For nearly 180 years, Garrard’s history has been intimately connected with the sapphire. From the brooch commissioned by Prince Albert in 1840 for his bride Queen Victoria, to the engagement ring worn by the Duchess of Cambridge, the sapphire sits at the heart of Garrard’s most renowned royal creations.
The House now continues this illustrious heritage with the Jubilee Sapphire, a stone of exceptional rarity and beauty. It is named in honour of the 65th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation, a date traditionally marked by the gift of a sapphire, and pays tribute to the House’s role in remodelling the Imperial State Crown for the occasion. A worthy successor to the sapphires long associated with the House, it is presented in a brooch that features the House’s signature diamond cluster setting.
Weighing 118.88 carats, the stone is of a size seldom seen. What makes it more remarkable is its consistent vibrancy of colour and spectacular royal blue hue, which are naturally present without any heat treatment – an incredibly rare phenomenon. To look into the stone is to see the colour it was given by nature.
A cushion cut assists further in enhancing its beauty. “One of the many wonderful features of this stone is its well-proportioned cut,” says the House gemmologist. “The composition of the facets catch the light perfectly, to create a host of reflections playing within the sapphire’s interior. The precision of this cut lets you gaze deep into the stone and see its pure, royal blue colour. The experience is like being drawn into the bluest of oceans.”
For Creative Director Sara Prentice, the opportunity to work with such an impressive gemstone was an exciting one. “This is an extraordinary stone to see and to hold. I wanted to create a jewel that would both give centre stage to the sapphire, and also be wearable,” she says.
For inspiration she turned to royal jewels in the archive and the cluster brooch given to Queen Victoria on her wedding day. “With this stone, its size and shape made a brooch design a natural choice,” she says. “A cluster setting in white gold with round white diamonds then enhances its intensely rich royal blue.”
"This is an extraordinary stone to see and to hold. I wanted to create a jewel that would both give centre stage to the sapphire, and also be wearable." Sara Prentice Creative Director
The sapphire originates from Burma, from the legendary mines of Mogok, north of Mandalay. This is the region long celebrated for the most prized colour varieties of corundum: ‘pigeon’s blood’ rubies and royal blue sapphires, found in the gravel that lies between huge marble boulders. Over millennia, minerals, geology and chemical elements have combined to create gemstones of a breathtaking hue, saturation and clarity. To see all these qualities in a sapphire of this size is rare indeed.
Perhaps no wonder that the wearer of a sapphire has been credited with many virtues over thousands of years, from wisdom and loyalty to love and friendship. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II certainly often chooses to wear the sapphire and white diamond cluster brooch passed down through her family from Queen Victoria.
“Blue is a colour we rarely find in nature,” concludes Creative Director, Sara Prentice. “To experience the colour and clarity of this sapphire is to appreciate how truly beautiful nature can be. Our brooch design is a celebration of its extraordinary qualities.”
"To experience the colour and clarity of this sapphire is to appreciate how truly beautiful nature can be." Sara Prentice Creative Director