The best Rhodolite garnets are truly amazing to see. Especially in the bigger sizes. The stone in the photo is a 44+ carat amazing gem. This particular stone was mined in Sri Lanka which produces some unexpected gem varieties in its gem gravels. “Gem gravels” you say? Yes, lots of the gems found in Sri Lanka are in alluvial deposits where the stones are truly in gravel form and all rounded and stream worn.
From Sri Lanka we’ve obtained many different types of gems: Star Sapphires (both blue and pink), Rhodolite garnets, Cat’s-eye chrysoberyl, Alexandrite, Blue sapphire, Pink sapphire, “Common” chrysoberyl, Cat’s-eye alexandrite, Andalusite, Yellow sapphire, and Spessartite (garnet). Not bad for a little Island down at the tip of India.
One more thing. A couple of the meals we’ve experienced in Sri Lanka were some of the best anywhere in a long lifetime of world travel. Our first Chai tea experience was in Sri Lanka in 1981. They are ahead of their time!
The photo we’ve included in this posting is a good example of a really great sapphire. What makes is so beautiful and appreciated the world around? First of all there is what it is not. It is not so pale a color that we would say “who cares?” Secondly, the photo shows a stone that is not so dark that we would say “who cares?” What we are showing in the photo is a “Goldilocks” sapphire that is “just right” when it comes to depth of color. Not too dark, not to light. Next we have a stone that is not hampered by a lot of eye visible inclusions. The gem in the photo is relatively “clean” and flaw free. The combination of a just right color and good clarity give us the opportunity of seeing nice reflections off of the back facets while we are looking down into the stone from the top. The gem in the photo is relatively well cut and that is another reason we’re getting some nice reflections off the back facets. Color, clarity and cut…3 out of the 4 “C’s”. The only thing left is the size (weight in carats). Well, we’ll leave that to the imagination this time….Is it 1 carat, 5 carats, 50 carats? Might as well dream………
Fitting into the theme of world records being set for gems and jewelry the spring auction late in April by Sotheby’s saw a new per-carat record for a sapphire. The gem is recorded as being a 28+ carat Kashmir gem. According to the auction house the proceeds of the sale are going to charity. With a total price exceeding $5 million USD the per-carat price was over $180,000.
In the lore of colored gemstones Kashmir sapphire is the bench mark. The purity of the blue in Kashmir stones is indeed stunning. Traditionally the Kashmir stones are said to have slight haze but that seems to vary from piece to piece. After spending months maybe years of my life in Thailand (ruby/sapphire central for the world) and seeing gem after gem I would have to say that a fine Burmese sapphire can be every bit as lovely. Some traditionalists may want to disagree but that is just fine. To a true lover of gems they are all like a family—each member is wonderful on their own and for their own unique characteristics.
For instance, about 10 years ago or perhaps a few more there were some fabulous blue sapphires from Madagascar which were certified as untreated. Many of these gems were absolutely stunning. A great Ceylon stone is also beautiful. In fact many of the most famous sapphires are Ceylon stones residing in the important state collections of the world.
In addition to the Greek word mentioned in our last year’s blog post about sapphires, the Latin word “Saphirus” also means blue. With so many words in English having either a Greek or a Latin origin, it’s no wonder that with both Green and Latin having a sound-alike name for sapphire, that we wound up with “sapphire” in the English language.
Blue corundum called sapphire has been collected by many over the centuries. Let’s take a look at some famous ‘Saphirus’ together…
Sapphire is a lot bigger subject than might be thought by the casual observer. For many years, many people thought sapphire was simply that very dark blue stone in small sizes offered by most jewelry stores as the September birthstone. Sapphire is certainly that, but ever so much more…