FIYAH Life: Sapphire

Ruby and Sapphire

By Ben Collinson

Ruby and Sapphire

Ahead of the launch of our new FIYAH Solar Ring, which is the first ring we have made with natural precious gemstones (it is available with the option of either rubies or sapphires), here is some information about the stones.

Ruby

Natural Ruby is one of four “precious” gemstones (including Diamond, Emerald and Sapphire) known its rarity, monetary value, and hardness (second only to Diamond). Ruby is red Corundum, an aluminium oxide mineral with chromium responsible for its rich, red colour. The name comes from the Latin word rubeus, meaning “red,” and until 1800 when Ruby was recognized as a variety of Corundum, red Spinels, Tourmalines, and Garnets were also believed to be Ruby. All other colour varieties of Corundum are designated as Sapphire.

The fiery and captivating Ruby is a stone of nobility, considered the most magnificent of all gems, the queen of stones and the stone of kings. Ancients believed it surpassed all other precious stones in virtue, and its value exceeded even that of the Diamond. The Chinese Emperor Kublai Khan was said to have offered an entire city in exchange for a sizable Ruby.

Revered in many cultures throughout history, Ruby has always been a talisman of passion, protection and prosperity. It symbolizes the sun, and its glowing hue suggests an inextinguishable flame within the stone that legends claim would shine through even the thickest clothing and could not be hidden; if Ruby were cast into water it would cause it to boil, and if carved and pressed into wax, it would melt the wax. It was worn as an amulet or charm to ward off plague and pestilence, warned its wearer of impending danger, kept the body safe, and banished sadness and foolish thoughts. It was reputed to bring its owner peace, drive away frightful dreams, restrain lust, and to help resolve disputes. Burmese legend declares inserting a Ruby into the flesh would make one completely invulnerable.

Today, Ruby’s metaphysical properties are no less astounding. This exquisite crystal emanates the pure Red ray with a vibrancy unsurpassed in the mineral kingdom. It actively stimulates the Base Chakra, increasing vitality and chi, the life-force energy, throughout the physical body and into the spirit. It promotes a clear mind, increased concentration and motivation, and brings a sense of power to the wearer, a self-confidence and determination that overcomes timidity and propels one toward prosperity and achievement.

Ruby initiates the sensual pleasures of life. It stirs the blood and stimulates the heart, encouraging one to enjoy being in the physical world. It increases desire and sexual energy, and may be used to activate the kundalini.  Ruby has always been associated with love, especially faithful passionate commitment and closeness. In antiquity Rubies were considered to be perfect wedding stones.

Ruby forms in prismatic tabular, bipyramidal or rhombohedral crystals, as well as granular or massive habits, and has a vitreous lustre. The most valuable and desired Rubies are those of a shade called “pigeon’s blood,” defined by William Fernie as “a pure deep, rich red, without any admixture of blue or yellow,” though others define it as “a pure red with a hint of blue.” The shade of red varies depending on where it is mined, and may be a deep pink-red, a reddish-orange, red with a violet cast, or even a deep wine colour. The paler pink Corundum, debated as Ruby by some, is usually referred to in gemmological terms as Pink Sapphire rather than Ruby.

All natural Rubies have imperfections within them, including colour impurities and inclusions of Rutile needles known as “silk.” These inclusions help distinguish natural Ruby from synthetics and when structurally oriented so the light shines off the “silk” in certain ways, the inclusions actually increase the rarity and value of the stone. If cut in cabochon, these special stones may display a chatoyancy, or rare “cat’s eye” effect, or in the case of a Star Ruby may display a six-rayed star effect called asterism, that causes the light rays to appear to glide magically across the stone as it is moved.

Sapphire

The magnificent and holy Sapphire, in all its celestial hues, is a stone of wisdom and royalty, of prophecy and Divine favour. It is forever associated with sacred things and considered the gem of gems, a jewel steeped in the history and lore of nearly every religion. To the ancient and medieval world, Sapphire of heavenly blue signified the height of celestial hope and faith, and was believed to bring protection, good fortune and spiritual insight. It was a symbol of power and strength, but also of kindness and wise judgment.

In Hebrew lore, King Solomon and Abraham both wore talismans of Sapphire, and the Law given to Moses on the Mount was said to be engraved on tablets of Sapphire. The Greeks wore it for wisdom at Delphi when seeking answers from the Oracle at Apollo’s Shrine. Buddhists believed it brought devotion and spiritual enlightenment, and the Hindus considered Sapphire as one of the “great gems” used in offerings in the temples for worship and to align astrological influences. In Christianity it was used in ecclesiastical rings, and was cherished by kings and nobility for its powers of protection and insight.

As a talisman, Sapphire was thought to preserve chastity, discover fraud and treachery, protect its wearer from poison, plague, fever and skin diseases, and had great power in resisting black magic and ill-wishing. It healed ailments of the eyes, increased concentration, and would lose lustre if worn by an intemperate or impious person.

Today Sapphire is still a Stone of Wisdom, a royal stone of learning, mental acuity and psychic activation, a seeker after spiritual truth. Its pure Blue Ray brings order and healing to the mind, lending strength and focus, and an ability to see beneath surface appearances to underlying truths and to utilize that knowledge. It stimulates the Throat and Third Eye Chakras, allowing one to access deeper levels of consciousness in order to gain a fuller understanding of self. Associated with the planet Saturn, Blue Sapphire embraces order, structure, and self-discipline, and is ideal for accomplishing goals and manifesting ideas into form. Sapphire’s power to transmute negative thoughts and energy also makes it highly effective for earth and chakra healing.

Sapphire is a variety of Corundum, an aluminium oxide mineral that forms in prismatic tabular, bipyramidal or rhombohedral crystals, as well as granular or massive habits, and may be transparent to opaque. Blue is considered Sapphire’s “true” colour and the one most often recognized, though Sapphire does form in a diversity of colours (listed below), and will have the colour added to its name (for example: Green Sapphire, Yellow Sapphire). Additional mineral compounds forming with aluminium oxide are responsible for the different coloration, and in the case of Blue Sapphire, iron and titanium provide its heavenly hues. With the exception of Red Corundum, which is Ruby, all other colours of Corundum are Sapphires.

Information from crystalvaults.com

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The Solar Ring

By Ben Collinson

The Solar Ring
We are excited to announce a new adjustable ring that represents our solar system and the closest stars to it. The ring will be available with either rubies or sapphires set in sterling silver with eight 2mm stones to represent the planets and twelve 1.2mm stones to represent the ten closest stars to our solar system.
We will be releasing this ring next month so keep an eye out for it.
To go along with this, we’re going to talk about the planets, stars, their histories and associations with them.

What Is The Solar System?

It is our Sun and everything that travels around it. Our solar system is elliptical in shape. That means it is shaped like an egg. The Sun is in the centre of the solar system and the system is always in motion. Eight known planets and their moons, along with comets, asteroids, and other space objects orbit the Sun. The Sun is the biggest object in our solar system. It contains more than 99% of the solar system's mass. Astronomers think the solar system is more than 4 billion years old.
Astronomers are now finding new objects far, far from the Sun which they call dwarf planets. Pluto, which was once called a planet, is now called a dwarf planet.
There are eight primary planets in our solar system. In order of distance from the sun with the closest first, they are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.

The Planets

Mercury

The closest planet to the sun, Mercury is only a bit larger than Earth's moon. Its day side is scorched by the sun and can reach 840 degrees Fahrenheit (450 Celsius), but on the night side, temperatures drop to hundreds of degrees below freezing. Mercury has virtually no atmosphere to absorb meteor impacts, so its surface is pockmarked with craters, just like the moon. Over its four-year mission, NASA's MESSENGER spacecraft has revealed views of the planet that have challenged astronomers' expectations.

Discovery: Known to the ancients and visible to the naked eye

Named for: Messenger of the Roman gods

Diameter: 3,031 miles (4,878 km)

Orbit: 88 Earth days

Day: 58.6 Earth days

Venus

The second planet from the sun, Venus is terribly hot, even hotter than Mercury. The atmosphere is toxic. The pressure at the surface would crush and kill you. Scientists describe Venus’ situation as a runaway greenhouse effect. Its size and structure are similar to Earth, Venus' thick, toxic atmosphere traps heat in a runaway "greenhouse effect." Oddly, Venus spins slowly in the opposite direction of most planets.

The Greeks believed Venus was two different objects — one in the morning sky and another in the evening. Because it is often brighter than any other object in the sky — except for the sun and moon — Venus has generated many UFO reports.

Discovery: Known to the ancients and visible to the naked eye

Named for: Roman goddess of love and beauty

Diameter: 7,521 miles (12,104 km)

Orbit: 225 Earth days

Day: 241 Earth days

Earth

The third planet from the sun, Earth is a waterworld, with two-thirds of the planet covered by ocean. It’s the only world known to harbor life. Earth’s atmosphere is rich in life-sustaining nitrogen and oxygen. Earth's surface rotates about its axis at 1,532 feet per second (467 meters per second) — slightly more than 1,000 mph (1,600 kph) — at the equator. The planet zips around the sun at more than 18 miles per second (29 km per second).

Diameter: 7,926 miles (12,760 km)

Orbit: 365.24 days

Day: 23 hours, 56 minutes

Mars

The fourth planet from the sun, is a cold, dusty place. The dust, an iron oxide, gives the planet its reddish cast. Mars shares similarities with Earth: It is rocky, has mountains and valleys, and storm systems ranging from localized tornado-like dust devils to planet-engulfing dust storms. It snows on Mars. And Mars harbors water ice. Scientists think it was once wet and warm, though today it’s cold and desert-like.

Mars' atmosphere is too thin for liquid water to exist on the surface for any length of time. Scientists think ancient Mars would have had the conditions to support life, and there is hope that signs of past life — possibly even present biology — may exist on the Red Planet.

Discovery: Known to the ancients and visible to the naked eye

Named for: Roman god of war

Diameter: 4,217 miles (6,787 km)

Orbit: 687 Earth days

Day: Just more than one Earth day (24 hours, 37 minutes)

Jupiter

The fifth planet from the sun, Jupiter is huge and is the most massive planet in our solar system. It’s a mostly gaseous world, mostly hydrogen and helium. Its swirling clouds are colourful due to different types of trace gases. A big feature is the Great Red Spot, a giant storm which has raged for hundreds of years. Jupiter has a strong magnetic field, and with dozens of moons, it looks a bit like a miniature solar system.

Discovery: Known to the ancients and visible to the naked eye

Named for: Ruler of the Roman gods

Diameter: 86,881 miles (139,822 km)

Orbit: 11.9 Earth years

Day: 9.8 Earth hours

Saturn

The sixth planet from the sun is known most for its rings. When Galileo Galilei first studied Saturn in the early 1600s, he thought it was an object with three parts. Not knowing he was seeing a planet with rings, the stumped astronomer entered a small drawing — a symbol with one large circle and two smaller ones — in his notebook, as a noun in a sentence describing his discovery. More than 40 years later, Christiaan Huygens proposed that they were rings. The rings are made of ice and rock. Scientists are not yet sure how they formed. The gaseous planet is mostly hydrogen and helium. It has numerous moons.

Discovery: Known to the ancients and visible to the naked eye

Named for: Roman god of agriculture

Diameter: 74,900 miles (120,500 km)

Orbit: 29.5 Earth years

Day: About 10.5 Earth hours

Uranus

The seventh planet from the sun, Uranus is an oddball. It’s the only giant planet whose equator is nearly at right angles to its orbit — it basically orbits on its side. Astronomers think the planet collided with some other planet-size object long ago, causing the tilt. The tilt causes extreme seasons that last 20-plus years, and the sun beats down on one pole or the other for 84 Earth-years. Uranus is about the same size as Neptune. Methane in the atmosphere gives Uranus its blue-green tint. It has numerous moons and faint rings.

Discovery: 1781 by William Herschel (was thought previously to be a star)

Named for: Personification of heaven in ancient myth

Diameter: 31,763 miles (51,120 km)

Orbit: 84 Earth years

Day: 18 Earth hours

Neptune

The eighth planet from the sun, Neptune is known for strong winds — sometimes faster than the speed of sound. Neptune is far out and cold. The planet is more than 30 times as far from the sun as Earth. It has a rocky core. Neptune was the first planet to be predicted to exist by using mathematics, before it was detected. Irregularities in the orbit of Uranus led French astronomer Alexis Bouvard to suggest some other might be exerting a gravitational tug. German astronomer Johann Galle used calculations to help find Neptune in a telescope. Neptune is about 17 times as massive as Earth.

Discovery: 1846

Named for: Roman god of water

Diameter: 30,775 miles (49,530 km)

Orbit: 165 Earth years

Day: 19 Earth hours

So that’s a basic overview of the planets in our solar system.  Now we’re going to talk about stars and the stars that are closest to us.

What Is A Star?

75% of the matter in the Universe is hydrogen and 23% is helium; these are the amounts left over from the Big Bang. These elements exist in large stable clouds of cold molecular gas. At some point a gravitational disturbance, like a supernova explosion or a galaxy collision will cause a cloud of gas to collapse, beginning the process of star formation.

As the gas collects together, it heats up. Conservation of momentum from the movement of all the particles in the cloud causes the whole cloud to begin spinning. Most of the mass collects in the center, but the rapid rotation of the cloud causes it to flatten out into a protoplanetary disk. It’s out of this disk that planets will eventually form, but that’s another story.

The protostar at the heart of the cloud heats up from the gravitational collapse of all the hydrogen and helium, and over the course of about 100,000 years, it gets hotter and hotter becoming a T Tauri star. Finally after about 100 million years of collapse, temperatures and pressures at its core become sufficient that nuclear fusion can ignite. From this point on, the object is a star.

Nuclear fusion is what defines a star, but they can vary in mass. And the different amounts of mass give a star its properties. The least massive star possible is about 75 times the mass of Jupiter. In other words, if you could find 74 more Jupiters and mash them together, you’d get a star. The most massive star possible is still an issue of scientific disagreement, but it’s thought to be about 150 times the mass of the Sun. More than that, and the star just can’t hold itself together.

The least massive stars are red dwarf stars, and will consume small amounts over tremendous periods of time. Astronomers have calculated that there are red dwarf stars that could live 10 trillion years. They put out a fraction of the energy released by the Sun. The largest supergiant stars, on the other hand, have very short lives. A star like Eta Carinae, with 150 times the mass of the Sun is emitting more than 1 million times as much energy as the Sun. It has probably only lasted a few million years and will soon detonate as a powerful supernova; destroying itself completely.

Most stars are in the main sequence phase of their lives, where they’re doing hydrogen fusion in their cores. Once this hydrogen runs out, and only helium is left in the core, the stars have to burn something else. The largest stars can continue fusing heavier and heavier elements until they can’t sustain fusion any more. The smallest stars eject their outer layers and become white dwarf stars, while the more massive stars have much more violent ends, become neutron stars and even black holes.

The twelve closest stars to our solar system in order of distance are: Proxima Centauri, Rigil Kentaurus, Barnard's Star, Wolf 359, Lalande 21185, Luyten 726-8A and B, Sirius A and B, Ross 154, Ross 248, Epsilon Eridani.

 

Proxima Centauri

The closest star to our own solar system is called Proxima Centauri. It will not always be closest, since stars do move through space. Proxima Centauri is the third star in the Alpha Centauri star system, also known as Alpha Centauri C.

  • Distance: 4.2 light-years

Rigil Kentaurus

The second closest star is a tie between the sister stars of Proxima Centauri. Alpha Centauri A and B make up the other two stars of the triple star system Alpha Centauri.

  • Distance: 4.3 light-years

Barnard's Star

This is a faint red dwarf star, discovered in 1916 by E. E. Barnard. Recent efforts to discover planets around Barnard's Star have failed.

  • Distance: 5.9 light-years

Wolf 359

This star is known to many as the location of a famous battle on Star Trek the Next generation. Wolf 359 is a red dwarf. It is so small that if it were to replace our Sun, an observer on Earth would need a telescope to see it clearly.

  • Distance: 7.7 light-years

Lalande 21185

While it is the fifth closest star to our own Sun, Lalande 21185 is about three times too faint to be seen with the naked eye. You'd need a good telescope to pick it out of the night sky.

  • Distance: 8.26 light-years

Luyten 726-8A and B

Discovered by Willem Jacob Luyten (1899-1994), both Luyten 726-8A 726-8B are red dwarfs and too faint to be seen with the naked eye.

  • Distance: 8.73 light-years

Sirius A and B

Sirius, also known as the Dog Star, is the brightest star in the night sky. It has a companion called Sirius B, which is a white dwarf. 

  • Distance: 8.6 light-years

Ross 154

Ross 154 appears to be a flare star, which means that it can increase its brightness by a factor of 10 or more before reverting to its normal state, a process which takes only a few minutes.

  • Distance: 9.693 light-years

Ross 248

While it is now the ninth closest star to our solar system, around the year 38000AD, the red dwarf Ross 248 will take the place of Proxima Centauri as the closest star to us.

  • Distance: 10.32 light-years

Epsilon Eridani

Epsilon Eridani is among the closest stars known to have a planet, Epsilon Eridani b. It is the third closest star that is viewable without a telescope.

  • Distance: 10.5 light-years

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