For the past few years, Sotheby’s had been in the forefront overseeing record-breaking sales of Kashmir sapphires worldwide, steered by The Richelieu Sapphires in 2013 and then the 28.18 carat Oscar & Heyman sapphire ring in early 2014. In October 2014, Sotheby’s Hong Kong achieved consecutive per-carat price records for Kashmir sapphires - first with the 12.00 carat Cartier sapphire ring at US$193,975 per carat, and then with a 17.16 carat sapphire at US$236,404. This happened only months before the current per-carat auction record was set at US$240,205 in June 2015, a testimony to the insatiable desire for sapphires of this prestigious pedigree.
The fascination for Kashmir sapphires is not difficult to explain. Their unsurpassed colour is one of their most captivating attributes that is immediate visible to the eye. Its unique blue so soft and velvety, yet rich and lustrous, which charms under any kind of light, unlike non-Kashmir stones which may appear purplish or grayish in comparison. Scarcity is another factor that adds to their value and charm. The original Kashmir mines were discovered due to a landslide in the early 1880s and were operated only for seven years and approximately three months per year due to high altitude and extreme weather conditions. By 1887, the original mines were depleted and though a new mine in its proximity were sporadically mined over the next few decades, most of the sizeable Kashmir sapphires found on the market today were unearthed in the ephemeral ‘old mines’.
With a source that is essentially non-existent, Kashmir sapphires represent utmost rarity, making up just a very tiny part of the world’s sapphire supply. This 27.68 carat sapphire, free from any treatment, shows an attractive velvety blue colour characteristic of extremely fine specimens from these mythical mines. Paired with a cutting style that was made possible only by an impeccable rough of substantial size and superb quality, it is truly a remarkable find. Such a rare treasure stands for the highest standard in any gem connoisseur’s delectable collection, and it is no doubt one of the most desirable sapphires offered at international auctions.
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