King of the Sapphires: Kashmir Sapphires
Many times rarer than a D-Flawless diamond, Kashmir sapphires are unrivalled in their quality and are coveted by gem collectors the world over. They owe their name to the Himalayan state in northern India, where a landslide in the early 1800s laid bare a deposit of magnificent blue stones. In 1882 the Indian Museum confirmed that they were true sapphires and the remote valley was mined intensely, until 1889 when the supply was exhausted and mining was officially halted.
Despite many attempts over the centuries, gemmologists have been unable to discover another deposit in the area, making Kashmir sapphires all the more sought-after. Sizeable Kashmir sapphires are exceptionally rare: only a handful of high-quality stones over five carats exist in the world.
Kashmir sapphires are renowned for their ‘velvety’ appearance: a softness that comes from light bouncing off silk-like rutile inclusions within the crystals. They are also prized for their vivid colour, ranging from deep royal blue to a rich, cornflower hue. While high quality sapphires are found in Burma, Sri Lanka and Madagascar, no other origin displays the same quality and intensity of blue as Kashmiri stones.
Since its inception, Pragnell has sought out these rare gems for its discerning clients. Kashmir sapphires rarely appear on the market, but our gem buyers occasionally discover exquisite examples in Edwardian and Art Deco jewellery. We select the very best of these, prioritising brightness and richness of colour over the ‘velvetiness’ that can occasionally make the gems seem sleepy or dull. Whether kept in their original jewel or reset into a one-of-a-kind Pragnell Masterpiece, these 200-year-old Kashmir sapphires will be treasured for generations to come.