Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Stuart Sapphire (Part 1)

Stuart Sapphire
Photo Source: Talking Blue Blog
by Angela Magnotti Andrews

Opposite the Cullinan II on the back of the band, the Stuart Sapphire rests beneath a cross pattee. This beautiful 1-1/2- by 1-inch brilliant blue oval gemstone hails from the famed Stuart Monarchy of England and Scotland. The Stuarts reigned uncontested from 1603, under James I, to 1649, under Charles I.

James I was the Protestant of Protestants. His conviction that he was answerable to God alone and was above the law led him to make some radical decisions that have resounding effects even today. Under his rule, Puritan reformers were dismissed and Catholics were forbidden from attending Mass. He also introduced Protestants to Northern Ireland. He did attempt to maintain peace between England and the other European countries, but he was not favored by Parliament and his decisions left the country in debt at his death.

He was succeeded by his son, Charles I, who swiftly persuaded Parliament to grant him finances to go to war with Spain and France. By 1629, he had completely lost favor with Parliament, and believing, as his father did, that he was above the law he dismissed Parliament and ruled England as a pure monarchy until he was forced to recall Parliament in 1639. Ten years later, after inciting a Civil War in England, his rule was overthrown and he was executed.

It is here where the Stuart Sapphire’s unique story unfolds. As a result of this Civil War and the execution of the reigning monarch, a new republic rose in an attempt to overthrow the monarchy. With enough civil unrest, Oliver Cromwell rose to defend the new republic. Desperately in need of money, he dispatched with nearly the entire crown treasury. He sold most of the gemstones and melted all the gold to sell to the highest bidder. However, somehow the Stuart Sapphire escaped this assault on England’s prize possessions, likely secreted away by Charles II, who returned from exile in France after Cromwell’s death in 1660 and regained his rightful place upon the throne.
1. Famous Diamonds. "The Stuart Sapphire." Accessed June 11, 2012.
2. Internet Stones. "Stuart Sapphire." Accessed June 11, 2012.
3. Wikipedia. "Stuart period." Accessed June 11, 2012.
4. History on the Net. "The Stuart Monarchs-1603-1714." Accessed June 11, 2012.
5. Royal Collection, The. "The Imperial State Crown." Accessed June 11, 2012.

*Clip art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

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