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