Named from the Greek work sappheiros meaning blue, sapphires have been highly priced gemstones since 800 BC. Rulers of ancient Persia believed the sky was painted blue by their reflections and in the antiquity, kings and queens thought that blue sapphires protected their owners from envy and harm. Symbol of royalty, purity and tranquility from the heavens, sapphires were also thought to bestow peace and harmony and protect the wearer from poison, fever and illness.

Today many women wear sapphire because the calming nature of the blue colour associated with trust, loyalty and inner peace. They also range widely in colour from very pale blue to more intense royal blue, to very dark midnight blue. For this reason they make a very versatile alternative eangagement ring.

Sapphires belong to the same mineral species as rubies, called corundum, and hold their blue color from the combination of two chemical elements, iron and titanium. The finest sapphires can originate from Kashmir, Burma and Sri Lanka but beautiful sapphires are also found in Thailand, Cambodia, Australia and East African countries like Madagascar and Nigeria. Unheated sapphires in royal blue color, in fine quality fetch the highest premium of all.

Sapphire is the birthstone for September and the zodiac gemstone for Taurus. They are also recommended for couples celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary. And as British Royalty has shown, a sapphire engagement ring makes a great alternative to diamonds.

Tags: Gemstones