Sapphires are among the earliest known gemstones in history. As a result, it is no surprise that there are many legends about this wonderful stone.
The blue sapphire is most prominent in mythology. Blue was a pure, heavenly colour; in many Eastern cultures sapphires were believed to ward off evil. It was also believed that if a wicked person wore a sapphire, it would not shine. Others believed that sapphires could influence spirits, and thus the stone has been popular with witches and even necromancers who have used it to talk to the dead.
An ancient Persian legend says that the earth rests upon a giant sapphire, and that the sky is a reflection of its colour.
In Greek legend, the Titan Prometheus was chained to a rock as punishment for gifting humanity with fire. In some legends, the rock is a giant sapphire. When Hercules later freed Prometheus, a link from the chain remained on Prometheus’ finger and on it was a piece of the stone. This stone was the very first sapphire. The very word sapphire comes from the Greek word sappheiros.
According to the Jewish Talmud, Moses was given the Ten Commandments on sapphire tablets, making it a sacred stone. In the Middle Ages, wealthy nobles wore them to protect themselves from envy and harm, and the clergy wore them as a symbol of heaven.
Even today, many royals across Europe wear sapphires. One of the most famous examples being the late Princess Diana’s sapphire ring, now worn by Kate Middleton. Like many stones, the sapphire was believed to have the power to cure poison, improve eyesight, and heal the body.
The highly valued star sapphires have been thought to bring good luck. Explorer Sir Richard Francis Burton famously carried a star sapphire talisman with him when he travelled, believing the stone would bring good fortune. He often rewarded people who displayed politeness to him with a glimpse of the stone, which was enough to bring him more favours and praise, as many believed that merely glimpsing a star sapphire would bring luck.
The asteria, or white lines across a star sapphire, have a large symbolic meaning. Known as the Stone of Destiny, each of the three long lines represented faith, hope and destiny in Christian mythology. These lines were thought to ward off evil. They were so strong that their influence would protect the owner even after it was no longer in the owner’s possession.
Blue sapphires, while the most predominantly featured in history, are not the only ones. Sapphires come in a wide range of colours, each with its own myth associated with it.
Check out some of our favourite sapphire items below!