These Kashmir sapphires are sensational in their saturated color, their transparency and their velvety surface. This balance is obtained by the presence of various impurities in the crystal of corundum : tourmaline, pragasite, zircon, allanite, biotite, garnet and even a natural radioactive tracer, the uraninite. Such a mixing is unique and allows to certify the origin of a sapphire without any information about its history.
Back to the early 1880s. The deposit that had been recently laid bare by a landslide is located in a valley of high altitude that required a week of approach walk. The value of these gems is not immediately understood but the local maharajah is able to control the extraction. In 1888, a geologist delegated by the maharajah finds that the vein is already depleted.
This ephemeral mine produced some big sapphires that reach their whole splendor through an emerald shaped cut in a circle of diamonds. One of them weighing 28.18 carats was sold for $ 5.1 million including premium by Sotheby's on April 29, 2014.
Another sapphire in a similar fashioning is named The Jewel of Kashmir. It weighs 27.68 carats and is estimated HK $ 48M for sale by Sotheby's in Hong Kong on October 7, lot 1860. Nature achieved the perfect balance between velvety and transparency, in a stunning royal blue hue altogether homogeneous and saturated.