In the west, Sapphire rings became very popular
in the ‘Middle Ages’. Clergy favored Blue Sapphire rings because the color represented heaven.
Magicians felt Sapphire rings helped them command
spirits, many others felt a Sapphire ring helped
ward off evil and sickness, including the plague.
The merits of Sapphire are named at length by Bartolomaeus Anglicus, translated as Bartholomew of England, who was a 13th Century academic philosopher and instructor of theology at the renowned University of Paris. According to his predecessors, such as Damigeron, the Sapphire was the ‘Gem of Gems’ and a worthy adornment on the fingers of kings. Anglicus enlarged on the brilliant gemstone extolling the Sapphire’s superb healing powers and their alleged calming and cooling influence. Among the curative affects he alleged
In ancient times the Sapphire, although what ancients called Sapphire is now
lapis lazuli, was reputed for it’s purity and has a number of references made to it in the Bible. For example the sacred character of the Sapphire was attested to in the story of the 10 commandments, which were said to be engraved
on tablets of Sapphire. The Sapphire’s chaste
symbolism, also arising from associations of natural innocence made between the gem and the
color of the heavens, caused it to be selected as especially appropriate for the ecclesiastical
rings of cardinals and high-church dignitaries in the 12th Century.
At one point there was a superb
Sapphire in the South Kensington Museum, in
London, reputed for its abnormal coloration.
The Sapphire was called ‘Le Saphire Merveilleux.’ translated as ‘The Miraculous Sapphire’, so
named for it’s ability to radiate an intense
Blue in daylight and a deep amethyst violet
under artificial light. Today, this is the demystified
color-change Sapphire, but to the people of
the 18th Century and before this was a little
known gem phenomenon that sparked the imagination.
Aside from the color-change
effect, another phenomenon in the Sapphire family
reputed to possess special powers was the ‘Star
Sapphire’. Regarded as a guiding gem, warding
off ill omen and the evil-eye, the ‘Star Sapphire’
was sometimes called the ‘Stone of Destiny’
with each of the star’s three rays being believed
to represent the virtues of Faith, Hope, and
Destiny. One of the most unique of talismanic
gemstones, it is said to be so potent that it continues
to exercise its good influence over the first
wearer even when it has passed into other hands.