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The History and Tales of the Sapphire Gemstone

Derived from the Latin word saphirus and the Greek term sapheiros, Sapphires have been a symbolic and adored gemstone since 800 BC.

Since the middle ages, sapphire stones and jewellery have been appreciated and kept sacred by the world’s religions and cultures with an authentic sense of nobility, sincerity and faithfulness. Used to decorate royal robes and religious leaders, the sapphire stones also accompany an abundance of legends and mythologies with a strong emphasis on protection. 

In the 12th Century, the sapphire was known as the most suitable stone for ecclesiastical rings. The Cingalese believed that the star sapphire acted as protection and a shield against witchcraft. It was believed that by simply seeing this precious stone, luck and good omen would come your way. 

The admiration and appreciation of Sapphires have lasted centuries, with celebrities, royals and worldwide communities investing in Sapphire Jewellery as a symbol of loyalty, romance, kindness, wise judgement and truth. In modern times, the sapphire grew infamous when Prince Charles gifted a Sapphire engagement ring to Lady Diana in 1981 who captivated the world with her integrity and charm.

Discover David Morris’ collection of Sapphire Jewellery.

11 04 1116 burma blue sapphire ring close up e1691576701860 from david morris
11 04 1116 burma blue sapphire ring close up 1 e1691580002626 from david morris

What does the sapphire stone symbolise?

A symbol of power and strength, Sapphire gemstones come with an abundance of modern history and depth, making them even more favourable and influential across the globe. Like the majority of precious stones, sapphires and their symbolism can change throughout cultures, religions, societies and continents, with a wide selection of different beliefs and stories for the world to appreciate.

  • Ancient Persian rulers believed the sky was painted blue by the sapphire reflection
  • In ancient Persia, sapphire was used as an all-purpose medicine. Ivan the Terrible of Russia declared that the sapphire strengthened the heart and muscles and granted a person courage.
  • Some religions believe the sapphire represents the heavens and acts as a guardian of innocence and promoter of good health
  • In ancient Greece and Rome, kings and queens were led to believe a blue sapphire would protect them from envy and harm
  • Sapphires are also are associated with romantic love, representing fidelity and romantic devotion and often used for wedding jewellery and momentous occasions.

September Birthstone

In more recent times, the Shappire is now given as a September birthday gift as well as a 45th anniversary. Transforming from a singular gemstone, Sapphires are now crafted in a range of different product types including jewellery, homeware, fashion and accessories and artwork.

Where do sapphires come from?

Sapphire is a precious gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum, made up of aluminium oxide and traces of iron, titanium, cobalt, lead, chromium, vanadium, magnesium, boron, and silicon. No one is exactly sure how long-ago sapphire gemstones were formed. However, we do know that the sapphires which are discovered today were formed around 150 to 200 million years ago.

Today the modern location of sapphires gives some indications into their formation and how they are created as items such as jewellery and statues. Located in Australia, Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, and Eastern Africa, sapphire gemstones undergo a different transformation depending on the location. The most famous provenance for sapphire is Kashmir and Burma.

Some sapphire gemstones are found in high-grade metamorphic rocks and in igneous rocks, called gneisses and granulites and in most cases, are formed at depths of 6-18 miles in the earth’s crust as intense pressure and high temperatures cause the atoms to recombine into new rocks such as the sapphire or ruby.

What colour is a sapphire?

Considered one of the big three coloured gemstones as well as rubies and emeralds, sapphire is generally recognised as a blue gemstone but can in fact come in a wide array of colours and variations, except red ( the ruby stone ). The more intense the colour, the more valuable the stone, making sapphire jewellery truly remarkable. Discover more about the history of rubies here.

Sapphire belongs to the corundum family, represented by the following natural colours:

Blue sapphires: Considered the most popular and well-established, blue sapphires are often used for engagement rings and wedding jewellery sets.

Pink sapphires: After growing in popularity, pink sapphires are now also being used for engagement rings and resemble romance and rarity.

Yellow sapphires: Offering a stunning and durable choice of jewellery, yellow sapphires have been a popular choice since the early 2000s.

Padparadscha sapphires: One of the rarest hues, this sapphire has been seen on the hands of famous women and extravagant engagement rings.

Star sapphires: This extraordinary gemstone had a distinct look and rich history and would only appear amongst the world’s most luxurious jewellery pieces.

How are sapphires formed?

The geological processes involved in sapphire formation are complex and require specific conditions and timeframes, which make sapphires rare and valuable gemstones. They belong to the corundum mineral family, which consists primarily of aluminium oxide with trace amounts of other elements, particularly iron and titanium. Sapphire stones are formed deep within the Earth when aluminium and oxygen atoms combine under high heat and pressure. They develop slowly over millions of years in particular types of rocks. Miners then extract sapphires from these rocks, and gem cutters shape and polish them to make the beautiful gemstones we know, turning them into jewellery, stationary, homeware, artefacts and ornaments.

Rare sapphire earrings high jewellery from david morris

Star Sapphire: What is a star sapphire?

Star sapphire is a style of sapphire that depicts asterism, a star-like optical effect that demonstrates a unique reflection and prized aesthetic. Often used as a talisman and thought to own mystical powers, many faiths and religions have looked to this gem as a sign of hope and protection against illness or evil.

Originating from the Latin term ‘Astrum’ meaning star, the optimal phenomenon of asterism is caused by a tiny inclusion of rutile which thus causes the light to reflect in a unique, star-like way.

Similar to transparent sapphires, this gemstone comes in an array of different colours and hues, ranging from pink to blue to black with the most valuable colour being that of an intense blue. These glamorous sapphires get their pigment from the minerals iron and titanium, whilst a more purple tone is stimulated by vanadium.

Sapphire Jewellery Handcrafted by David Morris

David Morris creations are an alluring blend of contemporary style flair and the world’s rarest sapphire gems which have been left untreated. The durability of the extreme shimmer of a sapphire is the perfect stone for cutting-edge creativity and design making a luxury collection of coloured sapphire jewellery equalled by meticulous craftsmanship in the creation of rings, bracelets, necklaces and earrings.

Selecting and crafting only the finest of jewels, our collection of sapphire jewellery perfectly echoes the rich history through modern design. The most important quality in any sapphire jewellery piece is colour, and for the sapphires in our collections, we select only the most beautiful velvet-blue stones, a deep but slightly smoky royal blue made famous by the unmistakable sapphires of Kashmir.

Sapphire bangle from david morris

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