Prized throughout history sapphires have been coveted by kings, queens and nobility of many cultures. Sapphires epitomize all of the desires of royalty they signify good fortune, virtue, wisdom and holiness.
Ancient Persian history tells a tale of the earth being rested upon a giant sapphire and the reflection is what gave color to the sky. Within other customs sapphire was for the healing and calming properties that the stone bestowed upon its possessor that made it such a valuable treasure. Symbolizing sincerity and faithfulness sapphires are often chosen for engagement rings.
Given the history and lust for the captivating precious stone it is no revelation that there are several examples of legendary sapphires.
Star of Bombay
This 182-carat star sapphire is from Sri Lanka. It was given to silent film star Mary Pickford by her husband, Douglas Fairbanks Sr., and she bequeathed it to the Smithsonian Institute in 1981.
The 422.99 carat sapphire, is one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires in the world.
The piece was a gift to the Smithsonian Institute from Mrs. John A. Logan in 1960.
The Rockefeller Sapphire is a 62.02 carat internally flawless cornflower blue sapphire. It acquired its name from the one time proprietor, John D. Rockefeller Jr. The only son of John D. Rockefeller Sr. purchased the stone in 1934, from an Indian Maharajah thought to have been the seventh and the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan, whose period of rule extended from 1911 to 1948.
Bismarck Sapphire Necklace
The 98.6-carat deep blue Sri Lanka sapphire is set in a diamond and platinum necklace which was designed by Cartier. Gifted to the Smithsonian Institute by Countess Mona Von Bismarck in 1967.
Maria Alexandrovna Sapphire Brooch
During the Great London Exhibition of 1862, Russian Emperor Alexander II purchased a sapphire weighing 260.37. The Emperor presented the stone to his wife Empress Maria Alexandrovna. This stone is rare and known for its combination of size, color, clarity and unusual cut. This piece of history now resides in the Russian Diamond Fund.
The Stuart Sapphire in the Imperial Crown
This famous sapphire weighs in at 104 carats and is set into the Imperial State Crown.
This sapphire’s past is somewhat unclear, it was most likely owned by Charles II. It was among one of the many jewels that James II took with him when he fled France. Passed down through the royal families it came into the hands of Henry Benedict Stuart where the stone received its name. With his passing he left the stone among other relics to King George III.
The stone was set into Queen Victoria’s State Crown, just below the Black Prince’s Ruby. In 1937 the crown was replaced a nearly identical crown was produced except the Stuart Sapphire was placed in the back of the crown and in its place the Cullinan II Diamond was placed in the sapphires old positioning.
The Star of India, is the largest and most famous star sapphire in the world weighing in at at 563.35 carats. Financier J. P. Morgan presented the sapphire to the New York Museum of Natural History in 1900.
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