The term "Sapphire" is perhaps the only word among all the gemstone names which pronunciation is identical in all ancient languages, including Latin, Greek, Hebrew and even Chaldean. Whence the proof of the deep history of this precious stone. Ancients applied the name "Sapphire" to all the varieties of Corundum, excepting the specimens of red color. As a result, all the old merchants called several specimens of blue Corundum "Oriental Sapphires." They also named dark blue Sapphires as "male Sapphires," while light-blue ones, as "female Sapphires."
History, Origin, and Legends
Given the fact that almost all ancient writers called all the blue stones, Sapphire, it's complicated to trace the first discovering of this precious stone. Also worth noting that Sapphire and Ruby are chemical of the same origins. They differ only in color. However, the color makes sense.
First Sapphires came to European markets from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). However, most significant deposits located in Siam (now Thailand). In any case, the Oriental origin of this precious stone is beyond doubt. In these countries this gem considered sacred.
The ancient story of this gemstone traces to the far ages. Blue Sapphires were known even in Egypt, where the priests wore them as amulets. There is a rumor that this stone adorned the crown of Cleopatra. Many authors refer to Zeus, claiming that it was his favorite gemstone. King Solomon wore Sapphire jewelry. Even Buddhists and Muslims mentioned this precision stone in their treatises. The Buddhists believed that there is an enormous four-sided mountain upon the Northen Star. One side of this mountain is turned towards the world of humans. It is made of Sapphires and reflects the rays of the sun. That's why the sky is blue, according to the legend.
In the Middle Ages, Sapphire was the symbol of various noble persons of the king blood. The casket adorned with Sapphire belonged to Charles the Great, according to sources. St. Edward the Confessor wore a ring with Sapphire. Rumor has it that this stone later appeared into the crown of the British Empire. Everyone knows the novel written by Alexander Dumas titled "The Three Musketeers." But few know that Athos, Count de la Fère, sold the Sapphire ring to equip the Musketeers. This gemstone came in vogue in the period of Renaissance.
The color of Sapphire is a subject of lengthy discussion, as this is the major factor affecting its price. The color, in general, depends on the region of origin. The most valuable stones are those that possess the so-called color lieu dit roi. These specimens obtained in Sri Lanka and used for the jewelry of the highest quality. But the best ones originate in Thailand and Myanmar (formerly Burma). These gems are also suitable for jewelry purposes. At the same time, the stones of inferior quality, color, and size usually used in the production of Swiss watches. Some specimens also use while producing lenses for microscopes. There is also another term defined as a valuable color of sapphire, so-called "cornflower-blue."
Magical & Healing Properties
Our ancestors believed that Sapphire might provide the reliable protection against evil. There is a belief that a Sapphire placed inside a glass or a cup is a safe remedy against poison. St. Jerome claims that Sapphire allows its owner to get rid of enemies and avoid captivity. In the Middle Ages, there was a belief that this gemstone can protect its wearer against fever if to wear the stone closer to the heart. Ancient sources contain the records that Sapphire soaked in vinegar capable of curing many diseases. As for the mental properties of Sapphire, this gemstone was in favor of priests. Therefore, it symbolizes innocence, purity, wise, devout and virtuous. Julius Wodiska also called this stone a symbol of truth & constancy. Sapphire is also the birthstone for Virgo Sign. Aster correlates with this gem, as a birth flower for September.