Picking out an engagement ring is a life-changing moment and one that should be savoured. However, it’s all too easy to end up like a kid in a sweet shop – overwhelmed by sparkling choice.
I once made the silly mistake of telling my daughter she could choose whatever she wanted when we visited an old-fashioned sweet shop. As she stared up at the rows and rows of brightly coloured jars, I knew I had made a terrible blunder - It took her a full 30 minutes to decide!
My point is, that although choice is a lovely thing, it pays to have done your research before you step inside a jewellery shop. A little guidance and a strong idea of what you want to achieve can help prevent you being paralysed by indecision.
Classic Diamond or Coloured Gemstone?
There are so many beautiful engagement rings to choose from and one of the first questions you need to answer is whether you want a traditional sparkling diamond or a gorgeously coloured stone.
Spend some time looking at varied designs and stones and think about how the ring would complement either your or your partner’s current jewellery collections. Most importantly, listen to your heart, this is a stone that will play an important role in your life for decades to come.
A stunning sapphire could be the stone of your dreams. Today I want to explore this gorgeous stone and help you decide if a sapphire could be your perfect engagement match.
Need some advice on how to buy an engagement ring? Have a read of our article, The Ultimate Guide to Finding an Engagement Ring.
Colour Me Blue
Emeralds are green, rubies are red, but sapphires are not always blue. Although most people associate sapphires with deep rich blue they can come in a range of colours, including pink, yellow, orange and even black. Blue, however, remains the most sought-after colour and the shade most often seen in sapphire jewellery.
Blue is the colour of nature, of deep still oceans and rich summer skies. It is linked to feelings of calm, tranquility and sensitivity. It’s even winning in the global colour popularity contest – with most people rating blue as their favourite colour.
Blue also remains firmly in fashion. The definitive colour trends for Spring 2018 include bold electric blues and soft pastel shades. Gucci, Channel, Dior, Tom Ford, Marc Jacobs, and Michael Kors have all shown collections in blue for Spring 2018.
Photo credit: glowsly.com
The Sapphire Story
Let’s get to know sapphires a little better.
The sapphire has traditionally been seen as one of the big four gemstones, the others being diamond, emerald, and ruby. Sapphire is a rare and precious jewel, formed in exacting geological conditions over millions of years. They are the most sought-after stone on the planet, behind diamonds.
The stone itself is a member of the corundum family of minerals and is formed from crystalline aluminium oxide. All gem-quality corundum that is not red is called sapphire.
The blue hue of blue sapphires comes from the presence of titanium and iron oxide in the stone. The intensity of the colour depends on the amount of oxide present. Some blue stones exhibit different shades of colour in artificial and natural light and these are called colour change sapphires.
There is also a phenomenon exhibited in some sapphires called asteria which causes a starburst effect on the surface of the stone. This dazzling optical effect is produced by bunches of needle-like crystals within the gem which lie at 120 degrees to each other catching the light.
These ‘star stones’ are highly sought after and can also be produced by synthetic methods. ‘Star stones’ are always cut into a cabochon cut to show off this beautiful and unusual effect.
An enchanting vintage eight carat sky blue star sapphire ring.
Where Are Sapphires Found?
Sapphires are found in Thailand, Cambodia, and Russia as well as on the continents of India, Africa, Australia and South America. Sapphires found in Australia are of a darker blue, while sapphires found in Burma, Sri Lanka and India are often lighter. Some of the most-prized cornflower blue sapphires are found in Kashmir.
Some sapphires are heat treated to achieve a richer shade. This process causes a permanent colour change and is very difficult to identify once the stone has been polished. Although this process does not have to be reported in Europe, the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) has decided that all enhanced stones must be declared.
I recommend that clients who have concerns about artificially colour-treated stones purchase a GIA certified stone.
The Perfect Cut and Setting
A sapphire can be cut into many different shapes, all of which show off a particular facet of this beautiful stone. Cuts that work well for contemporary settings include square, cushion, princess and emerald cuts. These all work harmoniously with white metals including platinum and white gold.
More traditional styles, including cluster or vintage halo settings, look wonderful against vibrant yellow gold. Yellow gold provides a deeper a contrast for vivid blue sapphires and is a very desirable and popular combination. Ultimately, both cut and setting are very personal choices and ones you should spend time researching and thinking about before you go sapphire shopping.
Famous Sapphire Wearers
The most famous sapphire ring around is undoubtedly the one worn by Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge. This stunning ring originally belonged to Princess Diana and is currently valued at approximately £360,000. The ring features a 12-carat oval Ceylon sapphire surrounded by a cluster of 14 diamonds.
Victoria Beckham has an impressive collection of 13 engagement rings, all given to her by David Beckham during their 20-year marriage. Her collection includes some stunning diamond solitaire rings, ranging from marquise, emerald, and pear cut solitaires, through to a pink champagne diamond in a halo setting. Her collection of coloured stones includes rubies and emeralds as well as a stunning, huge oval sapphire ring. This stone is simply set in a 4-claw setting, on a pave diamond band.
Victoria Beckham's sapphire engagement ring
Other notable sapphire rings include the sapphire engagement ring given to Elizabeth Hurley by Australian cricketer Shane Warn. This square cut 9-carat sapphire is flanked by two trillion cut diamonds. In 2011, this ring was valued at around £72,000. Penelope Cruz was also given a beautiful 3-carat oval blue sapphire engagement ring by Javier Bardem. This vintage stone is set in a flower shape and is estimated to be worth around £22,000.
Luckily, there is no need to be a millionaire celebrity in order to own your own gorgeous sapphire ring. You can find your perfect sapphire on a more modest budget with a little research and some good advice.
A Burrells Sapphire
We have a stunning collection of sapphires here at Burrells and your ideal ring could be waiting for you in one of our beautiful stores. Come and visit us to discover our wide range of exquisite engagement rings and receive friendly advice from our experts. Can’t find exactly what you’re looking for? We work with jewellers around the world to source the most desirable stones and help you discover your perfect piece.
We can even help to create a completely unique ring just for you. Our master jewellers can design your perfect ring around a beautiful sapphire of your choice. Choose your ideal colour, cut and setting to create the ring you have been dreaming of. Step into Burrells and start your sapphire journey today.
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