Hill's Kashmir Sapphire

  • Happy indeed to take part in your forums after a long lapse.


    A Kashmir sapphire ring featured at Christie's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels Sale on June 2, 2015, the auction that has gone down on record as the most valuable jewelry auction ever held in Asia, achieving a sale total of US$117,892,325 and three auction records. The Kashmir sapphire set the world auction record for the highest price-per-carat value achieved at a public auction of US$ 240,204. The ring assigned lot 2036 and referred to as "An Extremely Rare Sapphire And Diamond Ring," had a pre-sale estimate of US$ 1,658,998 ­ - 2,332,966 and sold slightly above the upper estimate for US$ 2,481,316. The sapphire set in the ring is circular-cut, with a richly saturated, medium-deep, violetish-blue color, weighing 10.33 carats and supported by two lab reports by SSEF and GGL, certifying the Kashmir origin of the sapphire with no evidence of heat enhancement.

  • Just two weeks after the Christie's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels Sale held on June 2, 2015, another significant Kashmir Sapphire appeared at the Christie's New York Important Jewels Sale held on June 16, 2015. The sapphire known as the "Kelly Sapphire" is a magnificent sapphire and diamond ring by Cartier, from the Collection of Margaret Adderley Kelly wife of William Russel Kelly, founder of Kelly Services Inc. The Kelly Sapphire Ring which was lot 232 at the auction had a pre-sale estimate of USD 1.5 - 2.0 million placed on it. However, the lot sold for a much enhanced price of USD 4,197,000 which was 2.8 times the lower estimate and 2.1 times the upper estimate. The Cartier platinum ring is claw-set with the Kelly Sapphire, a 21.71-carat, cushion-cut Kashmir blue sapphire, flanked on either side by a trapeze-shaped diamond, and square-cut diamonds on the hoop of the ring. AGL and GGL certified the Kashmir origin of the sapphire, with no evidence of heat enhancement. The price-per-carat value achieved by the sapphire was USD 193,321, which becomes the 4th-highest price-per-carat value achieved by a Kashmir sapphire, when incorporated into the list above.

  • Happy to be back again !

    I discovered that a second significant Kashmir sapphire set in a platinum ring appeared at the same Christie's New York sale as the Kelly Sapphire. This sapphire set in a "Fine Sapphire And Diamond Ring" was lot no. 118 at the auction. The lot sold within the pre-sale estimate of USD 950,000 - USD 1,250,000 for a hammer price of USD 1,145,000. The sapphire is a 9.97-carat, cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire, with a richly saturated, very deep "Royal Blue" color. AGL and GGL certify the Kashmir origin of the sapphire, with no indication of heat enhancement. The price-per-carat value of the sapphire works out to USD 114,844, which when placed in the above list becomes the 15th-highest ppc-value for a Kashmir sapphire.

  • Welcome back to our forums, Mikegem and gemlite, and thanks for your contributions. Kashmir sapphires are still making headlines at public auctions and setting new world records. Its interesting indeed to watch how these rare creations of nature are gaining value day by day, a clear indication of the esteem in which these sapphires are held by connoisseurs and collectors.

  • Hi Lareef, thanks for keeping this important thread on Kashmir sapphires going.
    I stumbled upon an interesting Kashmir sapphire lot at Christie's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Sale, held on June 2, 2015. I don't know whether to call it a Kashmir sapphire lot or a Ceylon sapphire lot. The lot was a David Webb creation, an 18k yellow gold ring, mounted with a cabochon blue sapphire weighing 23.35 carats and highlighted by a navette-shaped, old-European cut diamond surround. The lot had a pre-sale estimate of US$ 45,363 - 71,285, but sold slightly above the upper estimate for US$ 97,129.
    What was puzzling about this lot was that it was accompanied by two contradictory lab reports by SSEF (Swiss Gemological Institute and AGL (American Gem Laboratories). While SSEF stated that the sapphire was of Ceylon origin, AGL on the other hand opined that it was of Kashmir origin. What is the explanation for these contradictory reports by two renowned gem testing laboratories in the world ?

  • Thanks Mikegem for your sharp observation. We have discussed this problem extensively on October 22, 2012, in reply to a question raised by one of our regular participants on this forum, AnitaP, why some renowned gem testing laboratories like the GIA do not issue Country-of-origin reports on any gemstones including sapphires. (Please refer to page 1 of this thread on Hill's Kashmir Sappire).


    During that discussion it was pointed out that despite the advances in science and technology and the availability of advanced analytical methods, making use of modern tools and state-of-the-art equipment such as the Ultra Violet-Visible-Near Infrared spectrometer (UV-ViS-NIR) , the Raman spectroscope, Photo-Acoustic Spectroscopy (PAS), Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FT-IR), Energy-dispersive X-ray Fluorescence (ED-XRF), Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscope (LIBS), Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (LA-ICP-MS), and the Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), only a success rate of around 80% has been achieved in the relatively new field of Geographic Origin Determination. The geographic origin of a given sapphire is determined by collecting all relevant data on the sapphire, such as the nature of the inclusions, optical properties, growth characteristics if any, the nature and concentration of trace elements etc. and comparing it with the properties of a reference sapphire collection, in a database maintained by the Laboratory, containing a sufficiently high number of samples from commercially relevant mining areas and deposits worldwide which include reference stones from exhausted mines or deposits where production has ceased. AGL maintains one of the largest reference databases in the world, consisting data of over 10,000 samples collected from gem mines and deposits situated around the world.

    However, there are factors that can complicate Geographic Origin Determination, such as :- 1) Heat treatment that can alter the chemistry of gemstones (Eg. the distinctive color zoning seen in sapphires from Andranondambo, Madagascar, becomes significantly less distinct when the stones are heated); 2) Non-uniformity of characteristics of sapphires even from different areas of the same deposit 3) Discovery of new locations bringing hitherto unknown new materials into the market; 4) the need to maintain a sample of stones that remains current. eg. data collected from one of the best sample populations of Ceylon blue sapphires 20 years ago may not be valid today, and has to be continuously updated from time to time. Since Geographic/Country-of-origin of a gemstone is based more on expert opinion than on conclusive evidence, there is a tendency for labs to differ occasionally, when issuing reports on the same sapphire. Sometimes when too many ambiguities arise, the labs may issue a tentative opinion or no opinion at all. All these difficulties come within the failure rate or negative identification of 20%.


    I hope, this explains the discrepancy observed by Mikegem, that the 23.35-carat, cabochon blue sapphire is of Ceylon origin according to the Swiss Gemological Institute, but of Kashmir origin according to American Gem Laboratories. I am sure it was because of this discrepancy that the fairly large and attractive cabochon blue sapphire was assigned a pre-sale estimate within the range of values of Ceylon blue sapphires US$ 45,363 - 71,285 and sold for a slightly enhanced value of US$ 97,129 or ppc-value of only US$ 4,160.

  • Thanks Lareef for your detailed answer. According to you, it is the discrepancy of two contradictory reports that led Christie's to assign a lower pre-sale estimate to the cabochon blue sapphire ring. Does it not mean that by assigning a lower pre-sale estimate Christie's had implicitly accepted the SSEF report and rejected the AGL report ?

  • Well I don't think it means that. Both SSEF and AGL are internationally recognized gem testing laboratories in the world, with the latest state-of-the-art equipment at their disposal and a massive reference database on sapphires from around the world. The contradictory reports on the same blue sapphire by two recognized laboratories is a very rare occurrence and as I said earlier this comes within the failure rate or negative identification of 20%. The contradictory reports no doubt contributed to the sapphire being assigned a lower pre-sale estimate than that usually assigned to Kashmir sapphires. However, if the owner of the sapphire ring had sought a third opinion from another recognized laboratory, and if this lab too had confirmed that the sapphire was of Kashmir origin, things would have worked out in a different way.

  • Another Kashmir sapphire lot that appeared at the same Christie's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Sale, held on June 2, 2015, that set the world record for price-per-carat for Kashmir sapphires of US$ 240,204, is lot 2032. The lot titled an "Important Sapphire and Diamond Ring," is a platinum ring of size 6, set with a cushion-cut Kashmir blue sapphire weighing 9.13 carats, flanked by tapered baguette-cut diamonds. Two lab reports by SSEF and GGL state that the 9.13-carat sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heat enhancement. An appendix accompanying the report states that the sapphire has a richly saturated and homogeneous color, combined with a high degree of transparency and well-proportioned-cut. A pre-sale estimate of USD 842,460 - USD 1,231,287 was placed on this lot, which sold within the estimated range for USD 1,061,941, working out to a ppc-value of USD 116,313.

  • Welcome guys! it's nice to be back after a long break.
    I just came across two Kashmir sapphires that featured at Sotheby's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels & Jadeite Sale - April 06, 2015.
    These are lots 1915 and 1707.

    Lot 1915 contains a medium-sized, cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire weighing 11.21 carats mounted on a size 6 platinum ring and created a significant impact by becoming the 3rd highest selling lot of the sale, registering a hammer price of HKD 16.28 million (USD 2,099,794), which was above the estimated range of HKD 12-15 million (USD 1,547,760 — 1,934,700). The PPC-value of this Kashmir sapphire works out to US$ 187,314. As at April 06, 2015 this Kashmir sapphire has the 3rd highest ppc-value according to your list above.
    Lot 1707 is another Kashmir sapphire ring, but contains a much smaller sapphire weighing only 3.55 carats and sold for HKD 1,750,000 (US$ 225,715), slightly above the estimated range of HKD 1,400,000 — 1,600,000 (US$ 180,572 - 206,368).The ppc-value of this sapphire works out to US$ 63,581.The oval-cut sapphire was the centerpiece of a 18k white gold cluster ring, surrounded by eight oval diamonds and embellished by circular-cut diamonds extending to the shoulders.