Sapphire: Symbolism & Legends

When it comes to the most elegant of precious gemstones out there, few can compete with the sublime beauty of sapphires.

Probably best known for their deep, gorgeous blue that they are best known for (although others colors have been found), sapphires have long been a gemstone that has sat in the minds of people throughout time and history.

Sapphire: Symbolism & Legends

And, as with many items that have been around for hundreds, if not thousands of years, they have also built up quite a lot of cultural and historical significance.

And that’s exactly what we’re going to explore today!

In this little guide that we have put together, we are going to show you some of the symbolism that this bedazzling little gemstone has carried throughout the centuries, as well as some of the most famous myths that sapphires have carried alongside their history.

They’re often more linked than you’d believe!

A Little More Information On Sapphires

Before we delve any further into these particular gemstones and their symbolism, we should probably cover them in a little more detail first, just so we have an idea of just how long sapphires have been in the public conscience.

What Are Sapphires?

Sapphires are considered a type of corundum mineral, being of two types of this gem to currently be known about. The other example is, perhaps unsurprisingly, the ruby.

Sapphires get their color from the other minerals and chemicals in the rock as they form. The purest diamonds that lack any of these impurities are clear in color, which can come as a surprise to some people.

Outside of colorless and blue, sapphires can be found in a massive range of colors, from yellow to gray, to black, to even orange-red!

This can make it quite difficult for an amateur geologist to determine whether or not a gem that they have found is a sapphire or a different type of gemstone.

However, one thing that all sapphires have in common is their durability.

Gemstones and other rocks often test their durability against the Mohs hardness scale, with 1 being the lowest, and 10 the toughest, texting for their ability to scratch and be scratched by other objects.

Sapphires rate at around a 9, making them some of the toughest gems in the world, second only to the fabled diamond.

History of Sapphires

While the name for sapphires was first coined in the Middle Ages by gemstone shapers and crafters, sapphire history goes back much further.

The stone was favored by many Christian kings and Emperors of the 500s, with its believed ties to heaven being a way for them to garner divine favor.

However, it’s arguably in India where we see the longest-known history of this gem. Considering that the Kashmir region of India is home to some of the most famous sapphire mines in the world, probably shouldn’t be too surprising!

He, we find the sapphire being an integral part of Hindu culture and even worship rituals, where it was believed that using sapphires in rituals would garner the favor of Shani, the deity and personification of the planet Saturn.

We also find that Sapphires are revered in Buddhism too, as the gem is seen as a gem that brought tranquility and calmness to the mind, making them very popular items for Buddhist monks to pray and meditate with.

Sapphire: Symbolism & Legends

Symbolism Of Sapphires

So, as we can see, there’s plenty of history to go around with this beautiful gemstone.

So, what sort of symbolism has become attached to it over the years?

Sapphires, the Seasons & The Zodiacs

Staying on the theme of celestial bodies, sapphires are also tied to specific times of the year.

Specifically, Sapphires have been tied to the season of springtime, with their deep blue color often reflecting the gloom of early morning and nights before they are lifted by the rising sun.

Likewise, Sapphires are also a zodiac gem for both the signs Taurus and Gemini, making this a cornerstone (pun intended) of astrology and other similar divinations from the stars.

Royalty & Nobility

Nobility and sapphires are a tale as old as time, it seems. We’ve talked about how many early Christian kings would often wear sapphires in jewelry such as signet rings as a means of staying closer to the divine, as well as protection from harm.

This tradition, like many others, outlived the initial creators of this idea, and the gem became a staple jewel for many members of the nobility and royal houses to have across Europe.

Charles V often carried a sapphire on a ring so that he could cure people, a practice that many Catholic priests emulated in the late Medieval period.

This connection to nobility and healing is still present in many beliefs surrounding Sapphires today.

Myths Around Sapphires

Symbol Of Venus

Like many other beautiful objects, humans have often attached some element of divinity or greater powers when it comes to beautiful gemstones, and the sapphire is no exception.

The sapphire has long been associated with the planet Venus named after the roman goddess of fertility, victory, and the patron deity of the city of Rome back when it was both the Roman Republic and Empire, an association that has long since outlived the culture that made this connection.

Gift Of Apollo

The iconic Greek god of prophecy, music, the arts, and unfortunate one-night stands (it seems) had a reputation for giving his chosen people and patrons gifts.

While many of us probably wouldn’t want any gift offered from a deity whose mortal lovers often found themselves dying tragically, the gift of prophecy is perhaps the most famous and sort after, with the Oracle of Delphi being the greatest of these prophets and future seers.

Those who wished to speak to the oracle of Delphi were often required to wear the gem to allow the fabled ‘third eye’ to be seen, and allow greater clarity of vision.

With a sapphire, the Oracle of Delphi’s predictions that otherwise didn’t make sense would otherwise become much clearer. 

Symbol Of Shani/Saturn

We’ve already mentioned how Sapphires are considered a symbol of the Hindu god Shani, the personification of the planet Saturn.

However, one of the aspects that Shani represented was the concept of divine judgment, justice, and retribution. In this sense, holding or wearing a sapphire was a way of pleasing Shani in the hopes of changing your luck around for the better.

As such, there are plenty of stories of poor men becoming wealthy, sickly people becoming healthy, and even retribution to one’s enemies.

Offering a sapphire to Shani could be considered a pretty desperate act, as sapphires were still a rare item to have, so giving one up to Shani was a sign that your luck had hit rock bottom, and was in desperate need of some karmic change of some kind!

Final Thoughts

So, there you have it!

Sapphires have a long and storied history with the many peoples that have found and coveted them for themselves.

Sapphires always seem to have been a symbol of calmness, and peace. If you are lucky enough to have one of these precious gemstones in your possession, we hope that your sapphire brings peace to you too.

Andrea Daehma
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