The birthstone of September is the sapphire and this magnificent blue gemstone is very popular. But why? On August 31, 1997, Princess Diana died in a car accident in Paris. She was just divorced from Prince Charles and because she did not behave herself as a stiff upper lip royal, she was very very popular. Even twenty years later people left flowers and burned candles in front of her palace on the day of her death.
Princess Diana loved sapphires. She got an engagement ring made of white gold, with an enormous sapphire surrounded by little diamonds. And these diamonds made the Sapphire look even bluer than it already was. Since that time you see that a lot of women get a sapphire with a diamond engagement ring from their fiancee. Princess Diana on her own introduced a trend in engagement rings. Her engagement ring was many years later given as an engagement ring by Prince William (her eldest son), to Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Kensington.
Sapphires really can get to you: those high blue sparkling gemstones, that cannot be scratched, only by diamonds. Sapphires are the symbol of attracting wealth and can protect the wearer from envy and infidelity ánd it helps to banish fraud. Also for these reasons a sapphire engagement or wedding ring is so symbolic, that you just want to have such a ring.
Is the sapphire gemstone only for royals?
Not only royals love sapphires, also others wanted pieces of jewelry with sapphires. But they were so expensive, that only very rich people could afford them: like the stars of Hollywood. Mary Pickford owned the two gorgeous and big sapphires: ‘the Star of Bombay’ and ‘the Star of India’. Jean Harlow got a 150-carat sapphire engagement ring and Joan Crawford got one from her second husband, but that one was ‘only’ 70 carat.
I get a special feeling when I see a piece of jewelry with sapphire gemstones. Many years ago, my husband and I went to Thailand for a holiday; it was our first holiday together. My husband found out that I am a lot more adventurous than he is: I liked sleeping in a tree house/tent and did not mind washing in the river nearby. That was a shock for him, but he came over it. Back in Bangkok, he was so happy to be back in the civilized world that he wanted to buy me a ring. And I knew exactly what I wanted: a white gold ring, with little sapphires and diamonds. And I really did not know why I wanted a ring just like that?
At that time princess, Diana was getting engaged with Prince Charles of Great Brittain. I did not pay attention to the engagement announcement on the television, I just looked at the ring. To the blue sapphire and the little diamonds and I fell for the second time in love: first with my husband to be and after that with the engagement ring of Princess Diana.
Well, why are sapphires so attractive and why do they combine so gorgeously with diamonds. You cannot say exactly why, because taste is such a personal thing. But there are some features of sapphires that make you love the gemstone. Let me tell you more about it. And I will start with some stories that make the sapphire so famous.
The sapphire as a subject to many legends.
In ancient Persia (now Iran) they believed that the sapphire was a piece of the pedestal, that supported the earth. The blue color of the sapphire gave the sky its color. In Greek history, there is a great story about Helen of Troy, who owned a large star sapphire. It is not clear whether her thirty suitors vying for her hand, were more interested in Helen or in the gemstone. Even in those days, such a gemstone was very valuable. Anyway, for political reasons, she married King Menelaus of Sparta. But she was abducted by Paris, a very handsome man. This love story caused the Trojan War. Nobody knows whether the beautiful Helen, who ‘lanched a thousand ships’ owed her lovely Paris to the attraction of the star sapphire or her own beauty?
According to the Medieval legends, King Salomon had a ring with a star sapphire, which gave him the ability to talk to animals and gave him power over demons. The sapphire was found in Sri Lanka and he used it also to seduce the Queen of Sheba.
With these stories in mind, it is not strange that Princess Diana loved the sapphire so much and with her thousands and thousands of women. Who does not want a piece of jewelry with a gemstone that gives the sky its color and is so famous that men and women fell for it? Combined with diamonds you get a very strong couple: the sky of the sapphire combined with the stars of the diamonds.
Also in more recent times, the sapphire played its part in real history. Many people wanted to have a sapphire and it became a symbol of power and beauty.
You can make history owing a sapphire!
Charlemagne (747-814 AD) was a very high and mighty ruler in Western Europe and the first great monarch of France and Germany after the fall of the Roman Empire. In that time sapphires symbolized heaven and the promise of eternal salvation. Charlemagne, being a very religious man, owned an amulet with the relic of the True Cross placed between two big sapphires. That jewel was buried with Charlemagne, but Otto III exhumed it. The wife of Napoleon, Josephine de Beauharnais, wore the sapphires at her coronation in 1814, passed it to Napoleon III and after his death, it was given to the Archbishop of Reims (France).
At the beginning of the 13th-century pope, Innocent III had a lot of quarrels with King John of England. Finally, they agreed that the King got the power of the country and the pope could raise tribute of service money. As a part of the truce, the pope gave the king a ring with four gemstones: an emerald, a sapphire, an opal and a topaz. These stones represent virtues, that according to the pope were useful for the king (virtue of faith, hope, good works, and charity).
Catherine the Great (1729-1796) of Russia inherited the love for expensive gemstones. An admirer gave her a sapphire of 337 carats, which was added to the Romanoff Jewelry. During WW I the sapphire was sold to finance a hospital. Napoleon Bonaparte (1763-1814) and his wife Josephine de Beauharnais loved gemstones too. One of her favorites was the jewel set that was owned by Marie Antoinette until she died on the scaffold. That jewel set had 29 sapphires and some of them were more than 20 carats.
The star sapphire
I told you that King Salomon supposed to have a ring with a star sapphire in it, that was found in Sri Lanka. And he seduced the Queen of Sheba with it. The star sapphire, that is even higher prized than the sapphire, was used for talismanic purposes. Sir Richard Francis Burton ( a famous adventurer and diplomat) had a large star sapphire, that he took along his travels. He thought it brought him luck.
A sapphire is also called Asteria or the ‘stone of destiny’. The star had six ‘points’ and every point was connected with a point on the opposite side. So there were three crossbars (6 points connected makes 3 cross bars) and every crossbar was linked in Christian mythology with ‘faith’, ‘hope’ and ‘destiny’. Such a talisman could ward off the evil eye and could lead the travelers in the right direction and protect them from illness and other bad things on the way. It is said that you give a star sapphire on someone’s 65th wedding anniversary: I would rather have it a bit earlier.
It ’s hard not to love this beautiful piece of nature and it’s even better to have this gemstone on your neck or in your ears. And an additional advantage is that it leads you the way (no need of GPS anymore), it attracts wealth. And that is a hard one: because you need a bit of wealth before you can buy a sapphire or…. find a wealthy partner!
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