colouring agent can be iron, titanium or chrome, nickel vanadium or cobalt. and any colour can be found from green to yellow, pink, orange and white, but the most valuable and prized sapphires are of a deep blue colour. Indeed, blue is the main and most desired colour for the stone and it comes in all the blue shades of the sky.
Most sapphires are found in alluvial deposits. The most famous of these are found in Burma, Sri Lanka, Nigeria and Thailand, but they are also found in Kashmir, Cambodia and Kenya. Recent finds of lesser quality sapphire have been found in India, Russia, East Africa and Madagascar.
The name of sapphire come from the Greek word meaning blue. Many of the myths and legends attached to the stone relate to this link. The ancient Persians believed that the earth was embedded in a giant sapphire which gave us the colour of the surrounding sky. In ancient Greece and later in the Middle Ages, there was a belief that sapphires cured eye diseases and set prisoners free. Medieval alchemists related it to the element air, and the stones were believed to be an antidote against poisons and endowed with the power to influence spirits. In the East even today, the sapphire is regarded as a powerful charm against the evil eye. Blue sapphire was widely used in the jewellery of the Medieval kings of Europe. One of the oldest sapphires in the British State Crown is believed to date from the crown of Edward the Confessor’s coronet in AD 1042. Sapphire is the birthstone for September.