Tantalizing famous Sapphire gemstones of Kashmir blue

The Star of Kashmir& diamond ring. www.jewelsdujour.com

Above image: The Star of Kashmir & diamond ring. cushion -shaped sapphire of 19.88 carats, which sold for a world auction record per carat for a sapphire at $175,259 per carat. 
Photo courtesy of Christie’s...........

The very mention of India conjures up images of rich Maharajahs, diamonds, resplendent gemstones, spices and, of course, snake charmers. For several centuries India,which was once a repository of  beryls, pearls, sapphire, rubies, diamonds and other valuable gemstones, had attracted visitors from the European countries for exploration and mercantile trade. Further, Indians in those technology-starved days, knew how to prospect for precious stones and valuable metals, exploit them and finally process, cut and polish them for commercial exploitation. Rubies, sapphires, pearls and diamonds  are normally considered high quality gems called ''Maharatna'' in local parlance. Secondary gems with slightly inferior quality are referred to as ''Uparatna.'' According to ancient Sanskrit text  on gemstones or Navaratna, the nomenclature included various terms depending on the depth and shades of color, inclusion of impurities  and chemical composition.

Among the valuable gems, sapphires  are in great demand, extensively used  in making jewelry especially in the gold rings, necklaces and even gold bangles. Non ornamental applications include  very in the production of  thin electronic wafers, durable windows,  wristwatch crystals and movement bearings, integrated circuits and GaN-based LED, infrared optical components, etc. 

Once they occurred in alluvial deposits in the valleys between Mahanadhi and Godhavari rivers on the East coast of India, and presently  they occur in some states. Kashmir sapphire was first reported from  the Padar region in 1879. Normally they are found in placer deposits and has a high hardness of 9 on the Moh's scale of hardness.The sapphire is one of the three gem-varieties of corundum,  the other two being rubies. Though etymologically, the English word “sapphire” derives from Latin sapphiru, many linguists believe it is derived from  Sanskrit, Shanipriya,  shani" meaning "Saturn" and "priya"  meaning dear, i.e. literally “dear to Saturn. The sapphire is the birthstone of September.

The Star of India gemstone, en.wikipedia.org.

Above image: The Star of India is a 563.35 carat (112.67 g) star sapphire, probably the largest  gem in the world.........................

The following are  some well-known varieties of sapphire : Star of India, the Star of Kashmir, the Star of Bombay and the Star of Asia. There are also other reasonably well-known varieties of sapphire that have attracted the valuable gem collectors and traders.

The Star of India of Sri Lanka origin, a large stone weighing 563.35-carat (112.67 g) is  one of the largest gems in the world and is on exhibition at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The milky quality and the star effect in the gemstone are due to the presence of tiny amount of Rutile. Light reflection on the tiny fibers causes three fold pattern. In 1900 J. P. Morgan, famous US financier, donated the gem to the above museum.

 The Star of Kashmir is part of an exclusive family of rarest  Kashmir sapphires; blue is their most well-known color. They may be found in shades of gray, black and even colorless.

This large gem has a uniform cornflower blue color.In an auction at Christie in May, 2013.19.88 cushion shaped gem stone got the best price ever -   $3,483,017.00 (roughly Rs.20 crores). It was the highest per carat price. Classified as  a flawless gem with "absolute symmetry."

At yet another auction at Sotheby’s Jewelry Department in New York, in the last week of April, 2014, a 28.18-carat square emerald-cut Kashmir sapphire sold for nearly $5.1 million and the per carat price was whooping $180,731.00, a world auction record.


The 182-carat (36.4-g) Star of Bombay.en.wikipedia.org

The Star of Bombay,182 carat (36.4-g), violet-blue gem of Sri Lanka origin, was given to the famous silent film actress Mary Pickford by her husband, Douglas Fairbanks. Later it was donated to  the Smithsonian Institution by the actress. Funnily it was named after an alcoholic beverage called ''Bombay Sapphire,'' a popular British-manufactured gin.

Star of Asia, en.wikipedia.org.

Above image: The 330 Carat Star of Asia, housed in the National Museum of Natural History, Washington D.C., is an excellent example of a blue star sapphire.......

The Star of Asia, a large, 330 carat cabochon-cut star sapphire, currently  at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, is of Burma origin.The fascinating feature is its striking blue color. It was owned  by  Maharajah of Jodhpur, Rajasthan and it was acquired by the Smithsonian in 1961.