The Mythology of the Sapphire

The Blue Gemstone Symbolic of Fidelity and the Soul

Feb 4, 2010, Sarah Todd

In ancient times the gift of a sapphire was a promise of honesty, loyalty, purity and trust. Today the sapphire is one of the most popular engagement gemstones.
September’s birthstone is also the birthstone for the astrological signs of Taurus, Virgo, Sagittarius and Pisces. The sapphire is the gem commemorating the 5th, 23rd and 45th wedding anniversaries. The star sapphire is given on the 65th wedding anniversary.

The Sapphire in Religion
Ancient folklore claims the sapphire bestows spiritual enlightenment and inner peace upon its wearer, as well as providing protection from harm. Because sapphires were thought to hold the power of wisdom, those wearing these gemstones would be guided to make the correct decision when faced with obstacles and difficult situations. Sapphires have been credited with the ability to detect purity and faith, as well as possessing the power to foretell the future and attract divine favour. Because the sapphire represents purity of purpose and deed medieval-era church officials chose the gemstone to decorate their rings and sceptres.
The Ten Commandments handed to Moses by God in the Bible were said to have been carved on sapphire. Different English Bible translations believe the word “Sapir” in Exodus 28:18 is “sapphire”, referring to the stone on the garments of the priest of the Issacar tribe.

The Sapphire in Folklore
Eastern cultures treasure the sapphire as a talisman for warding off evil; in India a sapphire necklace affords its wearer powerful protection. In the West, the unique star sapphire is known as the Stone of Destiny, with the three lines crossed lines that form the "star" representing Faith, Hope and Charity. Such is the power of the star sapphire it is believed the gemstone will continue to guide and protect its first wearer even after it has been passed to other people.
Greek mythology claims that when Prometheus stole fire from the gods to give to mortals he also stole a sapphire. The dreadful punishment exacted by the gods for this misdeed would indicate the sapphire failed to protect the unfortunate Prometheus. Ancient Persians believed the earth rested on a giant blue sapphire, and the gemstone’s colour was reflected onto the sky.
In the Middle Ages blue gemstones were used to treat eye diseases and as an antidote to poison. Members of royalty wore sapphire around their necks to protect them from envy, poison and harm. Sapphires were considered to be an effective treatment for colic and rheumatism, as well as being used to ease certain mental illnesses.

The Mystical Power of the Sapphire
Belief in the mythological power of the sapphire was so strong it was said that a sapphire worn by a wicked, evil person would not shine. The sapphire was thought to have the power to influence spirits, and was popular with witches and necromancers who used it to communicate with the dead.
During the eighteenth century a gemstone known as the “Saphire Merveilleux” became famous as a test of feminine virtue. This gemstone, like many sapphires, changed colour according to the light source. In daylight it was a deep blue colour, changing to a deep violet under artificial light. To prove her faithfulness, or lack thereof, the subject had to wear the stone for three hours. The owner of this sapphire appears to have been aware of the light-changing feature - to establish the wearer’s innocence she would be given the stone to wear in daylight hours. When a subject’s guilt was sought the test would be scheduled to begin in daylight and end at night, when candles and lamps were the only source of light.

Therapeutic Qualities of the Sapphire
The sapphire is considered an anti-depressant and has a positive effect upon different health issues, like hearing, burns and cancer. It also eases inflammation and lowers fevers. Sapphires are said to enable their wearers with insight, clairvoyance and telepathy. Natural healers use the sapphire to get rid of unwanted thoughts, and to bring joy, peace and wealth. It is also thought to help heal blood problems. The sapphire is used to treat the energy imbalances said to cause sore throats, headaches and nightmares.
The world’s largest sapphire, the Millennium Sapphire, was discovered in Madagascar in 1995. It originally measured nearly 90,000 carats, and was designated a national treasure. Rather than break this unique gemstone into many smaller sapphires it was decided to use the stone as a tribute to mankind’s greatest achievements. Today the Millennium Sapphire features 134 elaborate surface carvings, ranging from the pyramids at Giza to Neil Armstrong’s moon landing. After the carvings were completed the enormous gemstone weighed 12,3 kilograms and measured 61,500 carats. The Millennium Sapphire is valued at over $100 million.