|The most famous sapphires in the world are from Kashmir, and they are extraordinarily rare.|
New sapphires are rarely discovered in Kashmir, and most of the material that exists was discovered more than 100 years ago. Kashmir sapphires are highly valued because the best specimens have a superb cornflower blue colour and a sleepy quality (due to rutile inclusions) that has been described as "blue velvet."
|By 1887 declining production led the Maharajah of Kashmir to request geological assistance from the government of British India, in the hope of finding more material. The British geologist found the original mine to be exhausted, and turned his survey to placer deposits elsewhere in the valley.|
Exploration failed to uncover new sapphire. Over the years geological surveys were mounted and mining efforts undertaken during the three months of summer free from snow. But the marvels that came out of the original mine were never matched, and today the area is mostly under control of Muslim tribes.
Sapphire earrings with sapphires of 26.66 and 20.88 carats; $8,372,094 ($176,106 per carat) at Sotheby's Geneva November 2013 sale.
Star of Kashmir
Cushion-shaped sapphire of 19.88 carats set in a diamond ring; $3,483,017 ($175,202 per carat) at Christie's Geneva May 2013 sale.
|A 28.18-carat square emerald-cut Kashmir sapphire sold for nearly $5.1 million in April 2014. It achieved $180,731 per carat, setting a world auction record of a price per carat of a sapphire. The untreated gem is framed by 32 tapered baguette diamonds with a mounting by Oscar Heyman & Brothers.|
10.33 carat Kashmir sapphire, $2.4 million in 2013.
A 26.41-carat cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire and diamond brooch sold for $3,838,508 in November 2011.
Kashmir Sapphire of 42.88 carats. Estimate: $2.8-3.8 million