11 Famous Yet Untold Stories About The September Birthstone: Sapphires
September 8, 2015, Senior Editior
Sapphires -The Stone of Destiny… Let’s unearth its mystery Sapphires for long have created an enigma for itself, a mystery and allure that have drawn royalties and crown heads towards it. It’s hardly a secret that long drawn tales of majestic empires and sapphires have intermingled. A glance at the Imperial State Crown is all it takes to know the love of royalties towards the rare and precious stones. This mighty diadem has been a host for quite a few famous gemstones and amongst these is legendary St. Edward’s Sapphire, which once belonged to Edward the Confessor and Stuart Sapphire, a huge 104 carat gemstone perched on this headdress. The interest and fondness of Her Majesty and the royal family in sapphires just don’t end there. We all know the renowned halo style blue sapphire engagement ring that belonged to Princess Diana and now worn by Kate Middleton. But not many know about the love affair of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s with blue sapphires. The crown jewels include her personal favorite Prince Albert Brooch that she inherited on ascending throne in 1952. This regal brooch that centers an enormous blue sapphire surrounded by 12 diamonds was gifted by Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg to Queen Victoria on their wedding day. Amongst her personal stash is King George VI Victorian Suite presented to her by King George in 1947. This entire suite that was made in 1850 includes a neckpiece of oblong sapphires, square sapphire ring and a dazzling pair of dangle earrings. These are just a few of many more. But if you think this affection for sapphires is only limited to the British Empire, you couldn’t be further than the truth. Romance with sapphires go way back millenniums making incredible legends. We bring forth to you few such amazing stories of the renowned who own the mystic sapphires:
LEGEND OF TROY
Doesn’t the word “Troy” immediately brings to mind the Trojan Horse and of course the beautiful Helen of Troy? Her splendor was such that it attracted mighty suitor all around, in fact according to account from Apollodorus she had at least thirty suitors vying for her hand before she married King Menelaus of Sparta. After all, the illustrious Trojan War was fought after she was abducted by Prince Paris of Troy. Was her beauty the sole reason for desirability, the one that launched a thousand ships to destroy an entire empire? It was believed that Helen owed her immense appeal to a huge star sapphire she owned. Was this gemstone the key to her allure and a trigger to the tragedy that followed? One can only guess.
Image Courtesy: Tammara Markegard
SEAL OF SOLOMON
King Solomon embossed on pages of Bible and Quran as the wisest man who ever lived; the King of Israel and son of David. It is said that this revered King, whose wisdom was incomparable with any, owned a ring known as the “Seal of Solomon”. This ring was purported to be inscribed with “Star of David” (a hexagram) but as legend has it this six-sided stone was in fact a sapphire in form of a star. It was believed that this ring was the source of his power to command demons and rare gift to communicate with animals. Tales are also told of his having used the magical influence of sapphires to win over the love of Queen of Sheba.
Image Courtesy: genius
AMULET OF ETERNAL SALVATION
After the fall of Roman Empire, Western European which now consists of France and Germany witnessed a rise of a new king, Charlemagne. Immensely religious, Charlemagne believed that sapphires were pieces of heaven that promised eternal salvation. Such was his belief that he commissioned a sacred amulet with a relic of True Cross that was placed between two sapphires. This legendary amulet has since his death passed many known hands including Otto III and Empress Josephine, wife of Napoleon who was noted to have worn it during her coronation in 1804.
Image Courtesy: knotofstone
FOUR RINGS FOR THE LIONHEARTED KING
Richard the Lionhearted, King of England was gifted four rings with different gemstones by Pope Innocence III when the pope took over the papacy in 1198. Amongst these four rings was a sapphire ring. These rings and a letter accompanying them were a part of truce between the church and the king after a long drawn feud of power. As per a brief account in Kuntz, “With the rings, the pope sent a letter from St. Peter’s in Rome, dated May 28, 1198, in which he wrote that the four stones were symbolical. The verdant hue of the emerald signified how we should believe; the celestial purity of the sapphire, how we should hope;, the warm color of the garnet, how we should love; and the clear transparency of the topaz, how we should act.” Thus with these rings of virtue the pope blessed the King of England to guide him in his daily duties.
Image Courtesy: wikimedia
TERRIBLE LOVE OF TSAR OF RUSSIA
Tsar of Russia, Ivan the Terrible was noted, as his given title suggests, for his reign of terror. So it is a lesser known fact that this fearsome ruler had a fascination for sapphires. This fact was noted and recounted by Sir Jerome Horsey who was a convoy for Queen Elizabeth. According to him, the Tsar was an avid lover of sapphires and believed to court immense powers that not only preserves and increases courage, enlightens the soul and clears the sight. Who would have guessed such a formidable sovereign had a kinder heart, even if only for a charismatic gemstone.
Image Courtesy: emersonkent
A SYMBOL OF HEAVEN
Another noted monarch who believed blue sapphires to be symbol of Heaven that held power of God in them was Holy Roman Emperor Rudolf II. It was said that his love for gemstones was not never for the dignity and royal majesty the court but he because he believed that these stones held indescribable power of God and encompassed the glorious beauty of whole world in its tiny shining bodies. Under his rule he commissioned the Imperial Crown of Austria which holds a large blue sapphire at the apex of the coronet as a symbol of heaven.
Image Courtesy: aboutsapphirejewelry
PEACOCK THRONE OF KING OF THE WORLD
Shah Jahan though most widely known for building Taj Mahal, the beautiful marble tomb for his beloved Mumtaz Mahal, but like every notable Mughal emperor was an avid collector of rare gemstones. Amongst his lesser known treasures is the marvelous “Peacock Throne”. With seven years put in making this throne depicts two enormous peacocks with tails eagle spread and encrusted with sapphires rubies and emeralds. Though it was later destroyed after being spirited away to Persia, the Iranian monarchy is still referred at times as “Peacock Throne”.
Image Courtesy: rubylane & farm6staticflickr
CATHERINE THE GREAT’S SAPPHIRE
One of the most loved Empress of Russia, Catherine the Great had a special love and affection for the gemstones just like her predecessors Ivan the terrible and Peter the great. An enlightened despot she was loved by most and was showered with magnificent gifts by her devotes. One such gift was by an admirer was a 337 carat splendid sapphire which is said to have remained in the Romanoff jewels until it was sold off during World War I.
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NAPOLEON’S GREAT LOVE
One true love of Napoleon Bonaparte was his beloved wife and Empress of France Josephine. Such was his love that he was said to have showered her with many jewels amongst which was Parure of Queen Marie Antoinette. This seven piece jewelry set that hosted a tiara, earrings and ring incorporated approximately 29 sapphires some weighting more than 20 carat.
Image Courtesy: gogmsite & gunclassics
A SAPPHIRE RING WORTH A MONARCH’S RANSOM
King Mindon the ruler of (then) Burma was by most considered a just and able ruler though was completely obsessed with sapphires found in Mogok Valley. Such was his obsession that it is said when he moved capitals to Mandalay he is said to have buried a teasure trove of rubies and sapphire under the foundation of his palace. After his demise, King Thibaw he last ruler of the Konbaung Dynasty came to power amongst great scandal. He too was a great spender and collector of jewels and have been noted wearing gem crusted regalia including a sapphire ring worth an entire monarch’s ransom.