We have flirted with red (see Painting the Town Red ) and celebrated green (see Hope Springs Eternal in Green) and now it is time to greet the third of the primary colours of life; blue. Why is that blue is the most admired and preferred of all colours for both men and women? Could it be that over countless millennia, the blue canopy of the arching sky and surrounding sea- the myriad shades of blue they wear- merge in our deep consciousness as trusted companions?
Aquamarine, cyan, turquoise and teal blue by day; indigo, ultramarine and navy blue as night approaches, we are soothed and reassured by blue’s repeated elemental, ethereal embrace.
Perhaps being at the centre of the visual light spectrum, blue grounds and centres us. After all, the human eye can discern over 2.4 million colours from violet to red and women, it is now argued-with greater retina light acuity than men- up to 100 million colours. Whatever the hue, blue acts as reliable rapporteur and impartial umpire as we negotiate the confusions and challenges of our rainbow world.
Blue represents quality and excellence, a blue-ribbon guarantee of success. It is as reassuring as a blue-chip stock, with the promise that the most humble of us may be as blue-blooded as any Royal. Most powerfully, perhaps, it is the colour most associated with trust, that which makes us truly “true blue”.
Reese Witherspoon trusted blue when she wore a simple, teal-blue Calvin Klein gown to the 2014 Golden Globes, showing how wonderfully elegant and feminine a full- bodied mother of three could look on the Red Carpet. Kristin Chenoworth’s long sleeved cobalt- blue gown
and Adele Exarchopolous beaded, mermaid, navy gown were sumptuous counterpoints as was the lavishly embroidered azure blue on svelte, waifish models at the Chanel autumn /winter 2014 haute couture collection at the Grand Palais in Paris.
Sapphires are the blue gem that echo the theme of continuity despite travail and uncertainty in other facets of life. The largest faceted sapphire in the world is the 466 carat, cushion cut, corn-flower blue, Blue Giant of the Orient, which vanished mysteriously for a century only to reappear recently. The larger cabochon-cut, Star of India, over 563 carats, was stolen from the Smithsonian in 1964, also turning up mysteriously in a Miami locker a few months later. Sapphires- which are usually assumed to be blue but may also display pink or green hues, depending on the amount of the trace elements iron, titanium and chromium- have been, and continue to be, the first jewellery choice of many. Lady Diana’s Garrard sapphire engagement ring is now on The Duchess of Cambridge’s finger as the most poignant symbol of enduring love imaginable.
Marion Cotillard swept past at the 2009 Oscars not only in a spectacular midnight- blue Christian Dior gown, flowing with layer upon layer of tulle, but with an even more spectacular 125 carat Chopard sapphire necklace and a superb 13 carat sapphire ring. At the 2014 Oscars, Tina Fey, also in a midnight-blue Carolina Herrera gown, wore the most incredible shoulder sweeping, multi-layered, 48 carat sapphire earrings and a 15 carat sapphire ring.
Sapphires, the jewels that adorned the fabled Peacock Throne of Shah Jahan (he who built the Taj Mahal in memory of his wife, Mumtaz). Sapphires, the favourite gem of Napoleon’s Josephine. The colour of trust, integrity, endurance. Blue skies. Smooth sailing. Safe harbour.
Sapphires. Awaiting you, now, at Shiels