Gemstones have been admired and appreciated for their sheer beauty and uniqueness since ancient times. They have been used as adornments, amulets, talismans, and even as forms of currency. One of the most intriguing gemstones is the Indraneelam – a rare blue sapphire that has captured the imaginations of jewelry lovers for centuries. Not only is it a precious stone, but it is also steeped in myth and legend and is believed to possess mystical properties. In this article, we will delve deep into the history, mythology, and properties of Indraneelam gemstones and the jewelry they are set in.
Origins of Indraneelam:
Indraneelam, also known as Neelam or blue sapphire, belongs to the corundum family of minerals. Corundum comes in a variety of colors, including red (ruby), pink, yellow, green, orange, purple, and blue (sapphire). The blue sapphire, in particular, is highly valued and is one of the three most expensive gemstones alongside diamonds and rubies.
The name Indraneelam has its roots in Hindu mythology. Indra is the king of the gods, and ‘neelam’ means blue in Sanskrit. According to legend, Indra's throne was made of sapphires that shone like the stars in the night sky. The gemstone was also used to adorn Lord Krishna's feet, and its association with the gods ensured its place in Indian culture and heritage.
The exact origin of Indraneelam is not known, although records show that it was widely mined in Kashmir in the Himalayan mountain ranges. Kashmir sapphires are considered to be the most valuable and sought-after in the world, primarily because of their intense and stunning blue color. However, with the closure of the mines in the 19th century and subsequent depletion of the deposits, the supply of Kashmir sapphires has become extremely scarce and expensive. Today, the majority of Indraneelam comes from mines in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Myanmar, and Tanzania.
Properties of Indraneelam:
Indraneelam is a hard and durable gemstone, ranking 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, second only to diamonds. Its color can range from pale blue to deep royal blue, with the most prized and valuable varieties being the rich, velvety blue ones with a slight violet tint. The gemstone's luster is vitreous, and it has a translucent to opaque appearance.
One of the most unique features of Indraneelam is its property of pleochroism, which means that the stone displays different colors when viewed from different angles. This phenomenon is more pronounced in larger stones and gives the stone a depth of color and vibrancy that is unmatched by other gemstones.
Indraneelam is also known for its ability to exhibit asterism, or the ‘star effect.’ When cut as a cabochon, the gemstone displays a six-rayed star pattern that moves when the stone is moved under a light source. This star effect is caused by the presence of tiny needle-shaped mineral inclusions in the stone, aligned in such a way that they reflect the light and produce the star pattern. Star sapphires are highly prized and valued for their rarity.
Uses of Indraneelam in Jewelry:
Indraneelam's exquisite color and unique properties make it highly sought after by jewelry designers and connoisseurs alike. The gemstone is often used in high-end jewelry, including designer pieces, vintage jewelry, and heirloom pieces. It is also a popular choice for engagement rings and wedding bands as it is considered to be a symbol of faithfulness, commitment, and enduring love.
Indraneelam is often paired with diamonds, emeralds, or rubies to create stunning and elegant jewelry pieces. It is also used in combination with other gemstones such as amethyst, citrine, or peridot to create colorful and vibrant designs. Indraneelam jewelry comes in a range of styles and designs, from classic to contemporary, and everything in between.
Simple and elegant pieces such as solitaire rings and stud earrings showcase the gemstone's beauty and luster. More elaborate designs, including pendant necklaces, cufflinks, bracelets, and brooches, often feature intricate designs and settings that highlight the gemstone's unique properties.
Indraneelam in Mythology:
As mentioned earlier, Indraneelam is steeped in mythology and legend. In Hindu mythology, it is believed that the gemstone is the manifestation of the planet Saturn and that wearing it can confer immense blessings and benefits. The gemstone is considered to be a symbol of truth, sincerity, and wisdom and is believed to enhance intuition, insight, and spiritual awareness.
Indraneelam is also said to have healing properties, particularly in the treatment of eye disorders, headaches, and general body pain. In crystal healing, it is believed that the gemstone can bring clarity of mind, mental focus, and emotional balance. Indraneelam is also associated with royalty and wealth in many cultures.
In ancient Greece and Rome, the gemstone was worn by kings and nobles as a symbol of their social status and wealth. In medieval Europe, the gemstone was said to have the power to protect its wearer from harm and to bring good fortune and prosperity.
Indraneelam is a rare and precious gemstone with a rich history and mythology that spans centuries. Its exquisite color, unique properties, and association with divinity, spirituality, and royalty make it one of the most sought-after gemstones in the world. Whether worn as an engagement ring, a pendant necklace, or a pair of stud earrings, Indraneelam jewelry is a timeless and elegant addition to any jewelry collection. Its enduring beauty and allure are sure to captivate and enchant for generations to come.