sapphires, an interesting subject for this month's newsletter.
reader asks... "What can you tell me about the Kashmir sapphires
coming from China? I'm told Kashmir is the name of a specific sapphire
mine. I also see references to Kashmir sapphires from Madagascar, Africa,
and Sri Lanka."
response to her question includes:
descriptive information unique to these gems
bit of geography
short chronicle of Central Asian history
a little opinion..
sapphires are widely recognized in the gem industry as the finest examples
of blue sapphires. A connoisseurs description of these gems tells us they
"possess a superb, highly saturated, violet-tinged blue color, and a
velvety, or sleepy quality."
more clinical description tells us these gems possess their
"sleepy" appearance due to minute, hair-like rutile inclusions.
The rough crystals can occur in large sizes, but many crystals are color
Kashmir sapphire photo above exhibits the saturated color and inclusions
typical of these gems. The photo below shows a gem that comes close, but
the difference in appearance is discernable.
Kashmir sapphires seldom appear on the market today. An
occasional gem may appear at auction in a piece of jewelry or as an uncounted
reason for this is the sapphire deposit was discovered, and then mined
out, within a short time in the 1880's. Reportedly, a landslide exposed
the deposit, and local inhabitants soon noticed the beautiful blue rocks
in the rubble of the landslide. They began gathering, and then trading the
stones to people outside the region.
you would expect, the local potentate, the Maharajah of Kashmir became
aware of the stones' existence, and their value. The Maharajah took
possession of the stones, and the mountainside where the stones were
found. His representatives traced the origin of the stones from the
landslide rubble back to what became the mine site. Reportedly, a number
of the rough crystals were "the size of an eggplant" and of a
saturated blue color.
sapphires soon became the most coveted of all the blue gems.
Although the mine was worked heavily during the 1880's depleted in about
five years, rumors of the occasional piece of rough being discovered in
the landslide rubble persist.
is part of the northern-most state of India (Jammu and Kashmir). The
Kashmir region includes a high mountain valley that lies along the Indian
border with Pakistan.
history is extensive. Much of it is related to religions. Sanskrit
scholars were here when history was first being recorded. Later the
Buddhist held sway, before 400 AD and for a period after that. They were
later joined by Hindu inhabitants. In the 1300's, the Muslims began to
immigrate from Swat, near the Afghanistan border. Sikhs also became part
of the ethnic and religious mix
is unique in that it has been ruled by Hindu kings, Maharajahs, Sultans,
Slikh Rajas, British monarchs, and now the Prime Minister of India, and/or
the Prime Minister of Pakistan.
1947 the British granted the British Indian Territories independence, and
aided in the formation of an interim government. The British Indian
territories gained independence in 1947, after being partitioned into the Union
of India and the Dominion of Pakistan.
partitioning triggered one of the largest mass migrations ever recorded in
modern history, with a total of possibly 12 million Hindus, Sikhs and
Muslims moving between the newly created nations of India and Pakistan,
both of which gained independence in August, 1947.
and India could not agree on which country Kashmir would join. After long
struggles and at least three wars, Kashmir is divided between Muslim
Pakistan and Hindu India. This dispute continues today.
sapphires is a term used by some to describe a gem's appearance today. This
usage refers not to the gem's origin, but rather to how it looks.
I am entirely satisfied with the beautiful, saturated blue sapphires coming from
Africa and Sri Lanks today. Rather than the soft, sleepy appearance of the
Kashmirs, they can be very lively.
sapphires are interesting, but largely unattainable. That's OK because the gems
available today fit our taste and lifestyle.
Top - Kashmir sapphire, no
treatment, cushion shape
Next - Sapphire, heated,
advertised as a "Kashmir blue" sapphire
Next - Kashmir region map
- Blue Sapphire round, from Tanzania, heated, lively
Blue Sapphire oval, from Tanzania, heated, lively
Special Offer - Sapphire
marquise in cornflower blue
Next - Dealer Product Image - Chrome Diopside and White
Topaz Ring in Sterling
Last - Dealer Program Image - Pink Spinel and Sterling
A Google search using keywords such as kashmir sapphire museum
or kashmir history
can return some very interesting
information and websites.
Here is this month's special gem deal.
This gorgeous marquise shaped cornflower blue sapphire displays very good color,
good clarity, and will make a stunning ring with accent stones.
We keep gem prices low by buying quality gemstone rough
worldwide, and having the rough material cut by our gem cutters in Asia.
Gem Industry News
Conflict Gold Rule Has
Many well intended - but poorly thought out - surprises are apparently buried
in the massive Dodd-Frank
financial reform act. This surprise is a
requirement that the Securities and Exchange Commission must develop a
rule on how public companies should report their procedures for avoiding “conflict
minerals" from the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo... and
The SEC has now developed the rule, but even when the rule was in the draft
stage, mining companies began pulling out of the target countries. Their exit
has caused many legitimate mineworkers to lose their jobs.
Gold, tungsten, tin, and tantalum are the
"conflict minerals" that are reportedly funding the continuing civil
unrest in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Gold, of course, is the metal of concern to the jewelry industry. compliance
with the new "procedures for avoiding conflict minerals" regulations
will add to the overhead costs of companies dealing in, or using gold.
Upward pressure on gold prices is an additional challenge to the industry,
and especially to retail jewelers.
A struggling economy is an opportunity for independent jewelry dealers.
People still want and need jewelry. Gift occasions, the people building or refreshing their wardrobe, and see it - like it - buy it purchasers are
all potential customers for you.
An ailing economy isn't a deal killer when you offer quality, service, and
Be The Quality Jewelry Discounter.
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