The beautiful sapphire, ranging in color from celestial blue to violet, has long been associated with the planet Venus. The violet stones were chosen to represent the color that is also associated with the number three and with old age. Friday, the day dedicated to Venus, is represented by the sapphire. It is a stone of the spring months and has been assigned to both Taurus and Gemini in differing zodiacal systems.
The Greeks associated the sapphire with Apollo, and it was often worn during the consultation of oracles, such as the one at Delphi. It was reputed to tap the powers of the ‘third eye’. Necromancers were thought to be fond of this stone for it supposed ability to influence spirits and make clear those oracular sources that were most difficult to hear and understand.
Royalty often wore sapphire for dual purpose. It was thought to attract wealth, as well as to protect the wearer from envy and infidelity. Harmony between lovers, greater ease at social interaction, and the bringing of agreement between adversaries were attributed to this beautiful gem. Those involved in legal matters were also beneficiaries of the sapphire’s power, as it was thought to banish fraud. Of course, this only helped if the person was innocent!
One of the more common uses of sapphire was as an antidote to poison. The stone was thought to act by increasing the strength and overall health of the owner, thereby warding off illness, and nullifying the effects of poisons. The sapphire was also thought to aid in healing. By the middle ages, this healing power was ascribed especially for the eyes. It is interesting that this notion may have come about because of an ancient Egyptian remedy. This ancient eyewash contained a powdered form of what George Kunz thought to be an oxide of copper sometimes called lapis Armenus. This stone later became confused with lapis lazuli, which by medieval times had become confused with sapphire.
Even more highly prized than regular sapphire, the star sapphire was believed to be of highest value for talismanic purposes. Sir Richard Francis Burton traveled the Orient with a large star sapphire, also known as an asteria. He found it brought him much luck, as the fame of the stone he carried preceded him in his travels, bringing him prompt service and extra favors from those he visited. Such was the belief in the power of the stone, that simply viewing the talisman was considered good luck, and Sir Burton would reward those who displayed such courteousness by allowing them to view his talisman.
The asteria was sometimes called the “Stone of Destiny.” The three cross bars that pattern it were linked in Christian mythology with Faith, Hope, and Destiny. These unique talismans were thought to ward off the Evil Eye, and act as a guide to travelers, protecting them from illness and bad omens. It was thought to “scare devils and evil.” So strong were asterias believed to be, that the stone’s good influence was thought to remain even after it had passed out of the owner’s possession.
An ancient rhyme to leave you with as we enter these spring months:
If on your hand this stone you bind,
You in Taurus born will find
‘Twill cure diseases of the mind,