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
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.
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