All About Sapphires
Corundum mineral is the second hardest mineral on earth, just after diamond. Sapphire is the name given to all the gemstones found in the Corundum mineral series, apart from the red variety called Rubies. The word sapphire is derived from the Latin word "saphirus" and the Greek word "sapheiros" both meaning blue. While sapphire is usually thought to be as blue, it actually comes in a collection of colours with blue merely being its most common one. The association may come from the blue sapphire's historical importance within several religions. The second-largest sapphire at present is the 423 carats (85 g) Logan sapphire which is kept in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC
For hundreds of years, sapphires have been considered as essential and mystical gems. Since 800 BC, Persians had a belief that the blue sky was the reflection of sapphire stones. The sapphire is considered to be the holy stone of the Catholic Church, and many other religions also believed it to represent the heavens. The Law given to Moses on the Mount was believed to be engraved in tablets of sapphire, and in Hebrew lore, both King Solomon and Abraham also wore talismans of the gem. The Greeks used to wear a sapphire for wisdom at Delphi when seeking answers from the Oracle at Apollo's shrine, the Buddhists believed it helps to bring spiritual enlightenment, and the Hindus considered it to be one of the "great gems" to use for temple offerings while worshipping. Numerous religions have applied some significance to the sapphire gems.
Moving through history, the 12th-century kings wore sapphires around their necks to protect themselves from harm. Along with that, the gems were meant to protect the wearer from envy, ill-wishing and attract divine attention, preserve chastity, while discovering fraud and treason. During the same period, people also wore sapphires as a way to overpower negative thoughts. Sapphires were favoured by sorcerers too as they enabled them to understand the most obscure oracles. With this, the sapphire was also believed to help protect against sorcery.
The largest mines for sapphire are located in Australia, New South Wales and Queensland. The mind of Yogo Gulch in the United States, Montana is also a leading source though they majorly include the small stones that are mostly used in industries. Kashmir used to be a place famous for the rare silky cornflower blue coloured sapphires, but the mine got exhausted, and no more sapphires have been found since. Also, Sir Lanka is a popular place that hosts sapphire mines. Recently the largest sapphire was discovered in a Sri Lankan mine that weighs 1,404 carats.
Sapphire crystals commonly occur as barrel-shaped, double-pointed hexagonal pyramids and tabloid shapes. The mineral corundum where sapphires are formed is generally found in metamorphic rocks and in alluvial gem gravel deposits. They may also be found in pegmatites.
Sapphires are excellently tough and of glasslike lustre. Its specific gravity can be from 3.58 to 3.61. The Mean Refractive Index is between 1.712 - 1.740, and the hardness on the Moh's scale is 9.
Sapphire gets its colour from the trace amounts of elements in corundum such as iron, titanium, chromium, copper, vanadium or magnesium. These impurities can give the mineral various colours like blue, yellow, pink, purple, orange, or green. Sapphires can come in many shades and patterns as well, even in greys and blacks, while some may hold no colour at all. If the stone contains some titanium element to it, then you get the brilliant blue colour. Likewise, if it includes a trace of chromium, you get the pink colour. Sometimes the stone can also hold two or more traces of elements that create the exotic coloured sapphires such as lime green and purple.
Importance / Benefits
Sapphire is the birthstone for September. In ancient times, sapphires were believed to preserve integrity, discover fraud and treachery and protect from poison, plague, and fever as well as skin diseases. Today, its most common perception is as the stone of wisdom. Sapphires are said to help bring learning, mental acuity, and spiritual healing. They can calm nerves which support in achieving mental clarity.
The sapphire is believed to activate the third eye and throat chakras, allowing one to access a deeper level of self-consciousness. Due to this, sapphires can help in bringing a positive attitude towards life as well as bringing about calm energies when the mind is busy. It is also useful for channelling healing powers from a higher source into the healer, which is why the sapphire is popularly used among Reiki healers.
It is considered the stone of love, fidelity, and commitment and hence, commonly used in engagement rings. It is also used as a professional support gemstone. It is said to keep the mind stimulated for executives and writers, promote awareness of higher principles for historians and researchers, and support a better judgment for lawyers and journalists. A symbol of wise and honest leadership, sapphires can also be used to increase self-motivation and discipline.
How to Identify Sapphires
• Natural sapphires are formed with tiny bits of other matter in them, so they mostly include flaws and inclusions. Look for specks and blemishes. If you can find any, then that sapphire is real.
• Look for air bubbles inside the sapphire. After a close look, if you see any, then it is not real. Be sure to turn it over and inspect the sapphire from each angle or corner. These bubbles may only be visible from one angle.
• Another way is to perform the breath test. Breathe on your sapphire to fog it up. Count how long it takes for that fog to fade away. Natural gems clear up in just one or two seconds, while fake sapphires may take closer to five seconds to clear up.
• One more way is to watch the light reflections from your sapphire. Shine a flashlight on the sapphire in a dark room. If the sapphire is real, it will only reflect light that is of the same colour as the sapphire. If it is made of glass, it will reflect other colours as well.
Wearing a Sapphire Stone
Before wearing any gemstone, it's essential to know its importance and the methods of wearing it. Here are certain things to keep in mind before going to buy a sapphire gemstone to wear.
• A blue sapphire, popularly known as Neelam in Hindi, should be mounted on yellow gold or white gold or silver.
• It should be worn in the middle finger of the right hand on a Saturday, just after the appearance of stars and can be worn with other stones as well.
• The weight of the gem ideally should not be less than 3 Ratti (360 mg). It should be stored in a copper bowl full of water.
• The Blue Sapphire must be worn by the Capricorns and Aquarius ascendants. It can also be worn by the ones whose Saturn's Position in the horoscope is weak.
• Professionally, people in the field of dance, drama, martial arts, cinematography, and direction can benefit from Neelam. Wearing the stone can help a person become a great industrialist or political leader. Magistrates and law practitioners can also wear a blue sapphire for success in their profession.
• Preferably, an astrologer or a gemologist should be consulted for more detailed benefits and rituals before wearing this stone.