On clear days, there is a certain time just after sunset where the sky is shaded in the most exquisite blues, all the way from the barest whisper of blue to deep midnight blue. (I hear a song in there!) It is somewhere in there that we see the colours of sapphire and lapis lazuli, birthstones for September babies.
Blue sapphires have been symbols of royalty and heaven since ancient times. King Solomon and Abraham are both believed to have worn amulets of sapphire and it is said that Moses received the Ten Commandments on tablets of carved sapphire. The Greeks wore it when they went to the oracle at Delphi seeking answers. My favourite myth is from ancient Persia- they believed that the earth was balanced on a giant sapphire which was reflected in the colour of Heaven! If I could find, (and afford!) a sapphire big enough to balance on, you would never get me off of it!
Blue sapphire corresponds to the Brow and Throat chakras- centres of wisdom and communication. It is a stone of spiritual wisdom and truth, a stone of psychic activation and a stone of order and healing. And you thought it was just pretty!
Although sapphire comes in many shades of blue the most desirable is a cornflower blue where there is saturated colour, but not so deep that it appears black. Sapphire actually comes in many colours, from clear to black and everything in between. The red ones are called ruby but all of it is corundum which registers as 9 on the Mohs scale, second only to diamond. Because it is so hard and durable, you can set it almost anything. Sapphire can also have rutile needle inclusions which produces asterism, otherwise known as star sapphire. These are beautiful stones and when set with attention to the direction of the star’s rays, make for some truly stunning jewellry.
As you know, silver is my favourite metal to put with stones, but a lot of people prefer yellow gold for their jewellry. Sapphires set in gold are very rich and luxurious, fit for royalty. Many crowns and royal jewels are set with sapphires, as well as diamonds, emeralds and rubies. Whatever you pair it with, choose a design that shows off the truly heavenly colour of this beautiful gemstone.
Lapis lazuli is another stone that has been revered since ancient times. It would be difficult to think of the ancient Egyptians without thinking of King Tutankhamen’s beautifully inlaid sarcophagus as well as burial ornaments and jewellry. It was also ground up to be used as eye shadow and pigment for paint. Hundreds of years later, Michaelangelo was still using ground-up lapis for his paintings. Lapis was also used in ancient Greece and Rome for ornamental purposes.
Lapis corresponds to the same chakras as blue sapphire with the same attributes. This also an excellent stone to meditate with as it is very calming and soothing.
The best lapis in the world comes from Afghanistan. I met a man from Afghanistan earlier this year who showed me photographs of boulders of lapis. He told me that you could build a house from lapis over there because there was so much of it! I don’t know about you, but I would love to live in a house of lapis. I would never leave! Whew!
Lapis is considerably softer than sapphire, ranging from 5-6 on the Mohs scale. It is composed of lazurite, from which it gets its beautiful colour, pyrite, and a bit of calcite. A lot of lower-grade lapis is dyed to even out and intensify the colour. As long as you are are aware of this and are okay with it, then buy and wear and enjoy.
Lapis is another stone that I think looks fantastic with silver, especially if there isn’t very much pyrite in it. However, it is hard to imagine Tutankhamen’s death mask made in anything other than gold. So by all means, set it in whatever metal strikes your fancy. Just remember, it is softer than sapphire, so you need to be careful with it.
So, I hope you are now inspired to create some regal jewellry for yourself, whether or not your birthday is in September!