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A Look Into The Sky

Ranging from very pale blue to deep, dark indigo, the sapphire is the stunning birthstone for September.  Favoured by royals past and present, sapphires are timeless. Our very own Prince Charles famously gave Lady Diana a diamond engagement ring, which was recently given to Catherine from Prince William on their engagement.

Over the years, sapphires gained quite the reputation for being able to keep the soul pure. Worn by priests as a form of protection from impure thoughts and the temptations of the flesh and by Medieval Kings of Europe to keep them from harm and envy.  The Ancient Greeks believed that sapphires symbolised wisdom and purity and so they reserved them for Kings.  The Ancient Greeks also strongly believed that the world itself was set upon a giant sapphire and the search started to find one that matched the late summer sky of September.  According to legend, the Ten Commandments were said to have been engraved on a giant sapphire tablet and Noah’s Ark was lit up by a sapphire used as a window.

Sapphires were, and still are, very desirable gems.

With a surprising hardness rating of nine on the Mohs Scale, on which only a diamond has a higher scale rating of ten, sapphires are also used in some non-ornamental pieces which include, infrared optical components, high durability windows and wristwatch movement bearings.

Sister to the ruby, sapphires are usually found in countries such as, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Burma, Australia and Tanzania.  One of the most famous sapphires in history was discovered in Australia in the 30’s.  Named the ‘Black Star of Queensland’ the gem is a staggering 733 carats, weighing over 147 grams!  To this day it is still the world’s largest star sapphire.  Owned by an unknown private party, the stone is no longer on public display after the last airing of the gem at the Royal Ontario Museum in 2007.

One of the oldest sapphires known to man is the ‘Stuart Sapphire’ which was discovered way back in 1214 and is 104 carats.  Slightly flawed but a fine deep blue, this gem outlived several kings and cardinals before finally being mounted in Queen Victoria’s State Crown.  This was eventually replaced by the Star of Africa Diamond and now is mounted in its final resting place on the back side of the British Imperial State Crown, which can be view by the public as part of the British Crown Jewels Collection at the Tower of London.