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Keep reading to discover more about sapphire
- Mineralogy and geology*
- Metaphysical, Spiritual and Healing** Properties***
- Common Associations
Mineralogy and Geology of Sapphire
Mineral formula: Al2O3 (a variety of corundum)
Mineral group: member of the Hematite group
Crystal system: trigonal
Crystal habit: Often steep pyramidal; rounded, barrel-shaped crystals varying from short prismatic with a large base to steep pyramidal. Less commonly, flat tabular or rhombohedral.
Fracture: irregular / uneven, conchoidal
Color: typically shades of blue, blue-green, green to yellow
Luster: vitreous, adamantine, pearly
Moh’s scale hardness: 9
Specific gravity: 3.98 – 4.1
Named after: its blue color; in Latin, saphirus, Greek sapheiros, meaning blue.
Geological occurrence: found in silica-poor rocks, such as Nepheline-Syenites, alkali igneous undersaturated rocks, contact aureoles in altered aluminous shales, aluminous xenoliths in high temperature plutonic and hypabyssal rocks, metamorphosed bauxite deposits, and as a detrital material in sediments.
Sapphire – the word was once used as a synonym for “blue” – is the traditional birthstone for September, one of the more treasured and valuable gemstones since antiquity. Like ruby, sapphire is a form of corundum; its blue color is caused by atoms of iron in the crystal lattice. Red corundum is the mineral ruby.
It was not until the 18th century that it was clearly established that sapphire and ruby are the same mineral. In ancient literature, the term "sapphire" appears to have mostly referred to lapis lazuli although blue corundum has itself been prized since at least 800 BC. Rare pink-orange stones are called padparadscha. Sapphire that appears blue in daylight and reddish or violet in artificial light is called alexandrine or alexandrite sapphire, and is typically laboratory grown.
Geology and Uses
Like ruby, sapphire is pure aluminum oxide, and associated with geologic environments that have a high aluminum content as well as the high temperature needed for sapphire to crystallize. It is often geographically associated with ruby deposits, but in different host rocks. For example, both sapphire and ruby are found in Myanmar’s “mogul tract”, but sapphire is hosted in granitic rocks, and ruby in marble.
Corundum is most abundant in metamorphic rocks, and in silica-deficient igneous rocks such as nephrite syenites. Large deposits are rare, however. Most sapphires and rubies are mined from alluvial deposits, where their higher density concentrates them when weathered from their original source. Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Thailand are famous gemstone sources, but there are also deposits in Australia, Brazil, Kashmir, Cambodia, Kenya, Malawi, Colombia, and the US.
Significant deposits of sapphire are found in Australia, Afghanistan, Cambodia, Africa, China, Columbia, Ethiopia, India, Laos, Madagascar, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. In the United States, the most notable deposits are in Montana.
Many sapphires on the market are heat treated to enhance their blue color and clarity. This common practice was rarely disclosed until Yogo sapphires appeared on the market in 1980’s and were marketed as the world’s only completely untreated blue sapphire. Beryllium is added to some sapphires to enhance color, and these prices can also run into $100 per carat and up.
Corundum has been one of the most important industrial minerals for millenia, due to its hardness and stability it is used as polishing compounds. Sapphire also has applications in infra-red optical instrumentation, for high-strength window “glass,” and solid-state electronics. When mixed with magnetite it forms emory.
Synthetic sapphires have been produced since the early 1900s. Synthetic sapphire is often sliced and used for windows in equipment used in spectroscopy and bar-code scanners.
Is there sapphire in New Mexico?
No sapphire has been found in New Mexico so far. For a good discussion of gemstones of New Mexico click HERE
- The highest gem quality natural sapphires are thought to be from Kashmir
- Higher quality faceted, deep blue sapphires typically run for $450 to $1600 per carat.
- The 423-carat (84.6 g) Logan sapphire in the National Museum of Natural History is one of the largest faceted blue sapphire gemstones in existence. It was donated to the Smithsonian in 1960 by Polly Logan.
- A sapphire jubilee occurs after 65 years. Queen Elizabeth II marked her sapphire jubilee in 2017.
- Pope Innocent III decreed that rings of bishops should be made of pure gold, set with an unengraved sapphire, as possessing the virtues and qualities essential to its dignified position as a seal of secrets, for there be many things "that a priest conceals from the senses of the vulgar and less intelligent; which he keeps locked up as it were under seal."
- The largest star sapphire known is the Star of Adam
Metaphysical, Spiritual and Healing** Properties***
With its lovely clear blue color, sapphire supports the third eye chakra (energy center) of the body, relating to our “other,” psychic sense. Sappire supports spiritual strength and wisdom, helping to keep the ego in check, and protect from envy. Sappire supports all forms of clairsentience and intuition. Lighter blue sapphires also relate to the throat chakra, and all forms of communication and expression. It has a calming and soothing energy. According to Melody,* sapphire is “one of those minerals implanted upon the Earth by … ancient Earth-Keepers, in order to assist us learning to live with kindness, to learn with compassion, and to understand with appreciation.” They assist in Earth healing and purification efforts. It is also known as a “stone of uniformity,” bringing authenticity to one’s actions. It has a clarifying and resolving energy that helps to re-align the throat and third-eye chakras.
According to Judy Hall (see below), sapphire has the power of innocence.
Feng Shui of Sapphire
Minerals placed in the home or work environment with intention can enhance that energy. The art of feng shui helps to understand how certain parts of your home or work place can benefit from the placement of objects. For a basic primer on feng shui, click HERE. As always, your intention in placing the crystal(s) is of primary importance.
Blue sapphire represents the element wood in the Chinese system of feng shui, so can be used anywhere in the home or work environment to bring more of this energy to the space.
The deep blue color of sapphire represents knowledge and self-cultivation in feng shui, The gen area of the bagua map (located in the near left corner of the house when standing at the entrance) is the area for knowledge and self-cultivation, also mastery and spiritual development.
The association of sparkly sapphire with wealth and abundance makes it useful in the xun (wealth) area of your home (located in the far left corner when standing at the main entrance).
If you have a meditation space, try placing some sapphire crystals near to where you practice, or wear a piece of sapphire jewelry.
For more information about the feng shui of sapphire, click HERE for a good overview.
Any stone or crystal can be worn or carried in a pocket to invoke its energy – all you need is the conscious intention for the kind of energy you want. With its association to the third eye chakra, a tiara of sapphire is especially soothing for all mental and spiritual issues. You could drape a short necklace of sapphire chips on your head, like a head band! Sapphire also works well with throat and third eye chakras when worn as earrings, and short necklaces / pendants. Place a few sapphire crystals in your pillowcase at night for a soothing and elevating night’s sleep.
Sapphire for Grids and Rituals
Sapphire crystallizes in the trigonal system, with a hexagonal cross section. According to Kiera Fogg in her book Crystal Gridwork, hexagonal crystals are most appropriate in crystal grids as “seeker” crystals, pointing to the way in which we want to go – they help to attract what we set our intentions on. They can be used instead of blue lace agate in the Focus Grid (pp 70-71) and the Purification Grid (pp 94-95).
In the book Crystal Muse, authors Heather Askinosie and Timmi Jandro provide many examples of working with stones in ritual. Sapphire makes an excellent addition for rituals and altars that work with the third eye chakra.
Sapphire History and Lore
Traditionally, sapphire symbolizes nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness. It has decorated the robes of royalty and clergy members for centuries. Its extraordinary color is the standard against which other blue gems—from topaz to tanzanite—are measured. The celestial blue color of this gemstone symbolized heaven and attracted divine favor and wise judgment. Greeks wore sapphire for guidance when seeking answers from the oracle. Buddhists believed that it brought spiritual enlightenment, and Hindus used it during worship.
For centuries, sapphire has been associated with royalty and romance. In ancient Greece and Rome, kings and queens were convinced that blue sapphires protected their owners from envy and harm. Sapphires have adorned royalty from all over the world for millenia. In 1838 the English jewelers Rundell and Bridge created a new crown for Queen Victoria. This crown was crimson velvet trimmed with white ermine and about 2,900 diamonds, 273 pearls, 17 sapphires, 11 emeralds and 5 rubies. Since then the state crown has been redesigned several times. The oldest stone in the crown is the St Edward's Sapphire, an octagonal, rose-cut gemstone. It was thought to be in the coronation ring of Edward the Confessor, and was buried with him at Westminster Abbey in 1066.
In ancient Greece, and later in the Middle Ages, there was belief that sapphires cured eye diseases. During the Middle Ages, the clergy wore blue sapphires to symbolize Heaven, and ordinary folks thought the gem attracted heavenly blessings and set prisoners free.. In other times and places, people instilled sapphires with the power to guard chastity, make peace between enemies, and reveal the secrets of oracles. In the East, the sapphire is regarded as a powerful charm against the evil eye.
Common Associations for Blue Sapphire
Chakras: throat, third eye
Numerology: vibrates to 6
Planets: Moon, Saturn
Zodiac: Leo, Virgo, Scorpio, Sagittarius, Monkey
Bagua: Gen (knowledge)
Wedding Anniversary: 45th
* Mineralogical information is from mindat.org
** Always consult with your medical professional for any physical or long-term healing issues.
*** Metaphysical properties come from:
Love Is in the Earth (1995) Melody, Earth-Love Publishing House, 726 pp.
The Crystal Bible, A Definitive Guide to Crystals (2003) Judy Hall, Walking Stick Press, 399 pp.
Crystal Muse (2017) Heather Askinosie and Timmi Jandro, Hay House, 285 pp.
Crystal Gridwork (2018) Kiera Fogg, Weiser Books, 128 pp.