September and October Birthstones: Sapphire and Opal

Pumpkin spice and everything nice! September and October babies, it’s your turn to learn about your birthstone jewelry journey and we promise there won’t be any pumpkin spice involved.

No matter your age, gender, nationality, or religion, there’s no denying that learning about your birthstone can be a fun and entertaining experience, and quite educational. Birthstones carry secrets with countless myths and legends around many different powers and attributes that each stone carries. Whether you choose to believe those myths or not is yours to decide.

Let’s discover what powerful attributes September and October birthstones carry.

September’s Birthstone: Sapphire

A gem that has been cherished for literally thousands of years, the sapphire birthstone belongs to the month of September carrying an undeniable notion of royalty and romance among those who wear it.

Sapphire and Diamond Ring

Where Sapphire is Found

Sapphires were said to first be found in Kashmir around 1881 when a landslide in the Himalayas exposed a large pocket of velvety “cornflower” blue crystals. From that point on, the world began searching for more of these stones, uncovering them in Sri Lanka, Australia, Thailand, Cambodia, Madagascar and even the United States.

For more than 2,000 years, Sri Lanka has been a main source for the September birthstone. The stone is mined from the sedimentary gravels of the “jewel box of the Indian Ocean.”

Thailand is another major location for sapphires and acts as quite the cutting and treatment center for the gem.

History and Lore of Sapphire

Originating from the Greek word sappheiros, the blue sapphire has many legends associated with the stone. Clerics of the Middle Ages believed it symbolized Heaven. Ancient Persians, on the other hand, believed the earth actually rests on a giant sapphire which is why the sky is blue.

In addition, the September birthstone is known to be full of powers. Having acted as a protector from harm and envy for the elite of ancient Greece and Rome to having healing powers as it was thought to be an antidote to poison for the Medieval Europeans, there’s no denying there’s more to this beautiful coloured stone than meets the eye.

In addition to being September’s birthstone, sapphire is also known to be the gem commemorating 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries.

Sapphire and Diamond Drop Earrings

How to Care for a Sapphire

Ranking a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphires have excellent toughness and hardly any cleavage which means they are very hard to break. That’s why they are a popular choice for rings and other daily wear jewellery.

However, the September birthstone is often treated to improve its colour or clarity. That’s why heat treatment is quite common since it results in permanent changes.

Before purchasing any sapphire, be sure to ask your jeweller if the stone has been treated and if so, by what method. There are some methods out there that can actually cause damage to the stone such as fracture-filling or dyeing.

When it comes to caring for your sapphire at home, warm and soapy water is the best choice. If your stone has been heat-treated you can use ultrasonic and steam cleaners. If it’s been fracture-filled or dyed, it should only be cleaned with a damp cloth.

October’s Birthstone: Opal

One of the world’s most precious jewels, October babies get to reap the benefits and beauty of their birthstone, the opal. A symbol of faithfulness and confidence with an array of colours bouncing off the stone from every angle when light hits, the opal creates a rainbow in anyone’s life.

Opal and Diamond Necklace

Where Opal is Found

While October’s captivating birthstone can be found in many places around the world, Australia is known to be quite the hotspot for producing the gem. Both black and white opals can be found in New South Wales, Australia while the boulder opal is mined in Queensland, Australia, the only place in the world it has been found.

Ethiopia, Mexico and Brazil are also known sources for finding opals of all colours from white, yellow, and orange to brown, red and even crystal opal. The magical gems are often buried in steep cliffs that tower over landscapes.

History and Lore of Opal

Known to many as “play-of-colour” the traditional October birthstone is believed to have originated in India where it was first called upala, meaning “precious stone.” Often compared to fireworks, volcanoes and even galaxies, the opal has many legends associated with it.

Bedouins once believed the gemstone originally fell from the sky during thunderstorms and they hold lightening. Ancient Greeks believed opals bestowed the gift of prophesy and protection from disease while Europeans trusted the opal to be a symbol of purity, hope and truth.

Since the opal holds many colours of the rainbow, some believe the stone actually embodies the virtues and powers of all coloured stones, from rubies and emeralds to sapphires and amethysts. For this reason, and many others, the October birthstone is the stone to celebrate a 14th wedding anniversary.

Opal and Diamond Ring in Box

How to Care for an Opal

A softer gem compared to others, the October birthstone ranges from 5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and can scratch relatively easy. When storing the stone, it’s best to do so by itself so that other jewels such as diamonds, emeralds and rubies don’t scratch it.

When it comes to cleaning your opal stone, warm and soapy water is the safest route as other cleaning methods can damage the opal or the filler material if any was used.

For opal doublets and triplets, fine slices of opal are glued together to a base material and then covered with a thin dome of clear quartz. Because of this, you shouldn’t expose your opal to water since that can weaken the adhesive.

It’s important to note that even natural opal can fracture if exposed to high heat or sudden temperature changes.

If you were born in September or October, count your blessings because there are many out there who adore your birthstones. And if you know someone with a September or October birthday coming up, consider giving them a piece of their history with a birthstone jewellery piece – a gift today, an heirloom tomorrow.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed or want to learn more about a specific birthstone, you can always consult with our staff at J.H. Young in Brantford. We’re happy to help with your birthstone jewelry journey. Visit our newly renovated store today to view our selection and get started.