Tuesday, September 09, 2008

September is Sapphire

What is the finest color in blue sapphire? Actually there are two standards. For the first, think of the sky at midnight in the light of a full moon. The color is a dark, but not inky, it is a rich vibrant blue with perhaps a touch of purple that imparts a velvety hue. It is a color that teeters on the edge of darkness. Gems of this description are most often found in Burma and Sri Lanka and more recently on the island of Madagascar. (pictured left #9141 1.28 carat Sri Lankan Sapphire)

The second color is mostly associated with the legendary sapphires of Kashmir. Never abundant, these stones were found in the late 19th Century on one side of a single rocky hillock high in the Himalayan Mountains of Northwest India. This hue is a lighter shade of blue, perhaps 5% lighter in tone that shows no purple. The color is lively and pure blue, a color sometimes referred to as cornflower. In addition, though quite crystalline, the stones often contain submicroscopic inclusions often called sugar that interrupts and fractures the light coming out of the stone producing a hazy, soft and sometimes milky brilliance that is often described as velvety.

Interestingly enough stones that fit either of the above descriptions have been found at all of the sites mentioned. Kashmir blues have been found in Sri Lanka and Madagascar and Sri Lankan look-a-likes have been found in Kashmir. "The finest Kashmir I ever say came from Sri Lanka" is how one old time dealer put it. (pictured right: #9018, 2.52 carat certified Kashmir sapphire).

The point is a sapphire is either beautiful or it is not, its place of origin is not part of the aesthetic equation. Clients sometimes insist on seeing sapphires from a specific location because someone told them that they were the best. The fact is you can find beautiful sapphires from all these locations and some real bow-wows as well. Price will, to some degree, be determined by an exotic origin. Why because so many people make the mistake of looking for brand names rather than beauty and let themselves be dazzled by exotic origins. Remember gemstones are all about beauty, beauty is the ultimate criterion.

If you are interested in seeing more beautiful sapphires, visit our website: www.rwwise.com click on gallery, gemstones, sapphire. If you are interested in learning more, read chapter 22 of my book Secrets of The Gem Trade free at: www.secretsofthegemtrade.com

Visit Burma's Valley of the Serpents and learn how sapphire is mined and graded.

Follow me on gem buying adventures in Burma, Thailand and Sri lanka. Visit the gem fields of Australia and Brazil. 120 carefully selected photographs showing examples of the highest quality gems to educate the eye, including the Rockefeller Sapphire and many more of the world's most famous gems. Consider my book: Secrets Of The Gem Trade, The Connoisseur's Guide To Precious Gemstones.

“Wise is a renowned author... He’s done a marvelous job of this first book, monumental work, a tour de force...My recommendation: Buy this book”.

Charles Lewton-Brain, Orchid

whether you like to know what the best colour is in Tanzanite, or how to grade a Diamond, you will find it in this book. No other book I read before dealt with this topic is such detail as Richard Wise's masterpiece."

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Amazon June 2005

"Secrets Of The Gem Trade: The Connoisseurs Guide To Precious Gemstones by Richard W. Wise is an impressive new reference for dedicated dealers and collectors of gems, gemstones, and ... pearls. Introducing and descriptively exploring each and every gem covered in the easy-to-use reference, Secrets Of The Gem Trade contains an illustrated summary of each stone inclusive of its history and general information, hue and tone, saturation, which may be noticed as the finest, an understanding of the particular gems rarity, and the caution for synthetics and how to depict them, however depending upon the stone there may be description of clarity, color fading, multi-color effect, etc. Secrets Of The Gem Trade is very highly recommended to anyone interested in gemology as a superbly organized, authoritative, comprehensive, and easy-to-follow reference."

Midwest Book Review
April 2006

Only $35.95. Read a couple of chapters online: www.secretsofthegemtrade.com.

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1 comment:

Virgilio Elcullada Luib Jr. said...

My birthstone!

So I guess the most beautiful sapphire is a pure blue. While tanzanite should also be pure blue or purplish-blue and not violetish-blue?

Btw the finest color of emeralds can also be found in the US.