Sapphire: A Celebration of Color, a new book by gemologist and jewelry historian Joanna Hardy, will bow on Oct. 5. It’s the third in her series of books—all released by British publisher Thames & Hudson in association with Violette Editions—on colored gemstones, following Emerald: Twenty-One Centuries of Jeweled Opulence (2014) and Ruby: The King of Gems (2017).
“Mighty Nature has indeed bestowed upon us a formidable gem: sapphire,” writes Hardy in the introduction to the book. “From our belief in sapphire’s connection to heavenly powers, to our confidence in its capacity to protect and cure us from ailments, humans have attributed greater sacred and restorative qualities to sapphire than to any other colored gemstone. While emerald and ruby have shared the center stage of our gemstone fascination, sapphire has remained our constant reliable companion.”
Tracing the history of the gem from early trading on the Silk Road to the creation of talismans in the Middle Ages to modern jewelry collections, Sapphire showcases 60 of the world’s most significant and renowned pieces of sapphire jewelry and artifacts, as well as many previously unseen designs. Sapphire also features pieces from major iconic jewelry houses Cartier, Boucheron, Van Cleef & Arpels, Chaumet, and Harry Winston, among others.
“Few things on our planet blend wonder, magic, and mysticism quite like the ‘The Holy Trinity’ of colored gemstones,” said Sean Gilbertson, chief executive officer of Gemfields, a supplier for responsibly sourced colored gemstones and a source for the book, in a statement. “They chart the history, heritage, and legacy of humankind across millennia in a unique and captivating manner. Ten minutes spent browsing the marvelous photos on these pages will cheer any soul. Gemfields is truly honored to have played a small role in bringing these three works to life in a project that has now spanned almost a decade.”
In the book, readers will find Catherine the Great’s snuffbox, Queen Victoria’s wedding brooch, Elizabeth Taylor’s Bulgari sugarloaf sapphire necklace, and Queen Elizabeth II’s wedding sapphires. The book also highlights a selection of work by 21st-century jewelry designers, including Shaun Leane, Hemmerle, Lauren Adriana, Bina Goenka, and Mish.
The book also provides the reader guidance on qualities to look for in a sapphire.
Hardy is an independent gemologist and jewelry specialist, formerly of De Beers and Sotheby’s. She lectures, writes for many international publications, and also appears on the popular BBC program Antiques Roadshow.
The book will sell for $125.
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