f into the secret world of sapphires. Wander through with us at Deliqa Gems as we unearth the mysteries of these sacred gemstones and their amazing life lines. Sapphires, born in the gem fields of Sri Lanka and Madagascar, uncover a narrative of ancient traditions from where and how they are discovered to extraordinary gemstones and intricate jewellery designs which have their own chronicles of passionate romances, and cursed myths that create the secrets of mystery and intrigue.
What happened to “the Blue Giant of the Orient” - the largest faceted blue sapphire of 486 carats discovered in Sri Lanka in 1907 which disappeared from view for almost a century only resurfacing again at a 2004 Christie’s Magnificent Jewels auction.
At 466 carats, the Blue Giant of the Orient is the largest faceted sapphire in the world.
Credit: The Jeweler Blog
The stories surrounding gemstones and jewels are often associated with wealth and power among the monarchs and royal households with intermarriage jewels and by encrusting swords, orbs, sceptres and crowns. Sapphires symbolise strength and protection and can be found on medieval regalia and crosses. With predominately overland and sea trade routes between Europe and the Far East during the 16 - 17th centuries gemstones were also used as important commodities for trading and currency to raise money to pay for their military struggles.
The earliest known European crown, the Iron Crown of Lombardy, one of the oldest royal insignias of Christendom dating back to the 11th century or earlier, contains seven blue sapphires along with other gemstones and crowned several holy Roman emperors, now housed in the Cathedral of Monza, near Milan.
Credit: Getty Images
Queen Elizabeth Sapphire Tiara and Necklace, Credit: Getty Images
Princess Marie-Gabrielle of Nassau Tiara, Credit: Royal Portraits Gallery
Sri Lanka, once known as Ceylon is a fine island gem paradise of natural riches and beauty, explored by Marco Polo and where the fantasy tales of Sinbad the Sailor roamed. Sri Lanka was privileged to be on the ancient Silk Road route and with some of the oldest sapphire mines in the world supplied many of the most historically famous sapphires in the world.
Arguably one of the most beautiful archaeological finds from the first century in Sri Lanka is this Roman sapphire drilled as a bead and carved in cameo depicting Aphrodite feeding an eagle.
A roman sapphire cameo, almost certainly from Sri Lanka, depicting Aphrodite feeding an eagle, first century. Credit: Fitzwillian Museum, Cambridge.
Despite the dissolution of most European monarchies in the early twentieth century, some gems and jewels with true royal provenance have occasionally come up for public sale, been repurposed to share between siblings, held in museums, or sold off privately.
Often exceptional gemstones and jewels are found on the hands and necks of famous film stars and socialites. An extra-ordinary large oval fancy pink sapphire surrounded by a floral halo of diamonds worn by Lady Gaga has highlighted the current trend for coloured stones in engagement rings and secret details of what is the coloured gem? all creating a new world of shrouded intrigue.
Jack Brooksbank selected a padparadscha sapphire gemstone as the centre piece for Princes Eugenie's engagement ring in 2018 estimated to be close to 4 carat and with a price tag of over US$140,000.
In our modern era it is becoming more evident that people want to express their individualism and are inspired by the colours of gemstones. Sapphire being the most suitable coloured gemstone for daily wear is evidently the gemstone of choice for a colour.
Victoire de Castellane the creative behind the “Acanthe Saphir Rose” ring from the “Dior A Versailles” collection has achieved a blend of architectural flourishes of the royal palace, Versailles, with a decadent decorative display evoking the mysterious atmosphere of a candlelit Hall of Mirrors and reliving the opulence and festivities that accompanied the life in Court.
“Acanthe Saphir Rose” ring from the “Dior A Versailles”
You too can be part of the secret world of sapphires when you visit the exquisite world of Deliqa Gems, a modern company supplying sapphires rich in history and provenance. Capture the beauty of a sapphire into your life and carry their secrets as heirlooms into the future. What colour sapphire will you choose? Welcome to the Secret World of Sapphires.