One of the sturdiest precious jewels in existence, sapphire has been universally loved throughout history. This gemstone stands for such qualities as wisdom and dignity, and it signifies fidelity when used in an engagement ring. That reason alone would explain sapphire’s popularity as an engagement ring gemstone, but there is so much more to love about these beauties.
The popularity of sapphire engagement rings dates back to the Victorian and Edwardian eras, which gave the world some amazing jewelry designs. Luckily, vintage diamond and sapphire engagement rings from that period can still be found, so modern brides can choose to wear something truly special. They can later choose the wedding band to match, to pair with their beautiful engagement ring whenever they want.
Let’s take a look at what makes sapphire engagement rings so special.
Array of colors for an unusual engagement ring
Most often, the highly coveted blue sapphire is the top choice for engagement rings. However, sapphires appear in an abundance of colors, including yellow, pink, green and even black. While the deep blue sapphire is widely considered to be the rarest, there is a gemstone that is even more obscure – the pinkish-orange sapphire called padparadscha, translated from Sanskrit as “lotus flower.”
Not only do sapphires come in an array of colors, they are also September’s birthstone. There is a gemstone associated with each month of the year as its birthstone, supposed to bring good fortune to the wearer. To find out what your birthstone is, you simply have to find the gemstone associated with your month of birth.
Birthstone jewelry is immensely popular because each birthstone has a symbolic meaning. If you choose to present your loved one with an engagement ring that features her birthstone, the ring will definitely carry more significance.
Sapphire symbolism through history
Before sapphires became popular as engagement ring gemstones, they had a somewhat unusual application in the medieval times. People believed that sapphire would change its color in a ring if worn by an unfaithful person. This belief led men to present their bride-to-be with a sapphire ring when proposing, after which a mandatory waiting period took place. During that period (we now call it engagement), they waited to see that the color would not fade so they could be sure that they were marrying a faithful woman.
So widespread was this belief that husbands even started testing their wives’ faithfulness with sapphires when they returned from the Crusades. After the medieval times, sapphire was associated with fidelity again in the 18th century in a widely popular fable “Le Sapphire Merviellence.”
Royal diamond & sapphire jewelry
Earlier in history, sapphire was reserved for royalty and served as a status symbol. Nevertheless, that changed dramatically with the display of Queen Victoria’s diamond and sapphire brooch gifted to her by her husband Prince Albert. The Prince Albert Brooch was an item often worn by Queen Victoria, as a symbol of her enduring love for her husband.
Many believe that Queen Victoria’s attachment to this brooch played a major role in making sapphires popular as engagement ring gemstones in the Victorian era. At the turn of the 20th century, sapphires were the go-to gemstones for engagement rings, often surrounded by small diamonds and set in stunning floral designs.
Thanks to the industrial revolution, the growing middle class could finally afford fine jewelry so engagement rings became a traditional way of marking an engagement. The combination of sapphires and diamonds prevailed with the appearance of new designs.
More recently in history, a striking sapphire engagement ring was worn by a universally loved royal lady – Princess Diana. It wasn’t a custom-made ring, though; the People’s Princess chose a ready-made ring that could’ve just as easily been worn by one of her subjects. So attached was she to the oval sapphire gem surrounded by 14 diamonds that she kept it and wore it often even after the divorce from Prince Charles.
The memorable sapphire engagement ring now adorns the hand of the current Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton. Prince William wanted his bride to wear the ring in honor of his late mother.
Modern celebrity sapphires
Modern-day celebrities such as actors and pop stars have also shown their preference for sapphire engagement rings. David Beckham and Javier Bardem are two notable celebrities who presented their ladies with a sapphire engagement ring. Beckham’s 8th engagement ring for Victoria was a round-cut sapphire. Bardem, on the other hand, chose a flower-shaped design featuring a blue oval-cut sapphire surrounded by a halo of diamonds for wife, Penelope.
Actress Elizabeth Hurley was presented with a large square sapphire flanked by diamonds in the engagement ring from her husband and cricket player Shane Warne.
Vintage diamond sapphire engagement rings and wedding bands at Leo’s
Vintage or antique engagement rings are becoming more and more popular, with sapphire and diamond engagement rings topping the list. At Leo Hamel Fine Jewelry & Engagement Ring Store, you can find not only a stunning collection of vintage sapphire engagement rings but also delicate sapphire wedding bands to match. Swing by our San Diego Avenue showroom and browse through our marvelous collection to find the perfect rings to mark a new and exciting phase in your life!