Quoting the words of author Joanna Hardy, "Emerald is gentle, Ruby fuels passion, Sapphire is spiritual."
September 29, 2021: The final instalment in the trilogy of books, dedicated to the celebration of coloured gemstones, has been announced by Gemfields, which is published by Thames & Hudson in association with Violette Editions. The release of Sapphire, following on from Emerald and Ruby, has been much anticipated, as it completes a literary trifecta dedicated to the most admired coloured gemstones: emeralds, rubies and sapphires - often known as ‘the big three’.
This triptych of beautifully presented books, which have been a decade in the making, have a jewel-coloured cover each, to set the tone. These books have been written and researched by highly regarded author and gemologist, Joanna Hardy. She has over three decades of experience with gemstones having worked for the likes of De Beers, Philips and Sotheby’s.
Gemfields is a world-leading supplier of responsibly sourced coloured gemstones, and is passionate about this subject. As the operator of both Kagem in Zambia, the world’s single largest emerald mine and the Montepuez Ruby Mining in Mozambique, the most significant ruby deposit discovered this century, Gemfields has accrued years of knowledge of coloured gemstones. Presenting the perfect platform for Gemfields to share its passion for these marvels of nature, this series of stunningly illustrated books also presents the opportunity for Gemfields to disperse some of the myths and complexity that surround them by making coloured gemstones more accessible to everyone. Alongside, completing the ‘big three’ would be an appropriate blue sapphire deposit for Gemfields to put its name to, and the search for this is now underway.
The CEO, Sean Gilbertson, talked about the mysticism of the ‘Holy Trinity’ of coloured gemstones, and how they are one of the few things on our planet that blend wonder and magic. He spoke about how they chart the history, heritage and legacy of humankind across millennia in a unique and captivating manner, and ten minutes spent browsing the marvellous photos on these pages will cheer any soul, and that Gemfields is truly honoured to have played a small role in bringing these three works to life in a project that has now spanned almost a decade.
The three books take a deep dive into the history, talismanic and spiritual properties of each of these gems, as well as touching upon notable pieces of jewellery and the celebrity clientele that helped to maintain their iconic status as red-carpet favourites through the ages. The support of jewellery houses Boucheron, Bulgari, Cartier, Chaumet, Fabergé, Graff, Mellerio, Tiffany & Co., Van Cleef & Arpels and Verdura have enriched Emerald, Ruby and Sapphire.
Following its predecessor titles, Sapphire traces the enduring popularity of this mesmerising blue gem from the 4th century BCE to the present day. Blue sapphires are associated with the planet Saturn in Hindu astrology, and are renowned for its hostile nature, therefore are to be worn with respect. Thought to foster friendship, peace and wisdom, they are also seen as offering protection against disease and envy. Jacques Cartier’s preferred gems, blue sapphires have long been a favourite with royalty too: they have adorned many a crown as well as being a top choice of gemstone for royal engagement rings. Prince Albert had famously given Queen Victoria a sapphire on the eve of their wedding, and star sapphires, so called for their tiny inclusions which create an asterism effect, have been especially popular with Hollywood sirens like Joan Crawford.
Although sapphires come in a kaleidoscope of shades, it is blue sapphires that are the most beloved, with the benchmark for the perfect colour being ‘the feathers on a peacock’s neck’. Sapphire is as educational as it is entertaining, vividly illustrated with more that 740 images of pieces, while also featuring a selection of works by 21st century jewellery designers such as Shaun Leane, Hemmerle, Lauren Adriana, Bina Goenka and Mish.
Joanna Hardy says, “Sapphire is an unassuming gem. It has been overshadowed by diamonds, rubies and emeralds for decades, but ignore it at your peril, for sapphire is a titan of the gemstone world.”
Sapphire: A Celebration of Colour launches alongside the second edition of Ruby and the third iteration of Emerald, revised and expanded with stunning gemstone inclusions. Each priced at £85, they are available from Thames & Hudson.