The History and Symbolism of Sapphires

The History and Symbolism of SapphiresSapphires have been a favorite gemstone for centuries, with a rich history and symbolism that has endured throughout the ages. From ancient civilizations to modern times, sapphires have been admired for their beauty and significance.

In this article, we will explore the history and symbolism of sapphires, their famous varieties, and how to care for them.

History of Sapphires

The use of sapphires dates back to ancient times, with evidence of their use in ancient Persia and Greece. The Persians believed that the blue of the sapphire represented the heavens and that the earth rested on a giant sapphire, which gave it its color. Greeks, on the other hand, thought that sapphires protected their wearers from envy and harm.

In the Middle Ages, sapphires were a symbol of the heavens, making them a popular gemstone for the clergy. It was believed that wearing a sapphire could help one maintain a connection with the divine, and protect against evil. Sapphires were also used by royalty as a symbol of power and wealth and adorned crowns, scepters, and other regal artifacts.

The discovery of sapphires in Sri Lanka, Kashmir, and Myanmar in the 19th century brought sapphires to a wider audience. The famous Kashmir sapphires were renowned for their velvety blue color, while the Sri Lankan sapphires were prized for their clarity and brilliance. The Burmese sapphires were known for their intense blue color, making them a popular choice for royalty and celebrities.

Symbolism of Sapphires

Blue sapphires are the most popular variety and are often associated with loyalty and faithfulness. Sapphires were a popular choice for engagement rings before diamonds became the norm. The famous royal blue sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to Princess Diana and is now worn by Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, is a prime example of this trend.

Sapphires also have other symbolic meanings depending on their color. Pink sapphires, for instance, are associated with love and are often given as a gift to signify romantic love. Yellow sapphires, on the other hand, are associated with wisdom and are often worn by scholars and teachers. Green sapphires are said to symbolize growth and renewal and are often associated with the earth.

Sapphires have also played a significant role in popular culture and literature. In J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, sapphires are said to have protective properties and are often used to ward off dark magic. In the Lord of the Rings series by J.R.R. Tolkien, sapphires are said to have the power to heal and restore. In both cases, sapphires are portrayed as precious and powerful stones.

Famous Sapphires

The world’s most famous sapphires are not only beautiful but also have fascinating stories behind them. One of the most famous sapphires is the Star of India, which is a 563-carat sapphire that is currently housed at the American Museum of Natural History. The Star of India was discovered in Sri Lanka in the 19th century and has been a source of fascination ever since.

Another famous sapphire is the Logan Sapphire, which is a 423-carat stone that is currently part of the Smithsonian Institution’s collection. The Logan Sapphire was discovered in Sri Lanka in 1902 and was later purchased by a wealthy American businessman. It was donated to the Smithsonian in 1960 and has been on display ever since, drawing in crowds of admirers with its deep blue hue.

The Blue Belle of Asia is another famous sapphire that weighs in at an impressive 400 carats. This sapphire was discovered in Sri Lanka in the 1920s and was eventually purchased by a wealthy private collector. The Blue Belle of Asia was auctioned off in 2014 for over $17 million, making it one of the most expensive sapphires ever sold.

Caring for Sapphires

Sapphires are durable gemstones, ranking 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, second only to diamonds. However, they still require some care to maintain their color and luster. Here are some tips for caring for sapphires:

  1. Avoid exposing sapphires to harsh chemicals or extreme temperatures.
  2. Store sapphires separately from other gemstones to prevent scratches and damage.
  3. Clean sapphires regularly with warm soapy water and a soft brush to remove dirt and debris.
  4. Avoid using ultrasonic cleaners or steam cleaning, which can damage the stone.
  5. Take sapphires to a jeweler for professional cleaning and maintenance if necessary.

Preserving the color of sapphires is also important. While sapphires are known for their deep blue color, exposure to sunlight and heat can cause them to fade over time. It’s best to avoid wearing sapphires in direct sunlight and to store them in a cool, dark place when not in use.

Conclusion

Sapphires are timeless gemstone that has captured the hearts of people for centuries. Their rich history and symbolism make them a popular choice for jewelry, and their beauty is unmatched.

From ancient civilizations to modern times, sapphires have been prized for their deep blue color and other unique hues, and their symbolic meanings have been cherished by many.

Whether you’re looking for an engagement ring, a gift for a loved one, or just want to add to your jewelry collection, sapphires are an excellent choice. With proper care, your sapphires can last for generations and continue to be cherished symbols of beauty and significance.

FAQs

What is the meaning of sapphires?

Sapphires have been associated with wisdom, truth, and faithfulness for centuries. They have also been said to bring protection, good fortune, and spiritual insight.

Are sapphires only blue?

No, sapphires come in a variety of colors, including pink, yellow, green, purple, and orange. These colors are caused by different mineral impurities in the stone.

Can sapphires be worn every day?

Yes, sapphires are durable gemstones and can be worn every day. However, it’s important to take good care of them to ensure they last for a long time.

Are sapphires expensive?

The price of sapphire can vary depending on its size, color, and quality. Blue sapphires are generally more expensive than other colors, and larger stones can also be more costly.

Can sapphires be used for engagement rings?

Yes, sapphires are a popular choice for engagement rings. They are durable, symbolize love and commitment, and come in a range of colors to suit different styles.

Can sapphires be used for other types of jewelry besides rings?

Yes, sapphires can be used for a variety of jewelry, including earrings, necklaces, and bracelets. They can also be paired with other gemstones to create unique and beautiful pieces.