Sapphire, an extremely hard gem whose name comes from the Greek word “sappheiros”, or “blue stone”, actually comes in a variety of colors and types. Although blue is the most common color, sapphires can also naturally occur in yellow, orange, and green. Sapphires can also occur as pink; its pink tone is caused by chromium impurities in the stone.
Another sapphire is the star sapphire. Its name comes from six-sided star-like images which appear within the stone when viewed from an overhead light source. Some misshapen star sapphires actually produce a cat's eye effect when viewed using the same light source.
There are also two very rare sapphires. One is the color change sapphire, which changes colors when viewed using natural or artificial light. The other is the the padparadscha sapphire, first discovered in Sri Lanka. This sapphire appears as a salmon color, which closely resembles the color of the lotus flower.
Sapphire jewelry, using sapphires of all different types, has been popular for thousands of years. Today it is popular to give sapphire necklaces to a loved one born in September since sapphire is September's birthstone. Because of sapphire's hardness it has also become associated with fidelity and sapphire rings are sometimes given as engagement rings.