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" meaning blue. While sapphire is usually considered blue, it 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 centuries, sapphires have been considered essential and mystical gems. Since 800 BC, Persians believed that the blue sky was the reflection of sapphire stones. The sapphire is considered 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.
Throughout history, the 12th-century kings wore sapphires around their necks to protect themselves from harm. The gems were also meant to protect the wearer from envy, ill-wishing and attract divine attention, preserve chastity, and discover fraud and treason. During the same period, people also wore sapphires 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 sapphire mines are 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 famous for the rare silky cornflower blue coloured sapphires, the mine got exhausted, and no more sapphires have been found. 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 also come in many shades and patterns, even in greys and blacks, while some may hold no colour at all. If the stone contains some titanium element, you get the brilliant blue colour. Likewise, if it includes a trace of chromium, you get pink. Sometimes the stone can also hold two or more traces of elements that create exotic coloured sapphires such as lime green and purple.
Sapphire is the birthstone for September. In ancient times, sapphires were believed to preserve integrity, discover fraud and treachery and protect from poison, plague, fever, and 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 supports 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 bring a positive attitude towards life and 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 gemstone engagement rings. It is also used as a professional support gemstone. It is said to stimulate executives and writers' minds, 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 increase self-motivation and discipline.
Professionally, people in 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.
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