Posts by Lareef

    As we have already pointed out premium values are attached to alexandrites of Russian origin, if one can prove the origin of the stone without any doubt, usually supported by a lab report from a reputed laboratory. In the case of the 3.95-carat alexandrite historic provenance point to the probable Russian origin of the stone, but the all important lab report to support this contention is missing. This undoubtedly is the primary reason why the alexandrite failed to impress at the auction. Apart from this the cut, clarity and quality of the color change effect might also have influenced the price fetched by the stone. The period when the two stones appeared for the auction might also have had a bearing on the price of the alexandrite. While the 3.95-carat alexandrite featured at a London auction in December 2007, when prices were generally depressed, the 4.50-carat stone featured at a New York auction five years later in December 2012, when demand for exceptionally rare gemstones, pearls and diamonds and jewelry pieces incorporating them had escalated and prices fetched had increased several folds than 2007 prices.

    The first alexandrites discovered in the Ural Mountains in Russia in 1830 are of the finest quality displaying vivid hues and dramatic color change. The Ural mountain deposits were exploited intensively during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and were exhausted within a very short period. However, these alexandrites have set the quality standard for alexandrites worldwide, just as much as the Kashmir sapphires discovered accidentally around 1880 in the Paddar region of Kashmir and exploited intensively in 1882 to 1887 and exhausted and abandoned subsequently, has set the world standard for blue sapphires.
    Fine quality Ural mountain alexandrites are green to bluish green in daylight and red to purplish red/reddish purple in incandescent light. Their color saturation is moderately strong to strong. Stones that are too light do not reach the quality of color intensity seen in fine-quality gems. Stones that are too dark lack brightness and appear almost black.
    Sri Lankan alexandrites are generally larger than their Russian counterparts, but their colors tend to be less desirable. The greens tend to be yellowish compared to the blue-green of the Russian stones, and the reds of Sri Lankan alexandrite are typically brownish red/reddish-brown rather than purplish red.
    Alexandrites from Brazil, especially from the Hematita mine, have colors and color change effect that can rival the Ural mountain stones, eg. the 15.58-carat, cushion-cut Brazilian alexandrite dealt with above, that has a saturated, homogeneous color and high degree of transparency, with a pronounced color change effect from bluish-green to reddish-purple.
    The 15.35-carat, cushion modified brilliant-cut alexandrite highlighted by Yousuf, has a brownish Yellow-Green color in daylight and a brown-yellow or golden-yellow color in incandescent light. The low saturation in both green and red colors makes the stone brownish both in daylight and incandescent light, which is undesirable for an alexandrite. The color change in this case is also less pronounced, but the high clarity, good transparency and the modified brilliant-cut of the stones, seem to compensate for this, imparting to the stone a bright and brilliant appearance, both in daylight and incandescent light.
    Alexandrite is a variety of the mineral chrysoberyl, an aluminate of beryllium with the formula BeAl2O4. Chrysoberyl is the 3rd-hardest material on earth after diamond (10) and corundum (9), with a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale. Ordinary chrysoberyl is yellowish-green and transparent to translucent, and sometimes referred to as chrysolite. When a few atoms of aluminium in the crystal structure of chrysoberyl is replaced by chromium atoms, the variety of chrysoberyl known as alexandrite is produced. The presence of chromium atoms in the crystal structure causes intense absorption of light over a narrow range of wavelengths in the yellow region of the spectrum. This absorption band in the region 580 nm (nano-meter) allows alexandrite to shift from red to green or vice versa when viewed under different light sources.
    The color change from red to green or vice versa is due to strong absorption of light in a narrow yellow portion of the spectrum, while allowing large bands of blue-green and red wavelengths to be transmitted. Which of these prevails to give the perceived hue depends on the spectral balance of the illumination. Fine-quality alexandrite has a green to bluish-green color in daylight (relatively blue illumination of high color temperature), changing to a red to purplish-red color in incandescent light (relatively yellow illumination)

    Thanks Peter for your updates. I think we can now incorporate these four alexandrites in our list given above and produce a revised list both for whole stone prices and price-per-carat values.


    The revised list of 10 alexandrites arranged in descending order of whole stone prices is as follows :-


    1) 21.41-carat, cushion- cut alexandrite of Russian origin - US$ 1,495,395
    2) 19.05-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin - US$ 959,400
    3) 15.58-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin - US$ 934,480
    4) 18.23-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri lanka origin - US$ 557,000
    5) 11.66-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin - US$ 421,501
    6) 12.00-carat, oval -cut alexandrite of unknown country-of-origin - US$ 203,794
    7) 10.41-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri Lanka origin - US$ 182,500
    8) 4.50-carat,cushion-cut alexandrite of Russian origin - US$ 170,500
    9) 15.86-carat, cushion antique mixed-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri Lanka origin - US$ 104,500
    10) 10.16-carat, oval-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri Lanka origin - US$ 50,000


    The revised list of above alexandrites arranged in descending order of price-per-carat values :-
    1) 21.41-carat, cushion- cut alexandrite of Russian origin - PPC value US$ 69,845
    2) 15.58-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin - PPC value US$ 59,979
    3) 19.05-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin PPC value US$ 50,362
    4) 4.50-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Russian origin - PPC value US$ 37,888
    5) 11.66-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin - PPC value US$ 36,149
    6) 18.23-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri lanka origin - PPC value US$ 30,554
    7) 10.41-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri Lanka origin - PPC value US$ 17,531
    8) 12.00-carat, oval-cut alexandrite of unknown country-of-origin -PPC value US$ 16,982
    9) 15.86-carat, cushion antique mixed-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri Lanka origin - PPC value US$ 6,588
    10) 10.16-carat, oval-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri Lanka origin - PPC value US$ 4,921


    The revised list shows that the market ranking established earlier - Russia, Brazil and Ceylon - still largely holds good, especially for PPC values. The 4.50-carat cushion-cut Russian alexandrite, performed extremely well selling for US$ 170,500, doing better than the larger 15.86-carat and 10.16-carat alexandrites of Ceylon/Sri Lanka origin, which sold only for US$ 104,500 and US$ 50,000 respectively. However, being a smaller stone the 4.50-carat Russian alexandrite could not achieve the PPC value of nearly US$ 70,000 achieved by the 21.41-carat, cushion-cut Russian alexandrite that broke the world record price for an alexandrite by selling for US$ 1,495,395. It however achieved a fairly significant PPC value of US$ 37,888 falling in the 4th-place in the list based on PPC values.

    The above analysis shows that both in terms of whole stone prices and price-per-carat values, there is a market ranking for alexandrites based on origin, like blue sapphires. Highest prices are fetched by Russian alexandrites, whenever such stones appear at auctions, followed by Brazilian (Hematita) and Ceylon/Sri Lanka alexandrites. This ranking is clearly brought out for PPC values than whole stone prices.
    That such a ranking does exist for alexandrites will be confirmed only after more alexandrites appearing at public auctions are highlighted.
    The oldest source of alexandrites in the world is Russia, where the gemstone was first discovered in 1830 during the reign of Czar Nicholas I, coincidentally on the birthday of Alexander II, the Czar's son and heir, in whose honor the new discovery was named. Interestingly, the colors green and red, involved in the dramatic color-change effect, observed in these stones (green in natural daylight to red in artificial incandescent light) were the colors of the Russian Imperial Guard, and hence the significance of this discovery for the Romanov rulers of Russia.
    The next oldest source of alexandrites in the world is Ceylon/Sri lanka and India, where the gemstone was discovered after the depletion of the Ural mountain deposits in the early 20th-century. The original invoice from J.E.Cladwell & Co. for the 10.41-carat Ceylon alexandrite ring dated 1943, gives an indication of the possible period when these gemstones were discovered in Sri Lanka. The high-quality Hematita deposits in Nova Era, Brazil, was discovered only in 1987. Tanzania and Madagascar deposits are the most recently discovered alexandrite deposits in the world.

    Three important sources of alexandrites in the world have emerged from the above discussion - Russia, Ceylon/Sri Lanka and Brazil. The six stones highlighted by our participants belong to one of these three sources. The actual breakdown is one Russian, two Sri Lankan and three Brazilian.
    The following is the list of the six alexandrites arranged in descending order of their whole stone prices fetched at the auctions :-
    1) 21.41-carat, cushion- cut alexandrite of Russian origin - US$ 1,495,395
    2) 19.05-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin - US$ 959,400
    3) 15.58-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin - US$ 934,480
    4) 18.23-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri lanka origin - US$ 557,000
    5) 11.66-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin - US$ 421,501
    6) 10.41-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri Lanka origin - US$ 182,500


    List of the above alexandrites arranged in descending order of price-per-carat values :-
    1) 21.41-carat, cushion- cut alexandrite of Russian origin - PPC value US$ 69,845
    2) 15.58-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin - PPC value US$ 59,979
    3) 19.05-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin PPC value US$ 50,362
    4) 11.66-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Brazilian origin - PPC value US$ 36,149
    5) 18.23-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri lanka origin - PPC value US$ 30,554
    6) 10.41-carat, cushion-cut alexandrite of Ceylon/Sri Lanka origin - PPC value US$ 17,531

    Any alexandrite over 10 carats in weight is beyond rare. The alexandrite highlighted by gemlite is more than double this limit, which further enhances its rarity. Alexandrites of Russian origin are extremely rare and almost non-existent today. Premium values are attached to these rare Russian alexandrites, if their Russian origin can be established beyond any doubt. This explains, the record-breaking price of US$ 1,495,395 realized by the 21.41-carat Russian alexandrite at the Christie's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale held on May 14, 2014. The price-per-carat value achieved by this alexandrite is US$ 69,845.

    Thanks rashid for your very intelligent question on the possibility of gem-testing laboratories branding any light-red to dark-pink corundum as "Pink Sapphire" after having established the country-of-origin of the corundum as Ceylon/Sri Lanka. Frankly speaking this is a possibility as no proper guidelines exist to distinguish between a light-red ruby and a dark-pink sapphire. As Richard W.Hughes has pointed out in his book "Ruby & Sapphire" as there is no sharp distinction between ruby and pink sapphires, a ridiculous situation has arisen which has led to stones being brought to labs solely to determine if they are rubies or pink sapphires !!!

    Thanks gemlite for your valuable contribution.


    The extensive account of rubies found in Sri Lanka in the 14th-century, by Ibn Batuta, establishes the fact that Sri Lanka was the primary source of rubies in the world since very ancient times, until the discovery of Mogok rubies in the 16th-century. Batuta stresses the fact that the ruby and carbuncle were found only in Sri Lanka. Batuta's observations that most women in Sri Lanka wore strands of ruby beads on their hands and legs; the white elephant adorned with seven large rubies each of which was larger than a hen's egg; a saucer made of rubies belonging to the king in which oil of aloe was kept, seem to indicate that at one time rubies were found in abundance in the island nation, though now they are very scarce due to continuous exploitation. However, some of these rubies might well have been red spinels also found abundantly in the island. In Badakhshan, in Afghanistan, most of the large red gemstones believed to be rubies at first were subsequently shown to be red spinels. The difference between rubies and spinels became apparent only during the 18th-century, though in countries like Sri Lanka with an ancient cutting and polishing industry, such differences might have been known by ancient cutters and polishers, from the hardness of the two materials, evident from the ease of cutting and polishing the two variety's of gemstones.

    An examination of the above excerpt by even the most casual reader shows clearly that interwoven into the tales and fables, are real geographical facts, such as the 4th-paragraph, about Serendib (Sri Lanka) being situated on the equinoctial line, with days and nights being equal in length. The mountain in the middle of the island is a reference to Adam's Peak, the place to which Adam was banished out of paradise, according to ancient Islamic beliefs. The city at the end of a beautiful valley, probably refers to the city of Ratnapura, the "City of Gems." The reference to rubies and other precious stones in the land surrounding Adam's peak, is a reference to the Kalu Ganga basin, the first source of rubies and sapphires in the world, before the discovery of Mogok rubies in the 16th-century. The reference to rare plants growing abundantly is also very accurate, as the Adam's Peak Wilderness, a recently declared World Heritage Site is famous for its extremely rare plant species, some of which are endogenous to the region. Divers seeking for pearls on the seashore, and at the mouths of rivers, is also an accurate reference to the pearl beds situated closer to the mouths of rivers such as Kala Oya and Aruvil Aru in the Bay of Kondatchchy in the Gulf of Mannar, just below the Mannar island.


    The King of Serendib, before whom walk a thousand elephants, also seem to be a fairly accurate statement, as remnants of such Royal processions take place to this day in Sri Lanka, such as the internationally renowned Kandy Perehera, organized by the "Temple of the Tooth" annually, in which hundreds of elephants adorned with lavish garments, and colorfully decorated and illuminated with electric bulbs, take part, walking in procession before the king, represented presently by the "Diyawadene Nilame" of the "Temple of the Tooth."


    Among the gifts sent by the king of Serendib, to Caliph Harun-al-Rashid was a goblet carved out of a huge ruby, an obvious reference to a large non gem-quality corundum crystal, usually employed for carvings. The ruby goblet full of high-quality Sri Lankan pearls, was among the valuable gifts sent to the Caliph. The description of State processions, with the king riding on the back of an elephant preceded by men on horseback clad in gold brocade and silk appears to be fairly accurate.

    Thanks AnitaP for your contribution on the ancient history of Ceylon as an important source of natural pearls and gemstones such as rubies, sapphires and beryls. More recent evidence from the 7th to 9th century A.D.comes from the tales of Sinbad the Sailor, whose seven voyages are believed to have taken place during the reign of Caliph Haroun al-Rashid (786-809 A.D.). Interwoven into these tales and fables are real geographical facts and valuable information about the natural resources of the countries of the East, such as India and Sri Lanka. Sindbad's 6th voyage was to the Island of Serendib (Land of Rubies), as the Island of Ceylon was then known to the Arabs.
    The following excerpt from an article titled "Sindbad in Serendib" written by Richard Boyle, and published in Serendib Magazine, Vol. 17, No. 4 makes interesting reading :-

    Sindbads sixth voyage was to Serendib, as the island of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) was then known to the Arabs. This voyage ended in disaster, when monsoon winds drove his ship towards the base of a mountain rising sheer from the sea. The ship was dashed to pieces, but the crew managed to scramble to safety. In some versions of the story, this mountain is described as a lodestone, or magnetic rock. Many ancient writers referred to a magnetic rock in the Indian Ocean and told of how ships with iron fastenings were attracted to it. Palladius, in the fourth century, even advised that vessels sailing for Serendib should be fastened with wooden pegs.


    With no possibility of scaling the mountain, Sindbad and his shipmates abandoned themselves to their fate. Soon they started to die of tropical fever. Sindbad discovered a river that flowed out of sight beneath a rocky archway. Exploring further, he saw that the area around this subterranean river was encrusted with diamonds, rubies and emeralds. After burying the last of his companions, Sindbad built a raft, collected some of the gems and floated off into the darkness of the tunnel. Hours of perilous travel passed. He fell asleep and later awoke to find himself in a beautiful country surrounded by friendly-looking people.


    Sindbad awoke after his river journey to find himself surrounded by Serendibian farmers who had come to irrigate their fields. On hearing his adventures, the farmers insisted that he be presented to their king, so they all set off to the City of Serendib. The king proved to be so delighted with Sindbads adventures that he ordered them written in letters of gold and placed in the archives. Sindbad was provided with a chamber inside the palace and a retinue of slaves. He had an audience with the king every day; the rest of the time he amused himself by touring the city and countryside. His description of the island has recognizable elements.


    Serendib being situated on the equinoctial line, the days and nights there are of equal length, the mariner stated. The chief city is placed at the end of a beautiful valley, formed by the highest mountain, which is in the middle of the island. I had the curiosity to ascend to its very summit, for this was the place to which Adam was banished out of Paradise. Here are found rubies and many precious things, and rare plants grow abundantly. On the seashore and at the mouths of rivers, divers seek for pearls.


    But Sindbad soon grew homesick and requested the king to allow him to return to Baghdad. Eventually the king consented and entrusted Sindbad with a royal present and letter for Haroun al-Rashid. The kings letter was written in blue characters upon a rare parchment. It began: The King of Serendib, before whom walk a thousand elephants, who lives in a palace, of which the roof blazes with a hundred thousand rubies, to the Caliph Haroun al-Rashid, sends greetings. Though the offering we present to you is unworthy of your notice, we pray you accept it as a token of our esteem and friendship for you.


    The royal gift was anything but unworthy of notice. It consisted of a fabulous goblet, or grail, carved from a huge ruby and lined with the choicest pearls, and an enormous snake skin with spots the size of a large coin, which would preserve from sickness all those who slept on it. Then there were large quantities of aloes wood and camphor. Lastly, there was a beautiful slave girl who shone like the moon.
    On his return to Baghdad, Sindbad conveyed these gifts to the caliph, who demanded to know whether the king of Serendib was really as rich and powerful as he claimed to be. Nothing can equal the magnificence of the kings palace, replied Sindbad. For state processions a throne is set for him upon a huge elephant. On this elephants neck sits an officer, his golden lance in hand, and behind him another bearing a great mace of gold, at the top of which is an emerald as long as my hand. A thousand men on horseback clad in gold brocade and silk go before him.


    The caliph was well satisfied with Sindbads report and sent him home. It was not long, however, before the caliph summoned Sindbad and commanded him to deliver a letter and present to the king of Serendib. Reluctant though he was, Sindbad set out on his seventh and last voyage. He sailed uneventfully to Serendib, was greeted by the king with great joy and displayed the caliphs gifts. They included a sumptuous bed with gold hangings, 50 robes of rich embroidery, an agate goblet carved with an archer aiming at a lion and a priceless table that had once belonged to King Solomon.

    Thanks Sunil for enlightening us on the use of the word "Ruby" in ancient and modern times.
    Ruby and Sapphire were considered as different minerals in ancient times. It was only in 1802 that the French mineralogist Count de Bouron showed by chemical analysis that Ruby and Sapphire belonged to the same group of minerals called Corundum, and were actually crystalline forms of Aluminium oxide. He showed that different colors in Corundum was caused by some of the Aluminium atoms in the Corundum crystal being displaced by atoms of different transition elements. The red color of rubies were shown to be caused by chromium and iron atoms displacing some of the aluminum atoms in the crystal lattice of aluminum oxide. The different colors of sapphires on the other hand were shown to be caused by other transition elements, such as titanium and iron causing different shades of blue; vanadium causing purple color; iron causing yellow and green; nickel causing green; iron and vanadium causing orange; chromium and iron causing the pinkish orange of Padparadscha and white caused by the absence of any transition element.
    The cause of the red color in rubies is chromium, which displaces some of the aluminum atoms in the crystal lattice of aluminum oxide, that constitutes the mineral corundum. Burma and Sri Lanka rubies contain only chromium as the color inducing agent, but the Thai rubies also contain iron in addition to chromium, which imparts a darker red color to the rubies with a brownish or purplish overtone.
    The various shades of red color in rubies including the lighter shades such as pink color, are caused by different concentrations of chromium in the corundum. Higher the concentration of chromium darker the shade of red. Lower the concentration of chromium lighter the shade of red (pink).
    As Sunil rightly pointed out all shades/hues of red color in corundum including pink were known as rubies prior to the onset of 20th-century. However, it appears that the terms "Red Ruby" and "Pink Ruby" had been used in the past to differentiate between the two. An extract from an article published by J.F. Stewart in the "Ceylon Observer" on June 11,1855, titled "Gems and Gem Searching in Saffaragam" in Sri Lanka, depicts the use of the term "Pink ruby" in the 19th-century.


    "The Pink-ruby is a beautiful stone and seldom met with. It is by some prized equally with the ruby. It is of a light ruby colour with a strong dash of pink in it. This is likewise rarely found without blemish. It sells well when defectless, both among Europeans and Asiatics."

    The following comment by Harry Emmanuel in 1873, shows the range of hues of red color that were considered as rubies :-


    "The colour of the ruby varies from the lightest rose-tint to the deepest carmine. Those too dark or too light are not esteemed"


    One of the first references to "Pink Sapphire" can be seen in the following comment by G.F.Herbert Smith, mineralogist and gemmologist, and former "Keeper of Minerals" and Secretary of the British Museum, in his book - Gemstones and Their Distinctive Characters - published in 1912 :-


    "The tint of the red stones varies considerably in depth; jewelers term them, when pale, pink sapphires, but, of course, no sharp distinction can be drawn between them and rubies."


    The ambiguities and lack of a sharp distinction between rubies and pink sapphires expressed by Herbert Smith in 1912, persists to this day. The controversy still continues.
    Richard W.Hughes, the foremost authority on rubies and sapphires in the world and author of the book "Ruby and Sapphire" comments on the on-going controversy as follows :-


    We don’t have this problem with blue sapphires; light or deep blue, they are still blue sapphires. So why not label all red corundum ruby, regardless of depth or intensity, just as was done prior to the 20th century? This would eliminate the above problem.
    In 1989, the International Colored Gemstone Association (ICA) adopted just such nomenclature. Unfortunately, the powerful American market continues to use the term pink sapphire, leading producing countries both by the nose and all of us into needless problems.


    In the United States a minimum color saturation must be met for a gemstone to be classified as a Ruby, otherwise the stone will be called a pink sapphire. However, what this minimum color saturation is, has not been clearly defined, and the ambiguity still persists.


    Thanks Yousuf and rashid for your contribution. Rashid, your suggestion that the size of the blue sapphires might be related to the large disparity in ppc values between sapphire No.1 and the average ppc values of sapphires 2 to 6, is absolutely in order. Top-quality Sri Lanka blue sapphires fetch impressive prices only when the carat-weight of the stone exceeds 100 carats, as sapphire no.1, weighing 102.61 carats that sold for a staggering US$ 4,203,118, the highest price ever fetched by a Sri Lanka blue sapphire at an auction. Smaller Ceylon blue sapphires in the range of 10-25 carats as sapphires 2 to 6, fetch much lower prices in the range of US$ 100,000 or less, as prices recorded by these sapphires reveal.
    This is in total contrast to Kashmir blue sapphires, the highest quality blue sapphires in the world, and the standard against which blue sapphires from other sources are compared. Kashmir sapphires in general are smaller in size. Most of the Kashmir sapphires are less than 50 carats in weight. A Kashmir sapphire weighing around 50 carats is an extreme rarity. However, in spite of their smaller size, Kashmir sapphires command premium prices, such as the 19.88-carat, cushion-cut, "Star of Kashmir" sapphire that sold for a staggering US$ 3,484,102 at Christie's Geneva Sale on May 15, 2013 and the 21.42-carat, cushion-cut, Kashmir sapphire that sold for US$ 3,231,584 at Sotheby's Geneva Sale on November 13, 2013. Ceylon sapphires of comparative weight will not fetch more than US$ 100,000, whatever the quality of the sapphires might be. This is still related to market ranking based on origin, as reported by Richard Hughes in his book "Ruby & Sapphire."

    Thanks Mike for your contribution, and thanks Joan for the question you have raised. It's rather a difficult question to answer as important criteria that determines the value of a sapphire apart from the carat weights of the stones, such as color, cut and clarity can be derived only from the images uploaded. Color is the primary factor that determines the value of a blue sapphire. An ideal sapphire should have an intense rich blue color, without being dark or inky. Stones which are too dark and inky or too light in color are less highly valued. The accuracy of the color of the images displayed above is only accurate as the color calibration of the computer monitor on which these images are displayed. Given these limitations, the color of the blue sapphires in lots 23 appear to have a desirable intense violet-blue color, which is not too dark or inky. The blue sapphire in lot 39 has a less-intense but a desirable medium-blue color. The blue color of the cabochon sapphire in lot 25, appears to be a medium-blue color, closer to the color of lot 39. Hence, the color of the cabochon sapphire appears to be a desirable blue color, though not an optimum, and hence was not responsible for depreciating its value.


    However, color distribution and saturation also can have an effect on the price of the blue sapphire. An ideal situation would be an evenly distributed saturated blue color as opposed to undesirable color patches or zones, that can drastically reduce the value of a stone. A close-up of the cabochon-cut blue sapphire shows that the blue color is not evenly distributed, and there are patches of intense and less-intense blue in the stone. This may be one of the principal factors responsible for depreciating the value of the cabochon sapphire. On the contrary, the blue color in the other two sapphires appear to be saturated and fairly evenly distributed enhancing their value.


    Another factor that might have had a bearing on the price of the sapphire is its cut and clarity. For blue sapphires cuts such as oval, round, cushion are quite popular, but one might come across other cuts such as emerald, heart, pear etc. Cabochon-cut is the least favored cut for a blue sapphire. Cabochon-cut is the only cut used in star sapphires. In blue sapphires cabochon-cut is employed for stones that are not clean enough to facet. As far as clarity is concerned eye-clean clarity is the maximum one expects in a blue sapphire. In the case of some sapphires like Kashmir sapphires, extremely fine silk throughout the stone responsible for the velvety-blue color, can actually enhance the value of the stone. We are not sure of the clarity of this cabochon-cut blue sapphire, but as already stated the cut would have been employed in the first place because the rough stone was not clean enough for faceting. This explains the lower price recorded by this stone, in spite of the fact that the sapphire weighs an impressive 95.67 carats.

    To give a start to this thread let us first include the impressive Ceylon/Sri Lanka blue sapphire, cushion-cut, with a saturated even blue color and extraordinary clarity, weighing 102.61 carats, the centerpiece of an "Impressive and Rare Sapphire and Diamond Necklace" that appeared at the Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Spring Sale, held on April 7, 2014, and sold for US$ 4,203,118, the highest price achieved by a Sri Lanka blue sapphire at an auction, and the 3rd-highest price achieved by blue sapphire single stone at an auction.

    Let us include the two main Burma/Mogok sapphires already considered under the thread - Hill's Kashmir Sapphire - to give a start to this thread. It is hoped that this thread would help to bring out most of the Burma/Mogok blue sapphires that appeared at public auctions previously and would appear in the future.


    1) 62.02-carat, rectangular step-cut Burma/Mogok sapphire, known as the Rockefeller Sapphire, that sold at a Christie's New York auction on April 11, 2001 for USD 3,031,000.
    2) 114.73-carat, oval-cut, Burma blue sapphire that sold for USD 7,137,821 at Sotheby's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale, held on November 13, 2013.

    This is a dedicated thread for significant Ceylon/Sri Lanka blue sapphires appearing at public auctions. The need to have separate threads for blue sapphires from the three main sources - Kashmir, Burma/Mogok and Ceylon/Sri Lanka was felt because of the large numbers of significant blue sapphires from these sources appearing at public auctions. It is hoped that this would generate more lively discussion about sapphires from the three main sources.

    Considering the large numbers of blue sapphires from the main sources, Kashmir, Burma and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) appearing at public auctions, we felt it would be more appropriate for each of these categories to have their separate threads, to stimulate further discussion. Hence, the decision to create a separate thread for significant Burma/Mogok blue sapphires appearing at public auctions.