St Edward's Sapphire

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St Edward's Sapphire
Weight unknown (stone measures ca. 17 x 17 mm)
Color blue (exact colour grade unknown)
Cut cushion-shaped rose
Original owner Edward the Confessor
Current owner British Crown
Estimated value unknown

The St Edward's Sapphire is a sapphire and one of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom. It gets its name from Edward the Confessor who wore the stone in his ring. According to legend the sapphire made its first appearance in the year 1042, where it was set into Edward's coronation ring. The gem survived through Oliver Cromwell's reign and disassembly of the crown jewels and was recut into its present form for Charles II after the restoration. Queen Victoria had the stone set into the finial cross of the Imperial State Crown which was made for her coronation in 1838.

Illustration of the Imperial State Crown before the height was lowered by about 1 inch (25 mm) in the early 20th century, at which point the Stuart Sapphire (the large oval blue stone) was also moved to the reverse side and its space replaced with the Cullinan II Diamond. The Maltese cross at the top is set with St. Edward's Sapphire at its center.

Legend of Saint John[edit]

According to legend King Edward had great respect for John the Evangelist and was noted for his generosity towards his poorer subjects. One day on his way to Westminster Abbey he was accosted by a beggar. The King's immediate reaction was to search his pockets for some money to hand the beggar. Upon finding his pockets empty the king, without hesitation, slipped the sapphire ring off his finger and presented it to the beggar. The beggar thanked the generous monarch and departed. Many years later two pilgrims from the Holy Land returned the ring to the king saying they had met St John the Evangelist who told them he had received the ring from the king, many years earlier in the guise of a beggar. He congratulated Edward for his kindness, and said that he would see Edward in heaven in six months time. Exactly six months later the king died of chicken pox.