A Guide to Sapphire Jewellery
Sapphire are one of the most important and iconic gemstones. Most commonly associated with the colour blue, these precious gems are as distinguishable as white diamonds, red rubies and green emeralds. It is said that a sapphire engagement ring represents faithfulness and sincerity and, in a wider symbolic sense, stand for wisdom, virtue, good fortune and holiness.
Read on for our introductory sapphire guide.
History & reputation
Sapphire jewellery has been associated with royalty for centuries. In British history, the first major sapphire to be added to the crown jewels is the Stuart Sapphire, a 104-carat blue sapphire that can be traced back to the 16th century. More recently, Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with the famous 12-carat natural Ceylon sapphire engagement ring that was previously worn by his mother, Princess Diana. Although the ring was initially criticised by Royal commentators when it debuted on Diana’s hand – it was unusual for a Royal to wear something that was neither custom made nor particularly unique – the design has become a classic and is one of the most popular engagement ring styles of today.
What makes a sapphire?
Sapphires are a variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide. Most associate sapphires with a deep lavish blue colour, but unknown to many, sapphires can also be yellow, purple, orange, and green – and even clear like a diamond. The only corundum colour that isn’t classified as a sapphire is red, which is a ruby.
Sapphire has been discovered in many places around the world – Madagascar, Thailand, China, Australia, North America – but the most prized and valuable specimens come from Burma (Myanmar) and Ceylon (Sri Lanka). It goes without saying that the larger the sapphire, the more valuable it is. But other key factors such as colour, saturation, clarity and – crucially – whether or not the stone has been heated to alter its appearance – significantly alter the stone’s price. Larger, more important, sapphires are often flanked by smaller diamonds such as in this art deco sapphire and diamond ring.
Incredibly hard and durable, sapphires can be worn every day and are a practical choice for an engagement ring. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, they score a 9 out of 10, meaning they don’t scratch or break easily. The only gem more durable than sapphire is diamond.
Along with traditional large cut sapphire rings, they can be cut smaller and set with other gemstones to create a captivating effect, as seen in this enchanting mid-century diamond and sapphire ring.
If you have any questions regarding this precious jewel, get in touch with us today and we’ll help you find the perfect piece to add to your collection.