Kashmir Sapphire- The Precious Gem

Post by SHEREEN NAMAN on Sunday, July 23, 2023
RisingKashmir Magazine

Kashmir sapphire is considered to be one of the most famous gemstones in the world. Kashmir sapphire is so rare that it is hardly ever seen. One exception to this is the appearance of Kashmir sapphires in museums or various photographs. However, the discovery of new sapphires in Kashmir is very rare.

Why is Kashmir sapphire  famous?

Kashmir sapphires are valued as significantly as they are because they contain only the best specimens. These specimens are noted to have a superior cornflower blue tint with a sleepy quality to them. Most describe them as ‘blue velvet’. While some Burmese and Ceylonese sapphires come relatively close in quality with Kashmir sapphires, only Kashmir Sapphire continues its reign of King of the Sapphire World. The extreme rarity of this valuable gemstone surrounds them with an almost mythical allure.

Where do they come from?

Kashmir sapphires descend from a remote part of the Himalayan Mountains known as the Zanskar range. The mines located in the Zanskar range, while widely known for bright, blue sapphires, are also known to produce it. When the Maharaja of Kashmir heard of the presence of the bright blue beautiful sapphires in Zanskar range, he posted guards outside of the mines to protect their value. From the year 1882 to 1887, the mines were worked day and night throughout the summer months until the mines were depleted.

It wasn’t until 1887 that a geologist discovered that the sapphire stones, some as large as eggplants, originated from two separate locations. One location, known as the “Old Mine” included the pits within the valley and a second location which included the valley floor just below the Old Mine.

To access the mine, the journey to begin with is quite dangerous and challenging. The journey started by travelling over the Chenab and Wardwan river to cross a rope bridge which was elevated 11,550 ft in the mountains. The Chenab river ran through deep and quite narrow canyons which made travelling even more difficult. This portion of the trip took five days, even though it was only 24 miles long. The mines have been worked many times since these dates, but few sapphires have been produced as a result.

The rarity of the Kashmir Sapphire

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