One of the four precious stones, the sapphire has been highly prized as a gemstone since about 800 BC, and is rarer than the diamond. Like the ruby, it is a variety of the mineral corundum, the presence of iron and titanium traces giving it its colour. Sapphires can occur in all shades, although the medium-deep cornflower blue is the most valued. Being the hardest stone apart from diamond, it is extremely durable and sapphire jewellery is often passed down as an heirloom.
Did you know?
- Sapphire is the birthstone for September.
- Sapphire jewellery is traditionally given to celebrate a 45th wedding anniversary.
- Princess Diana’s engagement ring, now worn by Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, contains an 18 carat sapphire surrounded by diamonds.
- The sapphire was believed to represent divine favour and was therefore often worn by kings and high priests.
- The sapphire is thought to encompass the qualities of truth, sincerity and faithfulness, and also bring good fortune to travellers.