AN­CIENT ASIA

Hong Kong Tatler - - Jewellery -

he sap­phire is see­ing a re­nais­sance. The beau­ti­ful gem of the heav­ens— blue brother to the red ruby and a mul­ti­tude of fancy-coloured sib­lings— is now more pop­u­lar than ever. Revered by roy­alty and sought af­ter for cen­turies, this noble, re­gal and ro­man­tic gem has inspired fine jew­ellery houses such as Gü­be­lin, which chose it as stone of the year and launched a fine jew­ellery col­lec­tion de­signed around it.

With a broad range of hues, sizes and prices, sap­phires of­fer a wealth of choice un­ri­valled by most other gems. The coun­try in which the gem­stone was formed can add an ex­tra di­men­sion to mar­ket val­ues and per­sonal choices. Sap­phires are found in seem­ingly un­likely lo­ca­tions all over the Sap­phire and diamond neck­lace by Chow Tai Fook world, from the Hi­malayas to the is­lands of Africa, and from na­tional parks in the US to the Aus­tralian out­back. The mul­ti­tude of ori­gins pro­vides a sea of blue choice, but a few coun­tries are up­per­most in the psy­che of the sap­phire col­lec­tor. The most ex­clu­sive and elu­sive of all are sap­phires from Kash­mir. They come from a tiny re­mote lo­cal­ity, where they were dis­cov­ered af­ter a land­slide in the 1880s. All but mined out, Kash­mir sap­phires are a rare—and ex­pen­sive—in­vest­ment. Their soft, vel­vety mid-blue is the ideal by which all other sap­phires are judged.

Asia is also the source of the most an­cient sap­phires, thanks to the al­lur­ing is­land of Sri Lanka—the Serendib or Cey­lon of old. The is­land’s mag­i­cal mines are still pro­duc­ing

FAN FLAIR

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