Sapphires: an Australian flavour

Someone I met today was wearing this ring from Tiffany – or, if not this exact ring, one very similar to it.

Tiffany & Co. | Item | Shared setting band ring. Diamonds, sapphires, platinum. | United Kingdom.

(I haven’t been able to put the photo into this post – the Tiffany website seems not to allow it – any tips on how to achieve this gratefully received!)

It looked very elegant on her: suited her narrow fingers perfectly and even matched her exercise gear! (We were in the park.)

I love the sapphire and diamond combination here and the sapphires in the ring she was wearing were quite dark. Of course, there’s no way of knowing, but I wonder if they were Australian sapphires? In comparison to other kinds of sapphires eg the Ceylon sapphire, the Australian one is known for its darker royal blue tones.

“Australian sapphires,” you say? I didn’t know that, in addition to gold, pearls, opals and the wealth of other natural resources this country has, that sapphires were included too! But it turns out that mining of sapphires in Australia began in the late 1800s in Central Queensland. Starting in a place called Anakie, mining then spread to the surrounding areas of Rubyvale, Sapphire and The Willows; this whole area became known as the Central Queensland Gemfields. Collectively, these gemfields are widely known as being one of the richest deposits of sapphires in the world. But what Queensland had in quantity, northern NSW made up for in quality – the sapphire bearing region of New England, particular Glen Innes, Inverell, Redestone Creek and Kings Plains, is known for the high calibre of stones.

Sapphire mining in Australia still continues today, although production levels have dropped off dramatically since the late 1980s. To find out more about the sapphire mining industry, read this.



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