Sapphires for September: the UK

Sapphires are the birth stone of September and have a place in royal history all of their own. Used by kings and queens for centuries, they are a sparkling symbol of regal power recognisable the world over. This month, we're having a look at some of the stunning sapphires currently glittering in the jewellery boxes of Europe's reigning houses. Today it's the sapphires belonging to the Sapphire Queen - Elizabeth II marked the 65th or Sapphire anniversary of her reign earlier this year. And as you'd expect, these are very regal stones indeed.

The Queen inherited some of the most famous jewels in the world when she ascended the throne but all monarchs throughout history have added their own touches to the royal gem collection. This tiara is one of the creations of the reign of Elizabeth II. The Queen commissioned this stunning sapphire and diamond diadem in the early 1960s. It's made from a necklace originally belonging to Princess Louise of Belgium.

Louise veered from racy to tragic in her life. The eldest daughter of King Leopold II of the Belgians, she married very regally and sensibly but that was about as far as following the form went. Louise had an affair and left her husband, causing all kinds of scandals in late 19th century Europe. Her new love forged her sister's signature to try and help the pair out of financial difficulties and Louise ended up in an asylum as a result. She left but had to sell her jewels at some point to pay her way out of trouble. And that's how the sapphires ended up with a for sale ticket and in the jewellery box of Elizabeth II. She acquired them in the middle of the 20th century and this very recognisable tiara was completed in 1963.

The Queen commissioned the tiara to match the set of sapphires given to her in 1947 as a wedding present by her father, King George VI.  The necklace features emerald cut sapphires and they were presented to the bride by her proud papa with a matching set of earrings. The Queen usually wears the tiara and necklace together - there is also a bracelet of sapphires and diamonds added to the set by the Queen. These jewels show the continuity of the House of Windsor, one reign passing to another, as well as the never ending bond between daughter and father. They are famous and fabulous sapphires, real sparklers to celebrate September.