Sapphires, part of the corundum family of gems of which rubies are a variety, are blue in colour – the name sapphire derives from the latin “sapphirus” itself derived from the Greek “sappirus” and means “blue”. Originally only the blue variety was referred to as sapphire but today corundums of all colours, except red (rubies), share the name – pink sapphires perhaps the most well known.
For centuries, the sapphire has symbolised loyalty and love which explains the popularity in many countries of using this gem in engagement rings. The most famous (in the UK at any rate) is the engagement ring of Princess Diana, which consisted of a 12ct Blue Sapphire from Ceylon surrounded by diamonds.
Although Sapphires are mined around the world – India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Cambodia, Australia, Brazil, Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania and Zimbabwe – experts regard those from Kashmir (India), which display a pure intense blue as the most beautiful and valuable. The Burmese colour, which ranges from a rich royal blue to a deep cornflower blue, is also regarded as particularly valuable. Followed by sapphires from Ceylon. Most blue sapphires on the market come either from Australia or Thailand.