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Today, blue sapphires are considered to represent loyalty, truth and honesty. They are also closely associated with royalty: blue sapphires feature in several countries’ crown jewel collections, in particular Holland and the United Kingdom.

The most famous blue sapphire of our time is the one on the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring. Find out more about this beautiful piece of jewellery below, under Famous Sapphires.

Sapphire is a precious gemstone, formed from a mineral called corundum. Blue sapphires get their colour from titanium and iron trace elements. On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, blue sapphire rates 9 out of 10, so it is a very durable gem. The word ‘sapphire’ comes from the Greek word sapphirus which means blue.

BUYING GUIDE How should you assess a blue sapphire’s quality and value? Our gem experts determine a blue sapphire’s worth in a way that is very much the same as grading diamonds. Clarity is the foremost consideration, followed by colour, cut and carat weight.

COLOUR The primary hue of blue sapphires is, simply, blue. However, blue sapphires are natural gemstones, so their colour can vary from light to dark. To identify the best gems, our experts look for vivid colour combined with good clarity, rather than a specific tone. CARAT Blue sapphires that have a combination of good clarity and colour are rare. Large sapphires are therefore much more expensive per carat than small sapphires of the same quality. For example, the blue sapphire on the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring weighs 12 carats. But the typical sapphire jewellery sold on the high street only goes up to about 2-5 carats. CLARITY Commercially sold sapphires typically have some natural inclusions. Completely clear sapphires are extremely rare, and therefore very expensive. We place emphasis on sapphire clarity. Our gemmologist looks for sapphires that have minimal imperfections and allow light to pass through them, creating lots of sparkle. CUT A good cut will not only bring out a sapphire’s sparkle, but also flatter its natural colour. What’s more, it will minimise or hide any natural inclusions. The most popular cuts for a sapphire are oval and round. These are used in all types of jewellery to bring out the sapphire’s best sparkle, colour and clarity.

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