Monday, 30 December 2019

Sapphires - Gems of the heavens

Sapphire is derived from the Latin word for blue, sapphirus. Sapphires were thought to be the gems of the heavens. Saturation is key to determining value. High quality, untreated sapphires of Kashmir or Burmese origin are the most highly prized and are considered investment grade.

Kashmir sapphires can be traced back to 1881, when a landslide in the northwestern Himalayas revealed outstanding sapphire. By 1887 the deposit was exhausted. Virtually all Kashmir sapphire comes from this initial find. Today they are extremely rare. Kashmir sapphires are a rich, cornflower blue or velvety luminous blue with a silken transparency. A deep saturated royal blue is the most coveted.

Saturday, 28 December 2019

Sapphires of Didy, Madagascar

Didy is a town in Madagascar. It belongs to the district of Ambatondrazaka, which is a part of Alaotra-Mangoro Region. In late 2011 a new deposit of gem quality sapphire was found there.

The island is one of the poorest countries in the world, with 81 percent of the population living on less than $1.25 a day.
The deposit is 25km south-east of Didy. Reaching the mine takes two days of hard walking from Didy, the closest place reachable by bush taxi. Even getting to Didi is tough. It’s 300km from the capital, and less than a third of that distance is on paved roads.

The last 10 hours of the trek is through rain forest, climbing precipitous hills on boggy paths.

The rubies and sapphires found there do not need to be heat treated.
After falling a tree, locals found transparent blue gemstones. By June 2012 sapphires began sporadically arriving at the capital Antananarivo, brought there by gold miners.

The stones are of exceptional quality. Vivid in color, beautiful clarity and size, the Didy discovery is the most important recent ruby and sapphire discovery in the world.

Madagascar is rich with mineral deposits, but its people remain some of the poorest on earth.
Within days, hundreds of tents and huts rose in the forest. A massive rush ocured before the Malagasy authorities sent a force to expel the miners as the discovery was in Makira Natural Park, an area dedicated to conservation. Sapphires present an irresistible lure of quick riches for locals.
As many as 10,000 miners and precious stone traders from around the world raced to the eastern region to extract the stones and ship them overseas. As well as digging up the forest floor, they cut down trees for firewood and shelter in the hitherto untouched wilderness and hunted resident animals, particularly lemurs, for bushmeat.

Despite the mining being illegal on protected land, the Malagasy government is unable to control it. The government has banned foreigners from the area. Armed gangs are the rule of law and unreported crime is common.

Monday, 16 December 2019

Red Spinel

Spinel is highly sought after by gem connoisseurs with crystals in high demand among collectors. Red spinel is the most desirable, followed by cobalt-blue spinel, then hot pink and vivid orange stones.
Red spinel ranges from orangy red to purplish red, with pure red hues the finest.
A top quality 5 carat red spinel might sell for a tenth the price of an equivalent ruby. Pink spinel often sells for less than pink sapphire.
The most highly valued blue spinel colors parallel blue sapphire, with intense violet-blue to pure blue colors highly regarded. Eye clean spinel is more valuable than that with inclusions. The more visible the inclusions, the more the value drops.
Larger spinel sizes rise considerably in per-carat price.

Prices rise sharply for fine red, pink, and blue stones above five carats.

Sunday, 15 December 2019

Bejewelled Birds

The Peacock Brooch by Graff boasts 1,305 diamonds weighing a total of 120.81 carats.

At the center is a 20.02 carat fancy deep blue pear-shape diamond. Adorning the tail feathers is an array of white, pink, yellow, orange, green and blue diamonds in various sizes and shapes. The tip of each feather is set with a cluster of white diamonds. The Peacock Brooch can be yours for about $ 100m.
The Walska Briolette Diamond Brooch. The Fancy Vivid Yellow antique briolette diamond weighs 96.62 carats. $10.5 million

Cartier Bird of Paradise Brooch with 20.22-carat pink sapphire and six padparadscha sapphires.


Golecha Bird brooch studded with kundan polki, ruby and emeralds.

Platinum, 18 karat gold, diamond and mystery-set ruby bird brooch, Van Cleef & Arpels, France, 1948

Van Cleef & Arpels mid-20th century 18 karat gold brooch with diamonds and rubies, malachite, onyx.

Tiffany. Kunzite and diamonds.

Mauboussin

Cartier

Van Cleef & Arpels

Buccellati - Eagle Brooch