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TRUE BLUE: FACTS ABOUT SAPPHIRES

Later this month, Globe-Trotter is launching a dazzling new sapphire-blue addition to the Deluxe range for a limited time only. To celebrate, we’ve put together our favourite facts about this striking stone.

Made of strong stuff

The sapphire is more than just a pretty face. One of the four precious gemstones (the others being diamond, emerald and ruby), sapphires have been adored worldwide for thousands of years. The stone is often associated with divinity, royalty and wisdom and ranks an impressive 9/10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness; just a fraction under diamond. It’s so durable that Apple watches are coated in a lab-created sapphire glass to protect them from chips and scratches.

Pick your colour

Sapphires are nearly always associated with a royal blue hue, but they actually come in a variety of colours including orange, yellow, green, purple and black. There’s even a rare colourless variety (similar to a diamond) and sapphires that change colour in different lights. The rarest and therefore most valuable colour is a light pink-orange hue called ‘padparadscha’, which comes from the Sinhalese word for ‘lotus blossom’. However, sapphires don’t come in red. That’s because a red sapphire is technically a ruby, as both stones share exactly the same scientific structure. An authentic ruby is blood-red in colour, anything lighter is considered a pink sapphire.

Past times

When we say that sapphires have been admired for millennia, that’s no exaggeration. For the ancient Egyptians, sapphires represented the all-seeing Eye of Horus, and were similarly revered for their wisdom by the ancient Romans and Greeks. The blue sapphire’s association with nobility dates back to Medieval times, when they were worn by kings and queens to protect them from evil spirits. One of the world’s most famous sapphires is the Stuart Sapphire, a 3.8cm, 104-carat dazzler which has been passed down the British monarchy since Charles II. The stone was eventually fashioned into Queen Victoria’s Imperial State Crown, where it now resides among the other crown jewels in the Tower of London.

Imperial Sate Crown

The royal seal of approval

Surpassing the Stuart Sapphire in celebrity is Kate Middleton’s sapphire engagement ring, which originally belonged to Princess Diana. In typically leftfield style, Lady Di picked out the ring herself and – ever the fashion icon – sales of blue sapphire rings subsequently went through the roof. The 12-carat oval-shaped ring was created by former Crown Jeweller Garrard & Co and is estimated to be worth around £300,000. Prince William said that proposing with his mother’s ring was ‘his way of making sure she didn’t miss out on his wedding day’.

Keep the faith

Although they remain one of the most popular engagement rings money can buy, be careful who you give a sapphire to. Traditionally a symbol of fidelity, sapphires were once used as a test of a person’s loyalty. If you presented your beloved with a sapphire and the stone changed colour, it was said to reveal that they had been unfaithful. One thing you can always have faith in, of course, is the enduring quality of Globe-Trotter suitcases. So set off on the adventure of a lifetime with this sparkling new addition to the family.

The Sapphire Deluxe limited-edition collection will be released in mid-March. Prices start from £1,130

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