Star sapphire is a special type of sapphire that has the property of asterism. Star sapphires are relatively rare — it occurs in approximately three percent of all raw sapphires. Gemology (the science of gemstones) describes asterism as an optical phenomenon or a light effect found in some crystals. When light reflects from the sapphire, a luminous, star-like pattern appears on its surface. This star usually has six rays. Star sapphires exist in several colors (including pink, black, gray, brown, orange and yellow). Arguably, the blue ones have earned the greatest reputation among them all, largely due to the associated blue symbolism. The name of the stone, sapphire, comes from the Latin word ‘sapphirus’ and the Greek word ‘sapheiros’ which mean ‘blue’. In Hebrew, the sapphire was known as ‘sappir,’ meaning ‘the most beautiful thing’.
The star sapphire brings mental clarity
The star sapphire has two main features which remind us of the sky — a celestial blue color and a star-like formation when seen under light. Naturally, this gemstone is often linked to the sky, and has been called ‘the gem of heaven’. For example, there is an old Persian belief that the Earth sits on a huge pedestal made of sapphire. According to this vision of the universe, the blue color of the sky comes from the sun rays reflecting on the faces of this giant blue crystal.
Due to its blue symbolism, the sapphire has been regarded as an emblem of nobility, royalty, monarchy and aristocracy. In the tenth century, blue color was rare and expensive in Europe. This made it available only to rulers and spiritual leaders.
It is believed that the star sapphire brings peace, calmness and tranquility to its wearer. The stone also brings mental clarity, intelligence and understanding of one’s own circumstances as well as the intentions of others.
The protective symbolism of the blue star sapphire
There is a common belief that star sapphires ward off the forces of the dark and strengthen one’s faith. As a result, star sapphires have often been used as protective talismans. Sapphires were believed to provide an early warning of hidden dangers. To that aim, they were very often worn by travelers and spiritual seekers. People believed that the power of this rare sapphire was so strong, that it would not diminish even after passing the gem to another person.
It was also believed that the stone has the power to pull out venom from one’s bloodstream and nullify poison. Victims of and scorpion- and snake-bites drank water in which star sapphires have been soaked. In the 16th century, the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V wore a sapphire ring. He used to touch people’s eye with it, claiming it would cure them of diseases.
The angelic symbolism of the star sapphire
The three crossbars of the six-rayed star displayed on the surface of the sapphire symbolize the Christian convictions of faith, hope and destiny. For this reason, the star sapphire is often called ‘Stone of Destiny’ and it is linked to the Angels of Faith, Hope and Destiny. Star sapphire is a stone which helps recognize one’s life purpose. It is used in meditation, as a crystal-facilitator on the spiritual path. In this context, the star sapphire can guide the practitioner towards Angelic Realms and help him/her connect with Light Beings, Star Beings and Spirit Guides. As a result, one develops extra-sensory perception, and a gift of prophecy and channeling.
In Asia, particularly across Buddhist nations, it is believed that sapphires creates in people a strong pull towards spirituality, prayer and meditation. To earn spiritual merit, affluent Buddhist devotees often offer sapphires to pagodas.
Other spiritual symbolism of the star sapphire
Star sapphires also symbolize the Higher Self and the ultimate Truth. They are powerful stones of inner transformation. Crystal healers often use it in various spiritual practices, such as work on the chakra system, stimulation of Kundalini energy, and in Earth healing. It is said that those who ‘connect’ with the energy of the star sapphire develop psychic powers such as clairvoyance and clairaudience.
Sapphires were included in the breast plate of Aaron, a Biblical High Priest, symbolizing one of the twelve tribes of Israel. According to various semi-historical accounts, the Term Commandments were inscribed on sapphire tablets.
In Ancient Greece, the sapphire was associated with Apollo, the god of healing and prophecy. Sapphires were worn by those who sought guidance from the Delphi Oracle. The sapphire was thought to enhance one’s perceptive abilities and made prophesies easier to understand. It is said that even necromancers (black-magic practitioners) wore sapphires during their rituals, as it helped them connect with the Spirit World.
In another Greek myth, Prometheus, the Titan hero who stole the fire from gods and gifted it to men, was the first one to ever wear a sapphire.
Astrological symbolism of the star sapphire
Since the star sapphire is a special type of sapphire, it inherits its astrological symbolism from its crystal group. It is September birthstone and a stone of the zodiac sign Taurus.
In India, the name of this stone is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘shani’ which means Saturn (Lord Shani). Some etymologists also believe that the word sapphire is linked to the Sanskrit phrase ‘Santi Priya’ which can be translated as ‘dear to Saturn’.
Vedic astrologers consider sapphires as gemstones that promote sharp focus and facilitate effective communication. Sapphires also intensify the desire for study, knowledge and wisdom.
The star sapphire sustain the life force
The star sapphire sustain the physical body, the mental stability and also the emotional well-being of its owner. It is believed that this precious tone dispels worries, insecurities and fear. It has been used to treat related medical conditions such as insomnia, headaches and dementia.
The star sapphire as a stone of honesty and good fortune
It is said that the person who wears a star sapphire naturally develops traits of honesty, loyalty and faithfulness. For this reason, the stone is also known as ‘guardian of innocence’ and linked to the virtue of fidelity. Sapphires brought harmony between spouses and business integrity between business competitors. They were used as amulets against envy and fraudulent activities, and protected from financial loss. It can also boost one’s wealth.
The wearer of a blue sapphire was often seen as a person of high moral standards. For this reason, leaders and rulers throughout history have often worn it. For example, the Crown Jewels of England, a huge collection of royal regalia, features several large sapphires. It is said that King Solomon wore a sapphire ring. In the 12th century, the clergy of the Christian Church wore sapphire rings.
The star sapphire as a symbol of luck and wish-fulfillment
When Sir Richard Francis Burton, the nineteenth-century British explorer and writer travelled across the Oriental world, he carried an impressive star sapphire named Asteria. He quickly became famous not only for his work but for his valuable gem possession. Since people believed that a single glance at Asteria would bring them luck, they readily offered favors to Sir Barton. This story contributed to the strong reputation of the star sapphire. It is considered a mystical talisman that brings good luck to its owner.
There is a famous story in Hindu mythology about a wish-fulfilling tree called Kalpavriksha. All the parts of this tree are made of gemstones. Particularly, the deep, mighty roots of this wish-fulfilling tree are made of blue sapphires.
The cursed gem symbolism of the star sapphire
The most famous blue star sapphire is the Star of India. In addition to its spectacular appearance and size (563 carats), it also holds a reputation of a cursed gemstone. The Star of India was procured by the famous gemologist George Frederick Kunz for the 1900 Paris Exposition. The wealthy baker J P Morgan who had commissioned the exhibit decided to donate the entire collection of gems to the American Museum of Natural History.
In 1964, a gang group led by Jack Murphy (also known as ‘Murph the Surf’) stole several gems from the museum, including the Star of India. Among the stolen gems, the Star of India was the only one tagged to the alarm system. Even though the theft did not immediately trigger the alarm (the system had run our of batteries), the gang was caught only two days later, and the gem collection was restored.
While often quoted as an example of a bad luck, the details of this story hardly make for a dreadful reputation of a cursed gem. In fact, the cursed gem symbolism of the sapphire comes from the story of another stone, known as the Delhi Purple Sapphire. The story goes that the stone stolen from an Indian temple by a British soldier brought bad luck to the people who kept it. However, the Delhi Purple Sapphire was, in fact, a large purple amethyst. For this reason, claims that sapphires could bring ill fate upon their owners can easily be disputed.