A Brief History of Sapphire


January 15, 2015

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The sapphire has developed a long and rich tradition as a precious gemstone. Could some of it be just marketing, or is there something to the stone that makes it so prized around the world as a much-coveted gemstone? We can let you be the judge as we write about a brief history of the gemstone, which can be cut into industrial wafers by our precision experts at Wafer World.

Sapphire as a Symbol

Like many gemstones, sapphire has developed certain symbolic meanings over the centuries based on how it is perceived and who uses it for various purposes. One of the more prominent Western examples is that sapphires symbolize purity and wisdom in ruling a kingdom, as the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom includes a number of blue sapphires. The stone also seems to represent royalty and romance, as a couple recent princesses, most notably Princes Diana, were given a blue-sapphire engagement rings. Diana got hers in 1981 from Prince Charles. It was a ring that was prominent on her finger for much of her married life.In various cultures, sapphires have been perceived to ward off evil spirits, protect chastity, settle disagreements among enemies and create inner peace and personal prosperity. Some priests in the Middle Ages, it is said, wore blue sapphires as a symbol of heaven.

Myths and Legends

There is the famous story in the Bible about Moses dropping a stone tablet containing the Word of God and it broke in pieces. Legend has it that the tablets on which the Ten Commandments were ultimately contained were not made of mere stone, but of sapphire, which was hard enough to break any tool of the time into a thousand pieces!In the ancient Persian cultures and societies, it was believed that the Earth was a giant blue sapphire, and that the sky was the reflected light off of it.

A Truly Rare Gem

You may notice that we don’t just say “sapphire,” but “blue sapphire,” and there is a reason for it. While sapphires around the world are generally blue, there is a sapphire of a different shade that seems to be found in only one part of the world. Needless to say, it is a truly rare gem.Around the world, the pink sapphire from Sri Lanka is called padparadscha, which in the native language of Sri Lanka means “lotus flower.” It is, admittedly, not a pure pink but a pink with a orage-ish hue, but the color of the sapphires found there have become famously labeled with the island nation, and Sri Lanka has embraced the color of its precious gemstone in much of its architecture and culture.Sapphires have had a sort of superstition around them, as well as legends and myths. However, it has also been a functional stone, especially in the current industrial age, and it has had very deep meanings for millions of people around the world.

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