The name sapphire comes from the Latin expression "sapphirus", which derives from the Greek "sappheiros". This means "blue". The term also exists in Hebrew "Sappir", in ancient Iranian "Sani-prijam" and in Sanskrit "Shani Priya". There it means "love of Saturn" and is assigned to Saturn.
Sapphires have been treasured as some of the most precious gemstones for thousands of years. Popular in ancient Roman, ancient Persia, and throughout the “Middle Ages”. The oldest blue sapphire deposit was found is Sri Lanka. The term “sapphire from Sri Lanka” was used as early as 480 BC by Romans.
The fine quality of “Ceylon sapphires” has long been noted worldwide. Explorer Marco Polo wrote that the island Sri Lanka, appropriately nicknamed “Gem Island”, has the best sapphires in the entire world.
Ceylon or Sri Lanka is still fondly called “Rathna Deepa” in the native language meaning “Land of Gems” and Ratnapura one of the main mining areas derived its name from the gem industry “City of Gems”.
For centuries, sapphire has been associated with royalty and romance. Deep blue sapphires likely contributed to the naming of the colour “royal blue”. Royal blue sapphires were often worn by medieval kings, some of whom believed that the gemstones would protect them from their enemies.
One of the most famous royal blue sapphires is the engagement ring given by England’s Prince Charles to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981, a 12-carat oval royal blue sapphire surrounded by diamonds.
Sapphire engagement rings certainly aren’t only for royals. Before the twentieth century, blue sapphires were the favored gemstones for engagement rings. Sapphires were quite popular in Victorian engagement rings, when they were often surrounded by smaller diamonds to create floral designs.
Sapphires have also been used to symbolize nobility and faithfulness and further associated with loyalty and dignity. Throughout history various cultures have attributed mystical powers to sapphires, including heavenly powers, truth, innocence, peace, and good health.
Sapphire is the birthstone for the month September. It is also a traditional gift for those celebrating 5th or 45th wedding anniversary.
The world’s biggest and most expensive sapphire is blue star sapphire named "The Star of Adam" weighing in at 1,404 carats, equivalent to about 280g and has been found in a mine in Sri Lanka in 2016. The gem is worth at least $100 million and the current anonymous owner says this sapphire is destined to be a priceless museum piece and far too big to set in any kind of jewellery.
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CEYLONS | MUNICH stands for the finest Ceylon sapphires. A brand committed to responsible mining of Sri Lankan gemstones obtained in an ethical manner.