Sapphires: The birthstone for September, and widely considered to be synonymous with royalty. For that reason, sapphires have appeared in some of the most ornate and beautiful jewelry pieces ever created. In celebration of sapphires, let’s take a look at some of the world’s most famous and valuable sapphire jewelry pieces.
The Maria Alexandrovna Sapphire Brooch. Originally from Sri Lanka, The Maria Alexandrovna Blue Sapphire Brooch is a 260.37-carat, oval-cut blue sapphire with an evenly distributed medium-dark saturated blue color. The brooch gets its name from the Russian Empress, Maria Alexandrovna, the empress consort of Czar Alexander II, Emperor of Russia, who purchased the blue sapphire at the Great London Exhibition held in 1862, and presented it to his empress. The sapphire was later set in a brooch consisting of 56.60 carats of smaller diamonds surrounding the impressive sapphire.
Princess Diana’s Diamond and Sapphire Engagement Ring. One of the most famous sapphires known around the world today is the late Princess Diana’s diamond and blue sapphire engagement ring. Following Prince Charle’s proposal, Lady Diana Spencer chose a gemstone ring from a Garrad Jeweler’s catalog, instead of having a diamond ring custom made for her, which was the royal custom. The decision was controversial, but also launched her reputation as “The People’s Princess.” Affordable replicas of her ring became so popular, that it became known as “the commoner’s ring.”
Following her death, Prince William obtained the ring and as a tribute to his mother, famously presented it to Kate Middleton, when he asked her to marry him on November 16, 2010. The ring consists of a large oval, blue sapphire surrounded by 14 round diamonds set in 18-carat white gold. The sapphire itself is estimated to be between 9 and 12 carats in weight. The ring cost approximately $60,000 when it was purchased in 1981, and today has been estimated to be worth anywhere from $500,000 to $4 million.
The Star of India. Discovered in Sri Lanka about 300 years ago, the Star of India is a greyish blue star sapphire gemstone that weighs 563.35 carats, making it one of the largest of such gems in the world. The presence of the mineral rutile gives the gemstone its slightly milky appearance, as well as the distinctive star effect, known as the asterism effect. In addition to its great size, the Star of India is unique because it has the star effect on both sides of the gemstone. It is currently on display at the American Museum of Natural History in New York.
The Stuart Sapphire. If you ever visit the Tower of London, be sure to view the Imperial State Crown, and the 104-carat Stuart Sapphire located at the back of the crown. Dating back to 1214, the Stuart Sapphire is a near flawless, fine bluegem. Oval in shape, it measures approximately 1½ inches in length by 1 inch in width, and is set in a gold brooch. The gem is drilled at one end, probably so that it could have been worn as a pendant.
The Stewart Sapphire is a historical sapphire that forms part of the British Crown Jewels. Its name originates from the Scottish House of Stewart. The early history of the Stuart Sapphire is not well authenticated, but the stone is believed to have made its first appearance in the early 13th century, when it was set on the crown of the Scottish King Alexander II at his coronation in 1214.