Rings have appeared in Ancient India, Ancient Near East, and Archaic and Classical Greece going back thousands of years. Sapphires used as jewelry is believed to go back roughly 2,500 years, therefore, it's safe to assume humans have been wearing sapphire rings for close to 2,500 years.
Researching the origins of sapphire rings and jewelry is interesting. While the word "sapphire" is of Greek origin, there are claims that Sri Lankans first discovered sapphires and wore them as jewelry. According to Wikipedia, sapphires and rubies are often found in the same deposits, and the highest quality sapphire mines are located in Kashmir, Sri Lanka, and Madagascar.
During the Middle Ages sapphires started to become more commonplace as jewelry, but only amongst the royalty and very wealthy of society. The rarity of sapphires have historically commanded a high premium for very high quality sapphire stones that can be used for jewelry including sapphire rings. Therefore, mainstream adoption of sapphire rings didn't really occur until more modern times.
The late 1800s's and early 1900s ushered in a new era for sapphire jewelry. Victorian age jewelry often contained precious gemstones, and sapphires were gaining prestige and value due to the large number of diamonds being imported from South African diamond mines.
Sapphire rings designed with a solitaire sapphire and accompanying diamonds started to flourish during the Edwardian age. The subsequent Art Deco sapphire ring style was the next to gain popularity amongst the wealthy that could afford extravagantly designed jewelry. In modern times, these jewelry pieces are often referred to as "antique sapphire rings".
Synthetic sapphire was invented around the turn of the 20th century, but was not used for jewelry until the turn of the 21st century. Synthetic sapphire rings are now commonly referred to as "lab created sapphire rings".
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