GEMSTONE FOCUS: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SEPTEMBER’S BIRTHSTONE SAPPHIRE
|Much revered throughout history, with an array of rich and vibrant mythological stories and meanings, sapphire is often thought of as the most beautiful coloured gemstone in the world. Taking its name from the Greek word ‘sappheiros’ which means ‘precious stone,’ sapphire is synonymous with royalty, wisdom and sacredness, though each colour has its own particular strength and meaning.|
Found across the globe, sapphires are most commonly mined in Thailand, Kenya, Cambodia, China, Burma, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Australia, United States and Tanzania.
Widely recognised as the official birthstone of the month of September, Sapphire is also the natural birthstone of people born in spring under the zodiac sign of Taurus. It’s also the ideal gemstone gift to give for the 5th and 45th year wedding anniversary.
|Historical Myths and Facts|
According to legend, Helen of Troy owned a large star sapphire, which was believed to have brought her many worthy suitors.
In 1000 B.C. King Solomon was said to have owned an inscribed sapphire which gave him the power to command demons and speak to animals. It is thought the gem was inscribed with a hexagon or ‘Star of David’ though it’s not hard to imagine that it could have also been a six pointed star sapphire.
In Persian history, they imagined the earth rested on a colossal sapphire, and its reflections dyed the sky with its splendid assortment of colours.
The Mugal Emperor Shah Jehan was an enthusiastic collector of gemstones, and is famous for commissioning the infamous ‘Peacock Throne’ that took over 7 years to construct and was embellished with striking blue sapphires, along with pearls, emeralds, rubies and various other gemstones.
|Joséphine was a widow and mistress to several prominent political figures in France until she met Napoléon and their temprestuous love affair began. It is said that Napoléon showered Josepgine with many jewel studded gifts, though none as spectacular as the Parure of Queen Marie Antoinette, a seven-piece jewellery set containing approximately 29 sapphires. Many of which were larger than 20 carats, making the gift one of Joséphine’s favourites!|
An avid collector of incredible gemstone jewellery, Elizabeth Taylor was given a cabochon sapphire engagement ring by one of her husbands, Michael Wilding.
The British Crown Jewels are adorned with large blue sapphires and even more recently, Kate Middleton was presented with Princess Diana’s engagement ring from Prince William.
|The Star of Bombay is a 182-carat, cabochon-cut star sapphire. Originating from Sri Lanka the violet-blue gem was given to silent film actress, Mary Pickford, by her husband, Douglas Fairbanks. The gem was set in a platinum ring by Trabert & Hoeffer. Upon her death, Mary donated the gemstone to the Smithsonian Institution where it can now be enjoyed by those who visit the Smithsonian Museum. The gemstone is also the namesake of the popular ‘Bombay Sapphire’ British manufactured gin.|
|The second largest sapphire in the world is the Logan Sapphire, a flawless specimen discovered in Sri Lanka. The cushion-cut stone possesses a striking deep blue colour and weighs an incredible 422.99-carats. Equal in size to an egg, the Logan Sapphire is set in a brooch surrounded by 20 round brilliant cut diamonds and is currently on display at the National Museum of Natural History in Washington DC.|
|Part of the Royal Crown Jewels of Queen Elizabeth II, the Stuart Sapphire was originally acquired by Robert II of the House of Stuarts in the 14th century. The Stuart sapphire embellishes the band of the crown and weighs 104-carats. A cabochon cut, the sapphire is arguably one of the most historically significant.|
|At an awe-inspiring 466-carats the Blue Giant of the Orient is the largest faceted sapphire in the world. First making headlines in Sri Lanka in 1907, the gemstone mysteriously disappeared for the best part of a century until it recently reemerged.|
|One of the biggest star sapphires in the world, the Star of India weighs at 563.35-carats. Donated to the American Museum of Natural History by J.P. Morgan in the early 20th century, in 1964 the sapphire was famously stolen from the Museum and turned up in a Miami locker several months later.|
The Star of Adam currently holds the title of the largest star sapphire in the world. Weighing 1,404.49-carats, it’s estimated to be worth within the realms of $300 million.