Remotely hidden in the lap of the spectacular snow-capped Himalayas is the highest sapphire mine in the world.  However it's not the location that has earned the Kashmir gem it's legendary status, but instead the superiority of their intense soft blue and the colorfully woven history of their existence and disappearance in the early 1900's.

Originally in the late 1800's, the deposit which lies at 15,000 feet elevation produced a quantity of material that flooded the market for nearly a decade. Most people, even today, do not realize that when dealing with colored stones, the supply is limited to the small number of pockets that can be located deep within the earth's crust. These pockets of gemstones are nothing like the quantity of diamonds that exist in the world's kimberlite volcanic dikes. The London Mining Journal of June 16, 2000 reported the annual production of diamond to be more than 111 million carats. In November of 1999 Geology Today reported the 1000 mines in Mogok, Burma produced some 300,000 carats of sapphire annually. These mines have produced relatively consistent amount of gemstone for decades, where as the single mine of Kashmir has remained officially unworked since the 1930's. It wasn't until 1998 that the Jammu & Kashmir government began mining again and has reported less than 10,000 carats of total production since 1999 from which less than a fraction of a percentage is "gem" quality.

Although these statistics are crude and many other factors could give support when making a comparison of gemstone production, it is not unsubstantiated to suggest the production of sapphire makes up less than 3/10 of 1% of the diamond production and Kashmir sapphire would therefore make up less than 1% of this 1%. We say the Kashmir gem is almost as rare as chicken's teeth.

In other words, any potential buyer could call any jewelry store in any city and find a diamond that suites their specific desire. But on the other hand, this is literally impossible with Kashmir sapphire. In a Cigar Aficionado article of 1997 the author, Ettagale Blauer, quotes several gemstone dealers saying,  "Most people who are looking for a Kashmir should not even start looking.  It's not coming out of the ground at all, and you'd have to wait many years." "No matter how much money is offered, even the most knowledgeable colored stone dealer with connections all over the gem world--which is to say, all over the earth--must search and search for such a rare gem. Unlike diamonds, which are available in virtually any size and quality up to 10 carats, these colored gemstones have always been in short supply, particularly in the finest qualities."


As one of the few people in the world who see Kashmir sapphire on a regular basis, we know extremely fine Kashmir sapphire are recognized and coveted from the very day they are discovered. In many cases the superior quality specimen are concealed and transported directly to private collectors and gem dealers across the globe. Most are then quickly recognized for their inspiring beauty and never see the public's eye. So how do you begin to place a value on such rare gems?

On a few occasions these breath-taking blues will be displayed for bidding. The auction houses provide us the only valid method of pricing this rare material as seen below.  The only alternative method is to speak with the handle full of knowledgeable experts in the world.

 
Date
       Location

       Kashmir Sapphire

Item Description
Lot Price
11/01 Christie, Geneva Switzerland 21.29ct octagonal Ring by "Cartier" $945,348
11/96 Phillips, Geneva Switzerland 25 cushion shaped weighing 66.66cts Bracelet $1,170,000
10/96 Sotheby, NY 15 cushion shaped Necklace $2,500,000
10/94 Christie, NY 6.28ct cushion shaped Loose Gem $233,500
10/89 Sotheby, NY 5 stones cushion and emerald cut ranged from 10.96 to 36 cts Necklace by "Van Cleef & Arpels" $3,520,000
10/88 Christie, NY 8 stones (weight ranged from 4.70-10.55 cts) Bracelet $1,034,000
04/88 Christie, NY 9 stones (weight ranged from 4.17-10.52 cts) Bracelet by "Cartier" $902,000
11/79 Christie, Geneva Switzerland 11.81ct cushion shaped Ring $304,875
 

A survey among jewelers, reported in Colored Stone magazine, claims blue sapphire to be the top selling colored stone in the past four years. The public has realize colored stones express individuality and are much more rare than diamonds so they are becoming more and more popular as pleasing gifts and engagement rings as well as potential investments in 'gem' qualities. The Duke of Gloucester may have been the first when he proposed to Lady Alice Montugu-Douglas-Scott with an exquisite oval Kashmir sapphire ring in the 1930's. Since then many more woman have received Kashmir sapphire engagement rings to include Kristie Alley, Susan Sarandon, Sara Ferguson, Ivana Mazzuchelli Trump, model Heather Mills, Judith Nathan (Former Mayor R. Guilani's wife) and Princess Diana.  If you're going to add your spouse's name to this list of unique individuals, why not offer your special woman the most highly respected blue gem this world has to offer.

Having said this, we hope you gain some idea as to the significance of Kashmir sapphire and it's true rarity and value. We hope you will continue your research and come to the same conclusion thus adding to your knowledge and collection of this world's finest gemstone.  KB