This journey begins with great hutzpa, a firm grasp identifying Kashmir sapphire, and great faith in a loving God.
 
The Indian State of Kashmir is a beautiful yet sometimes dangerous place.  In the fall of 2006 I visited the man I call the 'Prophet.'  During my first visit to Kashmir in 2000, I lived with the "Prophet" and his family.  I bought my first Kashmir sapphire from this family and helped them begin building a new home. (Please see Testimonies). That evening militants raided the adjacent hotel killing four people and taking their own lives (Battle of Khonna Khun-2006).
 

The following years have been equally exciting.  I find a few 'Gem' quality stones every year.  The stones are usually in old jewelry with antique style cutting.  I occasionally see rough, unfaceted gemstone, in the market, but the rough is usually from a different origins or synthetic.  I purchase the best quality rough from the Jammu & Kashmir State auctions.

It is not the plentiful bounty of Kashmir stones that keeps me searching.  Instead, it's the thrill of traveling in this beautiful country and leaving 'no stone unturned.'  Others in the business say it is similar to purchasing a a lottery ticket and hoping to have a winner some day.  With God, anything is possible, but I've never purchased a lottery ticket.

My local friends and I travel by motorcycle.  We prefer the old Royal British Enfield.  We climb the dirt roads, cross rivers and search the most remote villages in the Himalayas.  When the road ends, we harness our backpacks and climb the mountains. We spend time with the locals sharing medicines and gathering information on deposits.  We stay on the move because the mountains can be dangerous.

 

The stone photographed in Figure 1 was cut last fall from old J&K auction rough. Most high quality gems are found in antique jewelry.  The recently mined material has yield smaller 'gem' quality pieces.  A sample of old rough is seen in Figure 2 below.

Buying sapphire in India is risky.  There are no qualified laboratory in India to certify a stones origin and many treatments.  Whether deliberate or not, almost all sellers claim natural color and Kashmir origin.

I have no problem paying a premium and or higher than the local market if the stone is genuine.   A non-heated, and non artificially colored (diffused) sapphire of

Figure 1 click to enlarge
Figure 2 click to enlarge
Kashmir origin demands a premium in the trade.

The country of India is saturated with artificially colored stones, glass or lead filled stones, wax or resin filled stones and otherwise manipulated stones that are valued at a fraction of their 'natural' counterparts.  These stones are offered as Kashmir or "caveat emptor" and sold at prices five times or ten times their true value.  Many stone come with a good story about the Maharaja having previous ownership or it being handed down three generations.
Figure 3 click to enlarge

The Kashmir origin is relatively easy to determine with experience and gemological tools. (See Figures 3 & 4). This is my advantage buying in India.  Almost every dealer or jeweler in the world will require a certificate of origin and treatment before purchase.  India will not and cannot provide this certicate.  The risk is exponentially higher.
Figure 4 click to enlarge
The 5.5ct stone in Figure 1 was recut from 6.2cts.  Faceting is an art.  Most faceters use a method similar to cutting cookies. "Cookie cutters" follow a pattern, diagram or reference based on the refractive index of the material.  The result may or may not be a more beautiful stone with a much higher weight lose. The world's gifted cutters will use the physical and optical properties after studying a stone to
Figure 5 click to enlarge
Figure 6 click to enlarge

maximize the potential beauty minimizing the weight lose by recutting or repolishing over the original facets changing the angles. The length of time and quality achieved is proportional to the cost charged and worth every penny.

After cutting, the stone may be set. (Figures 5, 6 & 7).  Hand crafting a ring may take several months.  The finished piece is then certified taking another month. The result is a beautiful and rare product with certification and photographs to document your purchase.

A fine sapphire can be purchased as both an item of adornment and or investment.  Let us help you find that gemstone.

Skype: KashmirBlue     Email: info@kashmirblue.com

Figure 7 click to enlarge