Gemstone History & Meaning: Sapphire

The sapphire was like the pure sky, and mighty Nature had endowed it with so great a power that it might be called sacred and the gem of gems.
—George Kunz, in The Curious Lore of Precious Stones

When you visualize a sapphire, you likely conjure an image of the velvety, violet-blue, Kashmir sapphire gemstone most commonly associated with the word. After all, the name “sapphire” is derived from the words “saphirus” (Latin) and “sapheiros” (Greek), both meaning “blue.”

And while many of the world’s most stunning sapphires are, indeed, blue—not all of them are! In fact, this colored gemstone takes on a myriad of brilliant, delightful hues of pink, green, orange, peach, and yellow—all naturally occurring. Padparadscha sapphires in particular, like this 4.56 carat Sri Lankan, are a striking departure from blue, and are most rare.

The Gem of the Heavens

Throughout history, sapphire gems have been praised for bringing divine favor. The Greeks wore sapphire for wisdom at Delphi when seeking answers from the Oracle at Apollo’s Shrine. The ancient Persians believed Earth was balanced on a giant sapphire reflected in the color of the sky. In Hindu mythology, the sapphire was considered one of the “great gems,” and was used in the naoratna and panchratna jewels offered in the temples for worship and combining all the powerful astrological influences.

Although the traditional birthstone of September and considered a gem of autumn, sapphire is also linked to the star sign Taurus. In 1870, Tiffany and Co. published a pamphlet extolling the virtues of birthstones, each month represented by a poem of unknown origin. This is the ode to Taurus:

If on your hand this stone you bind, 
You in Taurus born will find
‘Twill cure diseases of the mind, 
The sapphire.

Loyalty, Commitment, & Mystique

In more recent years, sapphire has become popular in betrothal rings. The sapphire represents a promise of loyalty, and is traditionally given as a gift for a 5th and 45th year wedding anniversary.

Some of the most prominently-featured sapphires are those of the Crown Jewels. Today, the word “sapphire” may conjure up an image of Princess Diana’s famous gorgeous engagement ring—now Kate Middleton’s—which features an 18-carat oval sapphire laced by 14 diamonds.

Blue thou art, intensely blue; Flower, whence came thy dazzling hue?
—James Montgomery, 18th century Scottish hymnodist, poet, and editor

When it comes to high-end, luxury colored gemstones, sapphires have been preferred over diamonds by collectors for centuries. For a new generation of gemstone admirers, the sapphire mystique continues to build—there is something unparalleled in its richness, color, history, and significance that pulls at one’s emotions. To gift a token of loyalty, honesty, commitment, and trust, you can do no better.

Gifting An Exclusive, Hand-Cut Sapphire

Cushion Gem delights in presenting some of the finer rare, wearable, and collectible sapphires available on the planet. Expect extraordinary quality, significant sizes from 2 to 30 carats, rare provenance, detailed expert CherryScoring reviews, and third party lab certification guarantees.

Serious collectors can choose from our selection of exclusive “cut & signed” sapphires and gemstones from the prestigious workshop of Reginald C. Miller, Lapidary. We are exclusive distributors of these magnificent sapphires, shaped by the same wheels that cut the 62.02 carat Rockefeller Sapphire and many of the great colored gems of our time since 1946.

Explore our full collection or fill out our request form to receive personalized assistance in finding the perfect sapphire gemstone.

Richard OrbachComment