Few stones can claim historical street cred quite like the sapphire. The Talmud tells that the Ten Commandments were written on blue sapphire stones as a representation of the heavens above. Because of their extraordinary hardness, tradition says, the tablets would withstand even the blow of a hammer.
In fact, many historical legends have sparkled a little brighter thanks to sapphires. Helen of Troy’s legendary beauty has been attributed to possession of a significant star sapphire, while during medieval times, the “Seal of Solomon” sapphire ring was said to enable the eponymously named king to speak with animals and commune with demons.
Thousands of years later, sapphires are still prized for their symbolism. The British Crown Jewels display a large collection, and--to much fanfare--Prince William bestowed a historic sapphire engagement ring upon his bride-to-be, Kate Middleton. The 18-carat oval sapphire surrounded by diamonds had deep meaning--it was originally worn by his mother, Princess Diana. Princess Anne also received a sapphire and diamond engagement ring from her husband, Captain Mark Phillips, upon their betrothel.
Royalty of the Hollywood variety also enjoy showing off their sapphire engagement rings, including Penelope Cruz who received a 3-carat vintage sapphire ring from fiance Javier Bardem, and Elizabeth Hurley, who proudly showed off a 9-carat, square-cut sapphire flanked by diamonds and set in platinum, bestowed upon her by cricket player Shane Warne. But sapphires aren’t just the domain of the engaged set. Celebs ranging from Tina Fey to Meryl Streep have dazzled in earrings, necklaces and bracelets featuring these radiant rocks.
Although blue comes to mind when we think of sapphires, other colors offer equally delightful possibilities. Colorless sapphires share many aesthetic traits with diamonds, while fancy colored sapphires dazzle in hues ranging from yellows and oranges to greens, purples and pinks--each one prized for saturated color, luster and strength. The sister stone of the ruby, sapphires can be found in locations ranging from Australia to Cambodia, although most on today’s market originated in Ceylon, Kashmir and Madagascar.
Whether you value the symbolic meaning of sapphire, or just love the way it looks (and there’s nothing wrong with that!), owning a piece of fine sapphire jewelry places you in extraordinary historical company, while positioning you to create a unique legacy of your own.