The Allure of Sapphires
Blue fire! Sapphires have historically captivated civilisations with their icy beauty. The word “sapphire” derives from the Latin “saphirus” and the Greek “sapheiros”, meaning “blue”.
Ancient Persian myth had it that Earth is supported by a massive sapphire whose reflection is the sky. In Renaissance Europe, Abbess Hildegard of Bingen extolled the healing and intellect enhancing powers of sapphires in her book, Physica. Traditionally, royalty has favoured the gemstone as it symbolises wisdom, spirituality, virtue and prosperity.
Here’s looking at some of history’s best known sapphires:
|The Logan Sapphire|
Set in a brooch encircled by 20 round diamonds, this spectacular, deep blue, 423 carat gemstone came from Sri Lanka. Named after Mrs. John Logan, it is on display at the National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C.
The Queen Marie of Romania Sapphire
World famous jewellers Cartier’s sold this 478 carat, cornflower blue pendant to the Romanian royal family in 1922. In 2003, it sold for $1,494,480 at Christie’s auction.
The Ruspoli Sapphire
Lozenge-shaped, six-faceted and virtually flawless, the Ruspoli is named after 17th century Italian Prince Francesco Maria Ruspoli. It was passed on to King Louis XIV, got confiscated during the French Revolution and finally came to rest at the Paris Museum of Natural History.
The Star of Asia Star Sapphire
A round, violet-blue gemstone, possibly from Myanmar. The Star of Asia is 330 carats and it is displayed in the Smithsonian Museum.
The Star of Bombay
This 182 carat star sapphire from Sri Lanka was a romantic gift from Hollywood icon Douglas Fairbanks to silent movie star Mary Pickford. Bacardi named their gin after it, ‘Bombay Sapphire’.
The Star of India
A grey-blue, flawless sapphire from Sri Lanka, the Star of India weighs in at 564 carats. Rutile, a mineral, gives it a milky hue, along with the star pattern present on both sides. J. P. Morgan the American financier donated it to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
The Stuart Sapphire
Incorporated into the Imperial State Crown by Queen Victoria, the Stuart Sapphire later made way for the Cullinan Diamonds. Today’s British royals have been seen wearing it mounted on a gold brooch.
The Black Star of Queensland
At 733 carats, this is the world’s largest star sapphire, a stunning black beauty from Queensland, Australia. Glittering around the Black Star are 35 teardrop-shaped diamonds and within its inky depths glow mesmeric golden rays.
Caring for Sapphire Jewellery
Home care for sapphires set in gold or platinum is simple. Using lukewarm water and dishwashing detergent, gently scrub your precious one with a soft toothbrush. Rinse the gemstone and pat dry with a soft cloth. Soaking sapphires for 15 to 20 minutes before rinsing is good for deep cleaning.