The Twelve Foundation Stones of the Holy City—Sapphire

“Does it go against the Bible to work with crystals?” In my work as a crystal healer, this is a question I have been asked before.

I encourage others to seek and follow what feels true and right for them in terms of religion and spirituality. If there’s a question or concern, perhaps it is best to consult with trusted spiritual authorities to help gain clarity.

However, this question did intrigue me, so I investigated it. I was surprised to find numerous references to the power of gemstones in the Bible. I was able to count at least one hundred Bible verses that spoke of precious gems, which suggests that there was openness to crystals and gemstones in biblical times. Here are two noteworthy examples:

In the Old Testament, instructions were given to create the holy breastplate of the High Priest of Israel, which included twelve specific stones in four rows. From the 13th century BC, high priests wore the breastplate to communicate with God and receive guidance.

We see this theme of twelve precious stones appearing again in the New Testament. Revelation 21:19 introduces the twelve foundation stones of the heavenly city. (Interestingly, these biblical references to twelve gemstones later inspired the concept of the twelve birthstones that the Western world acknowledges today.)

The Book of Revelation is an enigmatic read, filled with visionary accounts of the end of the world and the second coming of Christ. The final two chapters, 21 and 22, are said to metaphorically describe the heavenly realm, and it is where we find mention of a future holy city. This city made of gold was described as having twelve stones in the foundation, many of which overlapped with the twelve stones in the holy breastplate.

What are the Twelve Foundation Stones?

Revelation 21:19–20 reads, "The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst."

There’s debate among experts today about the accuracy of this list of foundation stones.

This is because the ancient names of gemstones don’t correspond with our modern mineral classifications. Instead of categorizing gemstones based on their crystalline forms and composition, like we do today, in ancient times stones were named based on their color, place of origin, or how they were used.

The International Gem Society published this list of the twelve foundation stones as the one they believe is the most accurate and correct version: Garnet, Amethyst, Jasper, Diamond, Emerald, Agate, Turquoise, Carnelian, Chrysolite (Peridot), Beryl, Topaz, and Ruby.

Each article in this series will cover the geological properties, historical uses, and metaphysical qualities of one foundation stone. This month, it’s all about the second foundation stone, Sapphire.

Sapphire: Treasured throughout time, Sapphire is one of the four precious gemstones that is highly prized for its value and radiant beauty. The word, Sapphire, comes from the Latin word sapphirus and was likely originating from the Sanskrit word Sanipriya. Sanipriya means “dear to the planet Saturn,” which is the planet assigned to Sapphire. Sapphire is the traditional September birthstone and is the 45th anniversary stone.

Sapphire has a high refractive index, which means it has exceptional sparkle and brilliance that make it shine when set in jewelry. It has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, making it one of the most durable substances on Earth. Due to its hardness and unique geological properties, Sapphire is used in industrial applications, such as semiconductors, watches, smartphones, tablets, and LED lights.

Sapphire belongs to the corundum family, which is comprised of aluminum oxide. Rubies and Sapphires are related, both with corundum as the base mineral. Ruby gets its red coloration from chromium. Most people visualize a blue stone when they think of Sapphire. Blue Sapphire gets its color from iron and titanium. However, Sapphire comes in a range of beautiful colors: pink, green, orange, black, purple, white, and yellow. These colors occur due to other specific chromophores within the aluminum oxide crystal lattice.

Historical Uses

Sapphire has an enduring sacred quality. It was revered as a gemstone of wisdom, holiness, and prophecy in many religious traditions and ancient civilizations, including Christianity.

It is believed that the Ten Commandments given to Moses were engraved on great tablets made of Sapphire. King Solomon had a powerful ring made of Sapphire, symbolizing wisdom. Called the Seal of Solomon, it gave him the ability to communicate with animals and direct spirits. Abraham wore a grand Sapphire pendant that was said to have ascended to the sun upon his death.

Sapphire is the fifth stone in the holy breastplate from the Old Testament, and it is the second foundation stone of the holy city as described in Revelation, symbolizing “the height of celestial hope.” Religious writings attributed Sapphire to both St. Andrew and St. Paul and described Sapphire as a holy stone that encouraged piety, spiritual devotion, chastity, purity of thought, and protection from evil—and could diminish “the wrath of God.”

Sapphire is regarded as the gemstone of choice for ecclesiastical rings. When the Pope elects a new Cardinal, he is given a set of gifts, one of which is a Sapphire ring set in gold and placed on the right ring finger by the Pope. The Sapphire ring is said to represent heaven, chastity, and devotion to the church.

Sapphire is the star of interesting lore in many other cultures and contexts. The ancient Greeks called Sapphire the jewel of Apollo, the sun god. When questioners consulted the oracle at Delphi, they wore a Sapphire to help them access wisdom and fully grasp the messages. Legend has it that the key to Helen of Troy’s attractiveness and desirability was her large and enchanting Sapphire.

The ancient Hindus revered Sapphire, one of the key gemstones they used in temples for worship and to honor specific astrological influences. Ancient Indian lore describes the origin story of Blue and Yellow Sapphire. A demon god named Vala was killed and dismembered, with body parts being flung to the earth, where they became gemstones. Yellow Sapphires came from the skin of Vala, which fell in the Himalayas. His blue eyes became Blue Sapphires which are found in Sri Lanka and Southeast Asia. Hindu texts describe medicinal uses of Sapphire to treat excess bile, phlegm, flatulence, ulcers, and boils.

According to ancient Persian belief, the earth was nestled on a gargantuan Sapphire gem, which produced the color of the sky and heavens. Buddhists have long recognized the calming properties of Sapphire and its ability to help them achieve enlightenment, deepening prayer and meditation practices. The ancient Egyptians used Sapphire to treat disorders of the eyes. The Book of the Dead described how to create a Sapphire amulet dedicated to the Eye of Horus, which was supposed to awaken the third eye and divine vision.

Worn by kings and queens, Sapphire was a gemstone for royalty with protective qualities. Charlemagne wore a famous Sapphire talisman that was said to have been imbued with powers that allowed him to communicate with angels. Legend has it that it also bestowed healing and protection.

Metaphysical Properties

Many of the mystical properties attributed to Sapphire from times past are still acknowledged today, and this is especially true of Blue Sapphire. Blue Sapphire is still regarded as a stone of wisdom, truth, mental acuity, spirituality, and psychic perception.

The blue ray lends activating power, strength, and coherence to the third eye and throat chakras. Blue Sapphire awakens the third eye, enhancing intuitive awareness and many psychic powers, such as ESP, clairvoyance, lucid dreaming, past life recall, meditation, and channeling. It opens and integrates the third eye and the throat chakras, so that you can communicate the wisdom and messages you receive when you are in an altered state of consciousness. It is a perfect stone for psychics and channels to support accuracy in readings.

Blue Sapphire is Saturn’s gemstone, the planet of structure, order, discipline, and crystalline coding. The organizational quality of Blue Sapphire positively affects the mind, assisting with mental clarity, focus, and the release of negative thinking. Having a strong and directed mind is key to manifestation, self-discipline, and achieving your goals. Blue Sapphire is recognized as a gemstone that brings prosperity and abundance, blessing all ventures that are in higher alignment and integrity.

Blue Sapphire has a cleansing quality that can purify trapped, negative, and disorganized energy in the chakras and body. It also provides energetic protection and shielding. Blue Sapphire can lift depression, heal feelings of insecurity, and help you get in touch with and express your emotions and truth. It can bring harmony, clarity, and peace to all levels of your being: physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental.

Blue Sapphire is still regarded as a top gemstone for treating disorders of the eyes and vision. It also alleviates headaches, fever, thyroid imbalances, and ear problems, while calming overactive systems of the body. Blue Sapphire is known to support the healing and proper functioning of the endocrine and nervous systems.

Sapphire comes in a rainbow of colors. Here’s a summary of the metaphysical properties of different colored Sapphires:

Pink Sapphire: a gemstone of emotional mastery and expression. It clears emotional blockages and inspires greater levels of love and forgiveness.

Green Sapphire: a gemstone of loyalty, faithfulness, and compassion. It enhances respect for different belief systems and dream recall.

Orange Sapphire (Padparadsha Sapphire): a gemstone of creativity, playfulness, vitality, and sensuality. It activates the lower chakras and assists with manifestation.

Black Sapphire: a gemstone of protection and grounding. It relieves stress and anxiety, while boosting confidence in your intuition. It can help you find and keep a job.

Purple Sapphire: a gemstone of spiritual awakening, peace, oneness, and wisdom. It activates the crown chakra, clairvoyance, and kundalini energy.

White Sapphire: a gemstone of awareness, purity, progress, and spiritual connection. It activates the pineal and pituitary glands, fostering greater spiritual attunement. It aligns you with your higher purpose and helps you to overcome obstacles.

Yellow Sapphire: a gemstone of abundance and personal power. It activates the solar plexus chakra, boosts manifestation ability, and enhances the intellect.

Sapphire brightly bestows the light, wisdom, truth, and spiritual power of the celestial realms—a perfect vibrational cornerstone for the heavenly city. Working with it can spiritually refine you and bring your energy into greater compatibility with your concept of the divine. Stay tuned for the next article in this series, which will dive into the history and properties of the fascinating foundation stone, Agate.