A History of Sapphires in Culture: Ivan the Terrible

Throughout time, sapphires have been revered for their beauty, their strength and durability, and the perceived powers of wellness and protection. In a celebration of the special cultural relevance of sapphires, we have gathered together some of our favorite stories to share of historical sapphires through all cultures. Part V continues Ivan the Terrible.

Ivan the Terrible – 1530–1584

Although he is not remembered for his gentler pursuits, the fearsome Tsar of Russia, Ivan the Terrible, was known to be an avid sapphire lover.  Sir Jerome Horsey, envoy for Queen Elizabeth of England, quotes Ivan the Terrible as saying, once translated to modern English:

The sapphire I greatly delight in, it preserves and increases courage, gives the heart joy, is pleasing to all the vital senses, and it is precious and sovereign for the eyes:  it clears the sight, takes away bloodshot and strengthens the muscles and strings of it.

There are a number of rumors surrounding Ivan’s demise, including death by mercury poisoning—which does not say much for sapphire’s legendary ability to neutralize poison.