Sapphire is best known for its hardness that makes it ideal for many mechanical and optical applications, but its resistance to radiation damage and its optical properties, combined with metallic nano-particles, make it promising for future opto-electronic and plasmonic devices. In this paper, we present an overview of our work on the fabrication of metallic nano-particles embedded in synthetic sapphire by means of ion implantation, thermal annealing and high energy ion irradiation. We show that we can have control over the amount and size of the nano particles formed inside the matrix by carefully choosing the parameters during the preparation process. Furthermore, we show that anisotropic nano particles can be obtained by an adequate high energy ion irradiation of the originally spherical nano particles. We also have studied the linear and non-linear optical properties of these nano-composites and have confirmed that they are large enough for future applications.