Kashmir Sapphires

Posted by | Sunday, April 8, 2018
Kashmir - the Himalayas are in the background

Kashmir - the Himalayas are in the background

Sapphires have been mined all over the world and each location produces characteristically different colors and qualities of sapphires. The locations include Kashmir, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Thailand, Cambodia, and Montana. Determining a sapphire’s exact origin can require sophisticated testing and a sapphire’s pedigree plays an important role in its value. This post will focus on the most famous sapphire location, Kashmir. Kashmir is located high up in the Himalayan mountains in the disputed border area between India and Pakistan. The climate is exceptionally harsh and geographically inaccessible most of the time.

That coupled with a politically unstable environment just about prevents all mining there today. The heyday of mining in Kashmir occurred from 1881 to 1887. A landslide in 1881 exposed a deposit of gem quality blue sapphires at an elevation of nearly 15,000 ft. Mining techniques at that time were quite primitive as you can imagine. Only a very small quantity of rough was recovered and since the area is relatively inaccessible for reasons already mentioned, there has been little output since then.


The velvety appearance is caused by the scattering of light from silk-like minute inclusions.

Many people consider Kashmir sapphires to be the finest in the world and the benchmark by which all other sapphires are judged. The finest gems have a vivid royal blue color with a velvety appearance which is caused by the scattering of light from minute inclusions.

Of course, the quality of all gems mined from Kashmir are not this fine quality with many stones having strong color zoning or color being confined to certain areas of the crystals. Kashmir sapphires are extremely rare and if the origin can be proven, these sapphires would normally sell from thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars per carat.

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