Exquisite and Very Fine Sapphire and Diamond Ring, Van Cleef & Arpels
- Van Cleef & Arpels
- Sapphire, Diamond, 18K White Gold
The celebrated sapphires of Kashmir hail from a remote region high in the Great Himalayan Mountains of northwestern India. The original mines were discovered as a result of a landslide in the early 1880s in the remote Kudi valley, which exposed a deposit of gem-quality sapphires. This sparked a period of intense mining. The mines operated for a mere seven years, for the durations of approximately three months a year, due to the harsh weather conditions and high altitude. By 1887, the original mine’s resources had been depleted and a second mine, located one hundred meters to the south, was opened but with comparatively disappointing yields.
Kashmir sapphires represent utmost rarity, making up a small fraction of the world’s sapphire supply. Scarcity is only part of the allure of Kashmir sapphires. Unique to these stones is a softness of colour that can only be described as “velvety”. The beauty of this rich and intense blue colour, that is both captivating and electric, surpasses that of sapphires from any other part of the world.
For the past few years, Sotheby’s has been at the forefront of overseeing record-breaking sales of Kashmir sapphires worldwide, steered by the Richlieu Sapphires sold at Sotheby’s Geneva in November 2013, shortly followed by the 28.18 carat Oscar & Heyman sapphire ring in early 2014 at Sotheby’s New York.
The cabochon offered here is of a rich, luxurious blue, velvety colour, epitomizing the peak of the Kashmir mine’s output.
Since its founding in 1896, the Maison has been inspired by the unique creative energy of love, for it was love which brought Van Cleef & Arpels into being. Estelle Arpels – the daughter of a dealer in precious stones, married Alfred Van Cleef, the son of a stone-cutter in 1895. The young couple, having much in common, founded the Maison of Van Cleef & Arpels and opened their new boutique in Paris’ Place Vendôme in 1906.
Over the years that followed, they succeeded in making Van Cleef & Arpels synonymous with the most exquisite jewellery in the world. Through important pieces such as this ring, the love which first brought Estelle and Alfred together lives on to this day.