As we make our way into the month of September, we not only welcome the arrival of Autumn, but also the arrival of another birthstone - sapphire! Have you ever wondered where the term sapphire originated? One of the earliest known references for the gem comes from the Greek word “sappheiros” which translates to “blue stone”.
Sapphires in History
For thousands of years blue sapphires have been synonymous with royalty. Emperors, medieval kings, and high priests alike have all adorned these precious gemstones. Medieval kings believed deep blue sapphires would protect them from their enemies and so they often decorated their robes with the gem. During the 17th century, the royal admiration of sapphires was so strong that it lead to a strict ban forbidding none noble members of society from wearing the precious stone. One of the most famous sapphires in history is the Stuart Sapphire. This notable gem, which has quite the uncertain past, is believed to have been originally owned by Charles II of England and thought to have made its way to Europe at the hands of James VII, where it stayed until 1807. Eventually it was then repurchased by King George III and returned to the royal collection where it remains today set within the Imperial State Crown.
Durable & Hardwearing
A sapphires extraordinary colour is a result of trace elements of the mineral Corundum, and is one of the five cardinal gemstones alongside diamond, ruby, emerald and amethyst. Sapphires also rank 9/10 on the MOHS scale of hardness, meaning they are extremely hardwearing and durable, making it the perfect stone to be set in all types of jewellery - from earrings and pendants to engagement rings and brooches.
Did you also know that many renowned Swiss watchmakers such as Rolex, Omega and Cartier use this precious gemstone in their watch movements due to their excellent durability?
When it comes to sapphires, blue is the most identifiable colour, however the gemstone does form in a wide array of hues! That’s right, sapphires are naturally found in a full spectrum of beautiful colours, with each shade signifying a unique meaning. For example, the iconic blue sapphire is known to be associated with honesty, loyalty, love, purity and trust. Pink sapphires are often compared to the sacred lotus flower with very similar symbolism to the blue sapphire, signifying loyalty, trust, and sincerity, where as green sapphires are thought to bring wisdom, fidelity and integrity to one’s life.
Popularity Among Engagement Rings
This precious gem has been treasured for many centuries and is even one of the most popular gemstones to be found in engagement rings today. Although a popular option in recent times, history dictates that the trend of sapphires appearing in engagement rings isn't a new concept and actually dates back to the 13th Century. Legend states that the gemstones colour would fade if worn by an impure or unfaithful person. This folk tale was so widely accepted that even Pope Innocent III imposed a mandatory wait before getting married in order to see whether the colour fading would occur.
Today's demand for sapphire cluster engagement rings in particular can be accredited to Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. Kate is often photographed wearing her iconic sapphire engagement ring which formerly belonged to her late mother-in law, Princess Diana. This stunning piece, which consists of an oval sapphire center stone surrounded by a halo of diamonds, is considered classic and timeless, and here at Powell's we often stock an array of stunning sapphire rings similar.
If sapphire is your birthstone or perhaps just a gemstone you adore, then please browse our sapphire collection by clicking here!