The History of Sapphires
The history of sapphires is a glittering one. Once believed by the Ancient Persians to be the pedestal on which the world perched, and which gave the sky its colour, sapphires have been associated with myth and legend throughout human history. Desired by royalty, coveted by all, and the object of great expeditions around the world, sapphires are prized precious gems, which can take millions, if not billions of years to form.
Comprised of the blue variety of the mineral Corundum, sapphires are valued highly for their vivid hue, with violet shades being particularly sought after. Sapphires can also come in other colours such as yellow and pink, although blue is most often associated with these precious gems.
Sapphires have been discovered all over the world, but many important stones have been found in deposits in Sri Lanka, including a stone unearthed in 2012 that weighed in at 42 kg. Many of the sapphires in our pieces have been sourced from Sri Lanka.
Dazzling in their brilliance, we use sapphires in our beautiful Sweet Pea collection. Ceylon sapphires, shining out from in amongst tendrils of platinum and diamonds, call to mind this quintessential, colourful British flower, sprinkled with morning dew.
Our Peacock Earrings are among our most beloved sapphire pieces. With a feather-style design, softly set with gleaming diamonds and an oval-cut sapphire in pride of place, these earrings glow with their own kind of fire. A favourite for many, these earrings were recently worn by Katherine Jenkins during her performance at Classic FM’s VE Day 70th anniversary concert at the Royal Albert Hall.
There have been many famous stones in the history of sapphires, but one in particular stands out: The Star of India. At 563 carats, this is the largest gem-quality blue sapphire known in the world and is thought to be roughly two billion years old. Currently housed in the American Museum of Natural History, this “star” is so named for the effect that the mineral rutile has on the stone, reflecting incoming light in a star-like pattern, an effect know as “asterism”.
Another world-famous sapphire is currently adorning the finger of another type of star altogether. Originally given to Princess Diana by Prince Charles, the 18-carat blue Ceylon sapphire engagement ring was passed down the royal line and now belongs to the Duchess of Cambridge, given to her by Prince William when he proposed.
The sapphire has been a popular choice for engagement rings since time immemorial because the stone is said to represent loyalty, fidelity and truth, among other things. Our vintage sapphire engagement rings, set with oval and cushion-cut sapphires in platinum and surrounded by diamonds, are beloved for their beauty and their symbolism.
From historic stones to emblems of romantic love, the history of sapphires is a tale of passion, glamour, and grace, and the enduring appeal of sapphires ensures that these stones will never go out of style.