by Richard S. Brown, PG
Let’s examine Blue sapphires as described in ancient Sanskrit literatures. First we look at Sapphire in Vedic Legend
Blue Sapphire In the Legend of Devi Shakuntala
The ancient Sanskrit scriptures known as the Puranas contain a well-known story regarding the astral powers of blue sapphires.
One day, the great King Dushyanta was hunting in the forest when he met and instantly fell in love with a young girl named Shakuntala, who was the daughter of a powerful sage living as an ascetic yogi in the wilderness. Wishing to marry her, the King gave her a beautiful blue sapphire ring to mark their engagement, and he told her to come to his palace whenever she felt ready to marry.
One morning a few month later, as she stood by the river bank drawing water for her father, the sapphire ring slipped off her finger, fell into the river, and was promptly swallowed by a fish. When later she went to visit the King at his palace to consent to his proposal, the King did not recognize her, nor could he recall his promise of marriage. Deeply distressed, she returned sadly to her father’s hut in the forest.
A few months later, the fish which swallowed the ring was caught by a local fisherman, who found the precious sapphire inside its stomach. Thinking that this might be important, the fisherman took the ring to the King. The moment the King set eyes on the stone he immediately remembered Shakuntala and his proposal of marriage to her. He sent for her, and soon they were married and lived a long happy life together, thanks to the precious gem which consummated their destiny.
Now we look at Sapphire in Vedic Gemology
Blue Sapphire In the Vedic Literature Sri Garuda Purana
Summary translation from Sanskrit
The eyes of the great demon Vala were colored and shaped like the blossom petals of the blue lily flower. His eyes transformed into the seeds of blue sapphire gems and fell down on the sacred land of Sinhala (Sri Lanka) and the surrounding tropical areas of Southeast Asia. These sapphire seeds fell in such abundance that these lush and beautiful lands glowed with dazzling splendor.
The finest color of blue sapphire is compared to the blue mountain flowers which grow wild in Sri Lanka. These flowers are so sweet that they attract hoards of bumblebees and parrots eager to drink their nectar. blue sapphires of fine, evenly distributed color, free from flaws and cut to proper proportions for brilliancy are the most valuable.
When blue sapphires have a green or violet tint, are slightly grayish or darkish-blue, or are colored light-blue like the sky, they are of medium value.
Blue sapphires that are excessively dark, light, or uneven in color, possessing a pronounced grayish tone, internal inclusions, external blemishes, visible black spots or internal feathers, are of low quality. Sapphires lacking brilliance due to poor proportions are also less valuable.
Both ruby and blue sapphire are of the same mineral species, corundum, with only the coloring agent differing. Therefore the same methods of identification established for ruby also apply to blue sapphire.
Blue sapphires of all types should never be subjected to burning for improving their color and clarity, as misfortune will certainly befall anyone doing so.
Blue glass, lapis lazuli, blue spinel and other gems occasionally look like blue sapphires, but are easily detected by testing for hardness, specific gravity, and brightness.
The most rare and valuable of all blue sapphires is the maha-nila, which, when immersed in 100 times its own weight of milk, can tinge the milk blue.
Astrologically, fine blue sapphires are as powerful as excellent rubies, but monetarily they are valued at one-quarter the price of a ruby of equal quality. — Sri Garuda Puranam: Chap. 72