Sapphire, Or Safphyr is a precious stone of an azure or beautiful sky-colour. It is transparent, yet so exceedingly hard, as scarcely to bear being engraven. The deepest blues are esteemed, males, and the whitest, females. The finest things, in the Hebrew, are called sapphires. The throne of God is said to resemble a sapphire; and the Rabbins hold that Moses' rod, and the tables he received on Mount Sinai, were of sapphire. There are oriental, white oriental, Brazilian, and water sapphires, all containing silex, alumina, lime and iron. The chemists make several preparations of sapphire ; as a salt, a tincture, an essence, a water, an oil, etc. and there are few diseases but some pretend to cure by them.
Some rank the Cat's eye in the number of sapphires. This gem has a remarkable diversity of colours, is very hard, and bears a polish equal to the true sapphire. The sapphires of Pegu are the most esteemed. They are found in the same mines with the rubies. Some are also brought from Calicut, Cananor, and Ceylon. The soft water sapphires of Bohemia and Silesia are of some account, though far inferior to the oriental ones, both in their brightness and firmness. Some value the sapphire beyond the ruby, and give it the second place among precious stones. (See p. 117).