This month, we are bringing you another article in our ‘meet the gemstone’ series and we are taking a look at the sapphire.
Like the ruby gemstone, sapphire is a variety of the mineral, corundum— an aluminium oxide. In that sense, the ruby is a red sapphire.
The sapphire is a precious gemstone that is popular as the centrepiece and as a secondary stone in jewellery.
Loved by many, sapphires have decorated the robes of royalty and clergy members for centuries.
In 1981, Lady Diana Spencer was gifted a sapphire engagement ring by Prince Charles. Years later, Charles and Diana’s son, Prince William, gifted the ring to Kate Middleton — the now Duchess of Cambridge.
How did the sapphire get its name?
The word ‘sapphire’ comes from the Greek word, ‘sappheiros’, which is thought to be linked to a blue stone called the lapis lazuli.
What colour is sapphire?
Sapphires are typically blue but are also found in shades of yellow, purple, orange, and green.
There is an orangey-pink shade of sapphire which is known as ‘padparadscha’; this means ‘lotus flower’ in Sinhalese, which is a language spoken in Sri Lanka.
How strong is sapphire?
Sapphires are a 9 on the Mohs scale, making them the third hardest mineral — after diamond and moissanite.
Where is sapphire found?
Sapphire was first discovered in Kashmir in around 1881 following a landslide in the Himalayas.
Since then, sapphire deposits have been found worldwide — including in Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Pakistan, Thailand, Australia, Nepal, Nigeria, China, and Montana (USA).
What symbolism and beliefs surround sapphire?
Sapphires represent those born in September; however, they are said to bring good luck to anyone who wears them.
Sapphires traditionally represent truth, trust, nobility, loyalty, sincerity, and faithfulness.
In Ancient Greece and Rome, the elite believed that blue sapphires protected the owner from coming to any harm — also, that it freed them of envy.
Interestingly, Ancient Persians thought that the sky was blue because the earth rested on a massive sapphire.
Clerics of the Middle Ages thought that the sapphire symbolised Heaven and so they decorated their robes with the gem.
In Medieval times, Europeans believed that sapphire was an antidote to poison and was capable of curing plague boils and eye diseases.
How big was the largest sapphire?
The sapphire weighs 1404.49 carats, which is around 280g, and is a ‘star sapphire’.
Star sapphires are known as such due to the illusion of a six-pointed star that forms when light is reflected from crystals within the gem.
It is thought that if the largest sapphire was to be put up for sale, it would fetch something in the region of $175m.
What is sapphire used for?
Due to their beauty, sapphires are highly desirable in jewellery and, thanks to their incredible strength, they can be used in all jewellery types — from eternity and engagement rings to necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.
Sapphires are also used for non-decorative purposes such as in the production of scientific instruments, electronic wafers, high-durability windows, and Swiss timepieces.
You can explore our full range of sapphire jewellery on our website, which includes sapphire drop earrings, diamond and sapphire necklaces, diamond and sapphire eternity rings, and sapphire engagement rings.
You can also visit us in-store, where we have made your shopping experience safe and enjoyable.