The sapphire is the blue variety of the Corundum family. This gemstone is very desirable because of its beautiful color, luster, durability and hardness rating. In terms of durability, the sapphire comes in second to the diamond.
These gemstones are able to be found naturally by searching through industrial processes or certain rock formations. Mostly, they are used as decoration and worn as ornaments. The blue variety of sapphire is most commonly used in the creation of jewelry. Blue sapphires are often used to carve into small figures or cameos and synthetic sapphire is sometimes used in place of the natural material. The rare orange-pink variety of sapphire is often seen as more valuable than the blue gemstone. Sapphires are used in all types of jewelry such as rings, earrings, necklaces and bracelets.
Because of the hardness rating of sapphires, they are used as high durability windows and watch crystals, but mainly for jewelry, because they are the birthstone for the month of September. They are also used in infrared optical components.
The powers that were attributed to this gemstone during the Middle Ages, were great power to enable one to resist black magic; the protection of plague, poison, fever and skin diseases; the preservation of chastity and the enabling one to discover treachery and fraud. In instances of smallpox sapphires were used to rub on the eyes to preserve them from any type of injury.
There is a record of a famous Sapphire that was donated by a Richard de Preston (a citizen and grocer), to be used for the cure of all infirmities of the eyes, of those that had been afflicted. This took place in the Church of Old St. Paul's, London.
Combined with the metaphysical aspect of purity, the quality of faithfulness which is related to sapphires has always made them one of the finest choices as a gift. The Princess of Wales, Diana wore a sapphire engagement ring. It is believed that sapphires bring a certain dimension of wisdom and power over their owner. For this reason these gemstones are more prominent than others found in the British crown jewels. The seal-stone in the ring of King Solomon was said to be a sapphire. This may very well be one of the reasons why sapphire is historically held in value by those in the Jewish faith.