Many legends of occult properties surround this precious
stone, whose name derives from the Sanskrit sanipriya, i.e., dear
to the planet Saturn. Next to the diamond, it is the hardest
mineral; its true color is blue, but it may also be red, yellow, violet,
green, or brown. It was also known in ancient times as lapis
lazuli. According to folklore, the vision seen by Moses and the
Law given to him were inscribed on sapphire. The sapphire was
one of the twelve stones on the Jewish high priest’s breastplate,
located on the second row in the middle. It attained an eschatological
significance as a foundation stone for the New Jerusalem
(Isaiah 5411 and Rev. 2119).
When Roman Catholics select a new pope, a gold ring set
with a sapphire is traditionally placed on his ring finger, symbolizing
marriage to the church. Buddhists ascribed sacred
magical power to the sapphire and believed that it reconciled
mankind to God.
It was said to be a good amulet against fear, to promote the
flow of good spirits, to prevent ague and gout, and to prevent
the eyes being affected by smallpox. The sixteenth-century
writer Camillo Leonardo claimed ‘‘The sapphire heals sores,
and is found to discharge a carbuncle with a single touch.’’ The
occult writer Francis Barrett stated in his book The Magus
(1801) ‘‘A Sapphire, or a stone that is of a deep blue colour,
if it be rubbed on a tumour wherein the plague discovers itself,
(before the party is too far gone) and if, by and by it be removed
from the sick, the absent jewel attracts all the poison, or contagion

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