Significant Burma/Mogok Blue Sapphires that appeared at public auctions

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Several blue sapphires from the three main sources - Kashmir, Burma and Ceylon - appeared at the Sotheby's Magnificent Jewels Sale held in Geneva, on November 13, 2013. Some of the Burma sapphires which I was able to extract from the catalogue are lots 23, 25, and 39.
    Lot 23 - A Pair of Sapphire and Diamond Earclips- was a stunning piece that sold for US$ 129,427, much above the pre-sale estimate of US$ 50,136 - 79,564. The centerpiece of one ear-clip was an oval-cut Burma sapphire weighing 7.57 carats and the centerpiece of the other ear-clip a cushion-shaped Burma blue sapphire, weighing 6.85 carats. The sapphires are surrounded by round brilliant-cut and marquise-cut diamonds.
    Lot 25 - A Sapphire and Diamond Ring - sold for a modest 27,248 USD still above the pre-sale estimate of 13,079 - 19,619 USD. The centerpiece of this ring was a 95.67-carat, oval cabochon-cut Burma sapphire. The sapphire is collet-set within a frame of brilliant-cut diamonds.
    Lot 39 - A Sapphire and Diamond Ring - sold for USD 61,308 above the pre-sale estimate of 30,518 - 50,136. The centerpiece of this ring is a 13.21-carat, oval-cut Burma blue sapphire, with trillion-cut diamond shoulders.

  • Thanks Mike for your update. The Burma sapphires you have highlighted are indeed very stunning. However, what seem to puzzle me is the relatively higher prices fetched by lots 23 and 39 with sapphires of lesser weight (7.57 carats, 6.85 carats and 13.21 carats) when compared with the price fetched by lot 25, which achieved a modest price of USD 27,248 only, even though it had a much higher carat-weight of 95.67 carats.

  • 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.

  • Two Burma sapphire lots appeared at Christie's New York Rockefeller Plaza, Magnificent Jewels Sale, held on April 11, 2001. These lots are 338 and 302.


    Lot 338 was a Pair of Sapphire and Diamond Ear Pendants. The centeriece of each pendant was a circular-cut Burma blue sapphire, with an open-backed collet setting, that allows entry of light from both sides of the gemstone. The central sapphire is surrounded by collet-set graduated circular-cut diamonds increasing in size towards the bottom and terminating in a large, collet-set, pear-shaped diamond. Each pendant is suspended by a line of collet-set alternating circular-cut diamonds and rectangular-cut sapphires, from a surmount collet-set with a kite-shaped sapphire and circular-cut diamond. AGL certified that all blue sapphires used in the pendants are of Burma origin, with no evidence of heat enhancement. The weights of the blue sapphires in this lot are not provided.The lot sold for a modest US$19,975 above the presale estimate of US$12,000 - $15,000.


    Lot 302 was a Sapphire and Diamond Necklace, made up of graduated polished blue sapphire beads alternating with faceted diamond beads, with a circular-cut diamond clasp, mounted in platinum. A 22.14-carat, briolette-cut Burma blue sapphire is suspended as a pendant from the bead necklace. American Gem Laboratories certified that the briolette-cut sapphire and a random sample of the drilled beads are all of Burma origin, with no evidence of heat enhancement. The lot sold for US$56,400 above the presale estimate of US$30,000 - $40,000.

  • Some Burma sapphire lots that appeared at Christie's New York Rockefeller Plaza Magnificent Jewels Sale held on October 16, 2007 are lots 120, 191, 231 and 249.


    Lot 120, A Sapphire Platinum Ring, was bezel-set with a pyramidal cabochon Burma blue sapphire. The weight of the sapphire is not given, probably because of the difficulty in dismantling the sapphire without damaging the setting. AGL certified the Burma origin of the sapphire without any heat enhancement. The sapphire ring sold for a moderate US$25,000.


    Lot 191, A Sapphire And Diamond Ring was claw-set with a 14.89-carat, cushion-cut, Burma blue sapphire, flanked on either side by a half-moon cut diamond, mounted in platinum. AGTA certified the Burma origin of the blue sapphire with no evidence of heat enhancement. The lot sold above the presale estimate of US$100,000 - $150,000 for US$169,000 giving a price-per-carat value of US$11,350.


    Lot 231 was A Pair of Sapphire and Colored DIamond Flower Ear Clips designed by Carvin French. The centerpiece of each flower brooch is a cushion-cut Burma sapphire weighing 9.37 carats and 10.10 carats. The five 18k yellow-gold petals of each flower brooch is pavé-set with several circular-cut yellow diamonds. AGTA cetified the Burma origin of the blue sapphires with no indications of heat enhancement. The lot sold for US$181,000 between the presale estimate of US$150,000 - $200,000. The price-per-carat works out to US$9,296


    Lot 249 was An Antique Sapphire and Diamond Brooch designed around year 1880. The centerpiece of the brooch was an octagonal-cut Burma sapphire, highlighted by a two-layered white diamond surround. The inner layer consists of 16 old European and old-mine cut white diamonds. The outer layer also consists of 16 diamonds, 8 large pear-shaped diamonds and 8 small circular-cut diamonds, mounted alternately on silver and gold. AGTA certified the Burma origin of the blue sapphire with no indications of heating. The weights of the blue sapphire and diamonds are not given, due to the difficulty of dismantling the gemstones without damaging the antique setting. Despite this the lot sold for a respectable US$193,000 between the estimated range of US$150,000 - $200,000.

  • Two Burmese Blue Sapphire lots appeared at Christie's Jewels : The Hong Kong Sale held on May 26, 2009. These lots are Lot 1653 and Lot 1703.


    Lot 1653 that sold for an impressive US$484,764 was an 18k white gold ring set with a 16.38-carat, cushion-cut, Burma sapphire, flanked by two triangular-shaped diamonds, appropriately titled - An Impressive Sapphire And Diamond Ring. Gubelin Gem Lab certified the Burma origin of the stone without any heat enhancement. The price-per-carat of this blue sapphire works out to US$29,595.


    Lot 1703 was a Pair of Sapphire, Pearl and Diamond Ear-Pendants. Each of the ear-pendants suspends an oval cabochon-cut Burma blue sapphire, weighing 9.06 carats and 8.42 carats, joined to two circular rose-cut diamonds separated by a shperical pearl spacer ending in diamond hooks. GRSL certified the Burma origin of the two sapphires with no indications of thermal enhancement. The lot sold for US$56,707 above the estimated range of US$27,219 - $38,884. The ppc of the blue sapphires works out to US$3,244

  • Lot 61 and Lot 191 are two Burma Sapphire lots that appeared at Christie's Jewels : The Geneva Sale held on May 13, 2009.

    Lot 61, A Sapphire and Diamond Ring, was set with a 10.18-carat, oval-cut Burma blue sapphire, with a floral surround made of eight petals, pave-set with circular-cut diamonds. A GGL report certified the Burmese origin of the stone with no indications of heating. The lot sold for a moderate price of US$45,495 above the estimated range of US$18,106 - $27,158. The price-per-carat value of this Burma sapphire works out to US$4,469.


    Lot 191 was An Important Sapphire And Diamond Ring/Pendant, by Repossi. The centerpiece of this ring was a 33.23-carat, cushion-cut Burma blue sapphire set within a brilliant-cut diamond double surround, mounted in 18k white-gold and platinum. The Sapphire and diamond setting is detachable from the ring, and could be worn as a pendant. Two lab reports by SSEF and GGL certified the Burma origin of the blue sapphire with no indications of heating. The lot sold much above the estimated range of US$226,319 - $280,635 for US$439,484 which works out to a ppc-value of US$13,225.

  • List of Burma blue sapphires considered so far, arranged in descending order of whole stone prices


    1) 114.73-carat, oval-cut, Burma blue sapphire that sold at Sotheby's Geneva Magnificent Jewels Sale, held on November 13, 2013 for US$7,137,821. Price-per-carat USD 62,214.
    2) 62.02-carat, rectangular step-cut Burma/Mogok sapphire, known as the Rockefeller Sapphire, that sold at a Christie's New York auction on April 11, 2001 for USD 3,031,000. Price-per-carat value - US$ 48,871.
    3) 7.57-carat and 6.85-carat, cushion-cut Burma blue sapphires from a matching pair of sapphire and diamond earclips that sold for US$ 129,427, at Sotheby's Geneva on November 13, 2013. PPC value US$8,975
    4) 13.21-carat, oval-cut Burma blue sapphire that sold for US$61,308 at Sotheby's Geneva on November 13, 2013. PPC value US$4641.
    5) 14.89-carat, cushion-cut, Burma blue sapphire that sold for US$169,000 at Christie's New York Rockefeller Plaza Magnificent Jewels Sale held on October 16, 2007. PPC value US$11,350.
    6) 16.38-carat, cushion-cut, Burma sapphire, that sold for an impressive US$484,764 at Christie's Jewels : The Hong Kong Sale held on May 26, 2009. PPC value US$29,595.
    7) 9.06-carat and 8.42-carat, oval cabochon-cut Burma blue sapphires, set on a matching pair of sapphire ear-pendants that sold for US$56,707 at Christie's Jewels : The Hong Kong Sale held on May 26, 2009. PPC value US$3,244.



    The above list arranged in descending order of price-per-carat values :-

    1) 114.73-carat, oval-cut, Burma blue sapphire - PPC value US$62,214
    2) 62.02-carat, rectangular step-cut Burma/Mogok sapphire, known as the Rockefeller Sapphire. PPC value US$48,871.
    3) ) 16.38-carat, cushion-cut, Burma blue sapphire - PPC value US$29,595.
    4) 14.89-carat, cushion-cut, Burma blue sapphire - PPC value US$11,350.
    5) 7.57-carat and 6.85-carat, cushion-cut BurmPPC value US$4641.a blue sapphires - PPC value US$8,975
    6) 13.21-carat, oval-cut Burma blue sapphire - PPC value US$4641.
    7) 9.06-carat and 8.42-carat, oval cabochon-cut Burma blue sapphires - PPC value US$3,244

  • Three Burma sapphire lots appeared at Christie's Hong Kong Magnificent Jewels Sale held on May 31, 2011. These lots are Lot 3211, Lot 3212 and 3264.


    Lot 3211, titled "A Sapphire And Diamond Ring by Suwa" is set with a cushion-cut Burma sapphire weighing 24.01 carats as its centerpiece, flanked by two shield-shaped diamond shoulders, mounted in platinum. GGL report accompanying the lot certifies the Burmese origin of the sapphire with no indications of heating. A pre-sale estimate of US$451,666 - $671,047 was placed on the ring which was sold within the estimated range for US$544,984. This works out to a ppc-value of US$22,698.


    Lot 3212 was titled "A Pair of Sapphire And Diamond Ear Pendants." The centerpiece of the ear pendants was a pair of matching oval-cut Burma blue sapphires weighing 10.16 and 10.09 carats, within a marquise-cut diamond scalloped surround, and brilliant-cut diamond hooks, mounted in 18k white gold. A GGL report accompanying the lot certified the Burma origin of the two sapphires, with no indications of heating and stating that the hue of the blue color in these sapphires is referred to as "royal blue" in the trade. The lot sold for US$653,465 within the estimated range of US$464,571 - $709,761. This works out to a ppc-value of US$32,270


    Lot 3264, titled "A Sapphire And Diamond Ring" had a pre-sale estimate of US$83,881 - $122,595 but sold below the estimated range for US$64,572, as the lot was offered without reserve. The centerpiece of the ring was a cushion-cut, Burma sapphire weighing 16.96 carats, flanked by trapeze-cut diamonds, mounted in 18k white gold. Two lab reports by SSEF and GRS of Switzerland certified the Burma origin of the sapphires with on indications of thermal treatment. The ppc-value of the sapphire works out to US$3,807.