Royal Blue: How House of Garrard Jewellers Discovered Nature’s Treasure
Coinciding with Queen Elizabeth II’s Sapphire Coronation Jubilee this summer, the House continues its illustrious Royal heritage with the Garrard Jubilee Sapphire, a stone of extraordinary size, rarity and beauty, presented in a brooch that features the House’s signature diamond cluster setting. We explore their latest, rarest blue sapphire…
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.
So how are they using sapphires in the modern day? Weighing 118.88 carats, this latest 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.
“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.
Inspired by the cluster brooch given to Queen Victoria on her wedding day, the stone was carefully crafted into an exquisite design for the modern 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.”
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.
The House of Garrard sources their gems and precious stones ethically, following The Kimberley Process, an international certification scheme that regulates the market in rough diamonds and inhibits the trade in conflict diamonds.
It is also licensed to purchase Fair trade gold, ensuring not only that small-scale and artisanal miners receive a fair price for their produce, but that they also receive community support, through education, medical care and environmental projects. The Standards include strict requirements on working conditions, health and safety, handling chemicals, women’s rights, child labour and protection of the environment.
“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.”