Diamonds? So last year. The new precious gem du jour is the sapphire, according to a new survey.

The decline of the diamond is, according to Comparejewellery.com who conducted the survey, down to the Kate Middleton effect and that engagement ring as well as continued uncertainties over the ethical origins of diamonds.

Sapphires were also said to be more ‘unique’ than other styles of jewellery.

Pearl came second in the list of the stones women were hoping to find under the Christmas tree, with cubic zirconia and ruby following close behind.

The study also found that jewellery is still top of women’s Christmas wish lists, with 73% hoping to find something sparkly in their stocking.

“It seems that Kate Middleton may be having more of an effect on the jewellery industry than many realise,” said Ali O’Neill, Head of Product at comparejewellery.com.

“Her engagement ring was cited by many as the main reason behind why they’d like jewellery containing sapphire for Christmas, suggesting that she has thrust the blue stone into popularity above the all-powerful diamond.”

Diamonds – do you think they’ve had their day or do you find them classic and timeless?