The Most Expensive Souvenir I’ve Ever Bought

Expensive Souvenir

I treasure the few souvenirs I have from my travels; textiles from Africa, a palm wood salad bowl from Costa Rica and ethic silver jewelry which I bargained for in Laos, India and Egypt over twenty years ago.

But I picked up some real treasure on my more recent trip to the Sapphire Gemfields in Central Queensland. It’s hard to say what came over me, but what with all the shiny stones on display, I blame it on gem fever.

rubyvale gem gallery and cafe video

Alas I didn’t find my own gem when fossicking for sapphires but at the Rubyvale Gem Gallery I fell in love with an 18 carat green parti-colored sapphire (pictured on the left below). Parti sapphires have a mixutre of colors including yellow and blue so they sparkle green too. I love that color blend, with flashes of ocean and forest, and although $18,000 was slighty way over-budget I set my heart on a parti sapphire.

rubyvale big sapphires

The star sapphires like the one below are gorgeous too for a totally different look and especially for a man’s ring.

rubyvale star sapphire

But after much humming and haaing I chose this 2.8 carat parti-coloured sapphire. It’s not a bad size for a ring and a pretty little thing. It’s blue round the edges with yellow at the centre base so it flashes a thousand different blues and greens.

rubyvale my sapphire

I wanted a very simple ring set in platinum so that the stone would be the star. I googled some modern rings online, found inspiration on the Tiffany website then showed the photos to the Rubyvale Gem Gallery sapphire miner, cutter and jeweller, Peter Brown.

The stone is a cushion cut so he explained what kind of settings would work best to ensure maximum sparkle but mininise the chance of me knocking and cracking the stone. I’m quite clumsy so that was important!

Then he sketched the ring and measured my finger.

sapphire ring sketch

After I got back home he worked on bringing the ring to life.

sapphire ring in progress

Below you can see the purple wax mold he created to cast the platinum, the stone and the ring setting all ready to have the sapphire fixed in place.

sapphire ring wax model

It was very naughty of me but my ring is very nice and I came up with a great excuse for buying it. You see it’s not just a pretty bit of bling. It’s a family heirloom and memento of our time in Australia. A reminder that there is treasure and natural beauty hidden all around us if we only open our eyes and look for it. I still feel a bit guilty though….

sapphire ring  518

What’s the most expensive souvenir you’ve ever bought? Was it worth it?

I was a guest of Tourism Queensland and Capricorn Enterprise during my visit to the Sapphire Gemfields.

Visit the Capricorn Holidays website to plan a visit or stick around to read more about my experiences fossicking for sapphires and digging the Sapphire Gemfields.

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  1. Monique@TheUrbanMum October 28, 2014 at 6:42 pm - Reply

    Your ring is glorious – a true heirloom – I have been quite restrained on recent trips. However last time I was in Paris I bought a Chanel handbag on a whim – quite an eye watering decision. Not in the league of your natural and beautiful stone – but I love and treasure it – which is what it is all about – isn’t it?

    • Annabel Candy October 28, 2014 at 8:20 pm - Reply

      Hi Monique,

      That sounds like an amazing souvenir and maybe a family heirloom too! My sequined hippy bag from Thailand would out me to shame nex to you ;)

  2. Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel October 29, 2014 at 9:13 am - Reply

    Oh it’s gorgeous Annabel, a great idea and I bet it will be passed down through to your wee lass. I love some of my souvenirs from wanderings, and the jewellery is certainly the easiest to lug about. I once bought two pig-shaped wooden chopping boards in Portugal and carried them in my backpack for weeks, ridiculously heacy. My mum still uses heres though, 32 years later – ahem.

    • Annabel Candy October 29, 2014 at 9:22 am - Reply

      Hi Seana,

      Sounds like that chopping board was worth lugging around then! I spent my money wisely on this souvenir but I’ve also bought some useless things while travelling in the past! I need to write about those next ;)

  3. Fran @ travelgenee October 31, 2014 at 9:57 pm - Reply

    Annabel, nice looking ring. Love the style and colours of the stone.

    I have never been one for souvineers. It’s because so many are wood, feathers or other animal parts so you are required to declare them flying back into New Zealand or Australia. I just cannot be bothered waiting longer in the customs lines than necessary. Once many moons ago Mr TG rang from South Africa saying he had been on tourist tours that day but knowing I disliked souvineers did not get me anything. Naturally I was OK with this until he said “down the diamond mine……..”

  4. Janet November 5, 2014 at 6:32 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel

    Your ring is simply divine… It’s very very difficult to NOT buy one of Rubyvale Gem Gallery’s beautiful sapphire rings, or necklaces… I am a very proud owner of a wonderful princess cut parti coloured sapphire ring, set with diamonds on the shoulders… It’s exquisite.. Peter made it for my 40th Wedding anniversary which was 7 yrs ago, and I’m still thrilled to wear it… My ring will last a lifetime, unlike some cheaper rings that can be found in some of the shops…..

    • Annabel Candy November 5, 2014 at 7:56 pm - Reply

      Hi Janet,

      Oh that’s a great story. Souvenirs of any kind do mean so much more when they’re handcrafted and attached to the memory of special people and places :)

  5. Jade November 5, 2014 at 8:13 pm - Reply

    Woo hoo! It’s gorgeous! Definitely worth it! But of course I would say that, I came home with my own sparkler as well! :D:D

    • Annabel Candy November 5, 2014 at 8:16 pm - Reply

      Hi Jade,

      Yours is a beauty too! We have lots of happy memories and it was so fun hanging out with you on this trip. Let’s hope we get to do it again sometime :)

  6. Linda ~ Journey Jottings November 8, 2014 at 9:38 pm - Reply

    A fun memory from a fun time –
    And I love it’s clean simplicity that will be timeless.
    A great spur of the moment descion to be enjoyed forever :)

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