Top Sapphires are rare
Sapphires, these gemstones of the skies, rest hidden away in only few places of the earth and have to be brought to daylight in laborious procedures. Sapphires are found in India, Burma, Ceylon, Thailand, Vietnam, Australia, Brazil and Africa. From the gemstone mines the rough crystals are supplied to the cutters, where skilled hands turn the into sparkling gemstones. A cutter must draw on all his experience and deftness when cutting sapphire, because these gemstones are not only hard, they also display a different colouring and satiation depending on the perspective. Therefore, then, the cutter must align the orientation of the stone in such a way as to bring about the best possible display of colour.
Depending on the place of occurrence the depth of colour as well as the shade displayed by the cut stones will vary, which in turn offers a wider range to select from. So shall a woman who has decided on a sapphire go for the medium blue stone evoking the summer skies even on a rainy day? Or should she rather prefer a lighter blue, because it sparkles brilliantly also in the evening? Bright daylight makes most Sapphires shine more vividly than the somewhat muted artificial light. Therefore the most highly cherished colour for blue sapphires is not the darkest blue as is often claimed, but a deep and satiated blue, which even in dim artificial light remains to appear blue.
For experts and connoisseurs the Cashmere-colour with its velvety sheen is considered the most beautiful and valuable shade. The wonderful Cashmere gemstones, which were found in 1880 after an avalanche had come down in a height of 5000 m, and which were intensively mined then for eight years, have for all times set the standard for our ideas of the colour of a top quality Sapphire. Typical for the Cashmere colour is a pure and intensive blue, which is enhanced by a fine, silky gloss. It is reported that this colour does not change in artificial light. But Burma-colour is also considered especially valuable. It ranges from rich royal blue to deep cornflower blue.
The oldest Sapphire mines are situated in Ceylon, today called Sri Lanka, where gemstones were mined in ancient times. The expert recognises Ceylon sapphires from the luminosity and brilliance of their light to medium blue colour. Most blue Sapphires, however, come from Thailand or Australia.
Their value depends on size, colour and transparency. For very fine qualities these criteria are supplemented by information on the origin of the gemstone. The colour as such is not necessarily linked to the geographic origin of the Sapphire, and this explains why there are such enormous price differences between the respective qualities. The most valuable sapphires are real Cashmere stones. Almost as highly cherished are stones from Burma, followed by Ceylon-Sapphires. Another factor reflecting on the price for a sapphire is a possible treatment, as in our age of gemstone cosmetics a stone which has definitely not been treated becomes more and more desirable. And if this rare beauty should be a real Cashmere- or Burma-Sapphire with a certificate to document this, than you will definitely have to pay a collector’s price.
Only rarely some courageous pioneers will succeed in locating a gemstone occurrence of such dimensions as happened in Madagascar some years ago, when in the Southeast of the island there was found a large gemstone occurrence stretching out across several kilometres. Since then, there have not only been enough blue Sapphires on the market, there also appeared some magnificent yellow and pink Sapphires of special beauty and transparency. In the meantime experts also succeeded in finding the first evidence for two larger gemstone occurrences in Tanzania, where good, although not very large Sapphire crystals are found in blue, yellow and orange colours. And recently Brazil has joined the ranks as third country where blue to purple and pink Sapphires have been found. So, Sapphire lovers may rest assured: The "heavenly” gemstones with the fine colour spectrum will be available in the future in sufficient amounts. Top-quality Sapphires, however, remain a rarity in the gemstone mines all over the world.