A 5.80 Carats Sapphire and Diamond Ring
One of the first cultures to recognise the beauty of the sapphire were the Ancient Egyptians, who are believed to have imported sapphires from Sri Lanka, where they are still mined today. The Persians believed that the world was balanced on a sapphire, and that the light reflecting through it accounted for the colour of the sky.
In Western civilisations sapphires have held royal connotations, because their traditionally sky-like colour has often been taken as a symbol of celestial wisdom and immortality; they feature on the oldest European crown that belonged to a Visigoth king, and the oldest jewel on the English crown is the sapphire of St Edward. Queen Victoria was also an admirer of sapphires. She was given a sapphire brooch surrounded by small diamonds by her husband as a wedding-present in 1840, which she adored and left to the Crown in her will. In more recent years, Princess Diana received a 12 carat sapphire engagement ring surrounded by fourteen solitaire diamonds and set in 18 Karat white gold. The ring was given in 2010 by Prince William to his future wife, Kate Middleton, which spurred a resurgence in sapphire engagement rings.
In Catholic tradition, bishops and cardinals favoured sapphires for their rings, as a reminder of the celestial powers granted to them. Since bishops were required to pay for their own rings, however, much-cheaper amethysts have been considered a suitable alternative owing to their deep purple colour resembling communion wine.
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