As shopfront displays around the country begin to turn red with cartoon cupids and oversized love hearts, you might be wondering how you could surprise your loved one with something unexpected this Valentine’s.
For many, the 14th of February is a day forever filled with flowers, cards and choccies. But if you want something that lasts a lot longer, a pre-owned sapphire could be the answer.
Whether it’s a bracelet, necklace or perhaps an engagement ring, take a seat and let us run you through the history of sapphires and why they’re an understated gift your partner will love. But first…
What are the origins of the name ‘sapphire’?
Sapphire comes from the Greek word ‘sappheiros’ and from the Latin ‘sapphīrus’, both of which essentially mean blue. Some also believe the royalty-linked gemstone is named after the planet Saturn.
The history of the sapphire
Sapphires have an entwined history with magic, healing, alchemy and even astrology. According to ancient priests and scholars, harnessing the specific virtues and power of the gemstone was an unworldly way to benefit man.
Perhaps the earliest example of which is the 931 BC inscribed sapphire ‘Seal’ of King Solomon, which was believed to give protection over spirits in the air, water and underworld.
Around the same time, sapphires were also associated with deities and would often be inscribed with the faces of gods and goddesses.
During the medieval period, the blue gemstone would carry other purposes – namely a test for infidelity with wives of crusaders. If the wife’s sapphire had changed colour on return from campaigns, it would mean she’d been unfaithful.
Of course, the blue sapphire also has its place in religion. As well as symbolising a yearning for eternal life for early Christians, ancient Persians also believed a giant blue gemstone was what balanced the Earth.
It’s also believed that Moses’ Ten Commandments were written on tablets of sapphire so strong that anything swung towards them would be smashed to smithereens.
In modern times, most of us are more familiar with sapphires in terms of their spiritual qualities – all of which offer different attributes.
What colour are sapphires?
Rubies are red, sapphires are blue – right? Well, that’s partly true. Yes, rubies are red (and this is what differentiates them from other forms of mineral corundum), but on the whole, sapphires are available in a rainbow of different colours.
From deep indigos and violets to twee pinks, yellows and greens, you won’t be short of choice in choosing the perfect pre-owned gemstone for your Valentine. Here are the attributes for each colour:
Protection, spiritual insight and good fortune
Wisdom and clarity of the mind
Divine grace and power
Higher mind, intuition and self-mastery
Fidelity, loyalty and integrity
Love, compassion and elegance
Intuition, calm and protection
Why are sapphires typically blue?
The blue sapphire comprises titanium, aluminium oxide and iron ion impurities which give the gemstone its deep indigo colouration.
As part of the corundum family, the blue sapphire is also extremely durable, ranking second only to diamonds on the Mohs Scale of mineral hardness.
How is the sapphire linked with royalty?
As well as the assortment of gemstones that decorate the ceremonial Crown Jewels, the 12-carat sapphire was also the jewel of choice for a young Prince Charles when he proposed to Lady Diana back in 1981.
Today, the prestigious ring (perhaps the most famous in the world) has been passed on to Princess Kate Middleton by Prince William.
Where do sapphires come from?
Sapphires are typically unearthed in countries such as Madagascar, China, Thailand and Australia. But the most highly regarded sapphires are associated with Sri Lanka, otherwise known as Gem Island.
Why buy a pre-owned sapphire?
With their lifelong lustre and impressive durability, pre-owned sapphires are well-suited for everyday wear and a popular choice for wedding and engagement rings.
If you’d prefer a new sapphire, we can help too, but with a pre-owned alternative, there’s something about owning a piece of history that carries its own value.
Whether it was part of a special engagement or, perhaps, to mark a significant anniversary with a lifelong couple, each sapphire comes with an added layer of mystery that stretches far beyond the surface value of a typical item.