The mesmerising and saturated colours of a sapphire have made a vintage sapphire engagement ring a popular choice among Royalty and fashion-conscious brides to be. These intensely coloured stones are the perfect alternative to a more traditional diamond engagement ring and have continued to rise in popularity over recent years.
The word sapphire comes from the Greek word ‘Sapherios’ meaning blue and the gemstones were first discovered in India in the late 1880s. Today sapphires are found in all corners of the globe, but they are most popularly mined in Sri Lanka, Australia, Madagascar, Myanmar and Burma.
Sapphires are a rare gemstone which take millions of years to form. They are formed out of the mineral Corundum, which acquires different colours when there are other minerals present during its formation. This long and complex process means that no two sapphires are ever the same, and while sapphires are mostly associated with being blue, they can come in different colours depending on the mineral combination they were formed in. Sapphires can come in pink and yellow, as well purple and orange. Blue Sapphires are formed when there is titanium within the Corundum rock.
The variety of colours that sapphires come in make the gemstone an ideal choice for an engagement ring, offering the choice of many different colours and styles to choose from. When sapphires are set in engagement rings they are protected from daily wear and tear and there are many different designs and sizes of stone.
Sapphires are also incredibly hardwearing gemstones, making them a suitable choice for an engagement piece which can be enjoyed for many years. They are not as hard as diamonds, but out of all gemstones they measure quite high up on the Mohs Scale – the universal scale which ranks stones from soft pearls to indestructible diamonds. Diamonds come in at 10, followed closely by sapphires at a nine.
Sapphire engagement rings reached a peak in popularity following Princess Diana’s choice of a sapphire engagement ring in the late eighties. Diana chose the ring herself from London jeweller Gerrard & Co’s catalogue, favouring a sapphire engagement ring above a royal family heirloom. The famous antique sapphire engagement ring now belongs to Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge. The design of the ring with a 12-carat oval cut blue sapphire centre stone surrounded by diamonds has been replicated and reproduced by many famous jewellery designers.
Infamous jewel lover Elizabeth Taylor was also often seen sporting sapphires. When she married Michael Wilding in 1952 she received a blue sapphire engagement ring embossed with diamond side stones. Many jewellers received requests for similar designs after Elizabeth Taylor was seen wearing hers. T
Vintage sapphire engagement rings in the style of sapphire and diamond rings combined remain incredibly popular today. Many Art Deco sapphire engagement rings embrace the symmetrical and striking style of Princess Diana’s ring. Antique sapphire engagement rings and Victorian sapphire engagement rings often feature multiple sapphires in a cluster formation with diamonds.
Sapphire engagement rings also come with a deep history and meaning. Universal meanings for sapphire include sincerity, nobility and truth, giving the gemstone special romantic connotations which make it a sentimental and meaningful token of engagement and commitment.