Sapphire is September's birthstone. Before becoming a birthstone, sapphire jewelry was worn for other reasons. Although sapphires occur naturally in a range of colors, the most common is sky-blue. Because of this, sapphire jewelry was also worn because of the gem's believed connection to the gods.
In Ancient Egypt, sapphire necklaces were worn in order to increase the wearer's favor with the gods. In Ancient Rome, people wore sapphire necklaces and sapphire rings as protection from jealousy and possible physical injury by enemies. Later on, in the Middle Ages, kings and queens wore sapphire jewelry as a way to show their connection to God, which reinforced their authority.
In the East, sapphires have been treasured for similar reasons. Sapphires have been used to decorate sacred shrines and spaces of worship for thousands of years. Some Buddhist orders believe wearing sapphire necklaces can help the wearer attain true contentment as as long as the wearer leads a moral life. And one of the rarest sapphires, the padparadscha sapphire, is found in the Far East. Its name means “lotus color” because the sapphire resembles the color of the lotus flower, a flower which Buddhists associate with the spiritual journey towards enlightenment.