• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1359

    Jewels: The Geneva Sale

    20 November 2008, Geneva

  • Lot 279

    A UNIQUE SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND RING

    Price Realised  

    Estimate

    A UNIQUE SAPPHIRE AND DIAMOND RING
    Set with a cushion-shaped sapphire weighing 42.28 carats, to the half-moon diamond shoulders, mounted in 18k white gold, ring size 6½
    Accompanied by report no. 51716 dated 25 June 2008 from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute stating that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating

    Accompanied by report no. 0807085 dated 8 July 2008 from the Gübelin Gem Lab stating that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating

    Accompanied by report no. CDC 0808008 dated 01 September 2008 from C. Dunaigre Consulting stating that the sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating




    Accompanied by report no. 17463539 dated 22 July 2008 from the GIA Gemological Institute of America stating that the diamond weighing 1.56 carats is E colour, VS1 clarity

    Accompanied by report no. 17463528 dated 23 July 2008 from the GIA Gemological Institute of America stating that the diamond weighing 1.46 carats is E colour, VS2 clarity




    With SSEF appendix stating:

    The natural sapphire described in the Gemstone Report No 51716 from the SSEF Swiss Gemmological Institute possesses extraordinary characteristics and merits a special mention and appreciation.

    The described gemstone exhibits an impressive weight of 42.288 ct, and is among the largest Kashmir sapphires ever certified at SSEF. Colour and purity, combined with a very pleasant shape and cutting style make this stone an outstanding gem. The velvety blue colour and the inclusions found by microscopic inspection represent the hallmarks of the reputed deposit in Kashmir. The stone has been spared from the exposure to any treatment and its clarity and colour are natural.

    The velvety blue of this stone is due to very fine inclusions and a combination of well-balanced trace elements in the stone, typical and characteristic for sapphires of Kashmir.

    Natural sapphires from Kashmir of this size, colour and clarity represent a great rarity and the described gemstone with its combination of outstanding characteristics is a very exceptional treasure.


    With Gübelin Gem Lab appendix stating:


    One of the most significant events in the history of the blue sapphire occurred in the early 1880s. A rock slide in the Himalayan Mountains of Kashmir revealed a source of blue sapphires which has become legendary for the exquisite gems recovered there. Although Kashmir has produced only a limited number of gems since the 1920s, the soft, velvety blue colour of Kashmir sapphires remains the epitome of this gem variety, and is highly regarded by connoisseurs and collectors alike. Gentle and bright at the same time, both gleaming and flattering, the typical hue of Kashmir sapphires is among the most sought after of colours. The late Dr. Eduard Gübelin described this unique and rare colour as: "soft and velvety, scintillating yet bland at the same time; it is a clear, deep blue, enhanced by a gentle admixture of kingly purple."

    The natural Kashmir sapphire of 42.28 ct described in the above mentioned Gübelin Gem Lab Report is one of these exceptional gemstones. It possesses a richly saturated and homogeneous colour, combined with a high degree of transparency, and a finely proportioned cut. In addition, this extraordinary gemstone has been spared of thermal treatment.

    Such a combination of characteristics is very rare in natural Kashmir sapphires of this size.



    With C. Dunaigre Consulting appendix stating:

    An Exceptional Kashmir Sapphire


    The intriguing and fascinating world of gemstones often brings to mind many colourful images of beautiful and glowing gems adorning the crown jewels of monarchs, maharajahs and princes. The legends and accounts brought back from early expeditions to the East by travelers and explorers have greatly contributed to the mysticism and the lore associated with these gems. But no other gemstone stimulated so much the imagination and the fantasies of the human being than the Kashmir sapphire.
    Recovered from approximately 1880 through the 1920s near the small village of Sumjam in the northern India region of Kashmir, and mined only sporadically since then, these sapphires became legendary for the unique and distinctive velvety blue colouration displayed by the most beautiful specimens. Due to the political instability of the region and the difficulties of accessing the remote mining area located at an altitude of 14,600 feet, only very few large Kashmir sapphires of the best quality were ever recovered and cut into gemstones.
    C. Dunaigre Consulting has been given the opportunity and the rare privilege to examine and report on an extraordinary 42.28 ct Kashmir sapphire. The hue displayed by this exceptional gemstone is a unique and intense velvety blue softened by a warm inner glow. This rich blue colouration is homogenously distributed throughout the stone and the expert cutting allows for many internal reflections to be observed. The reflection of the light on minute microscopic particles present within the stone also creates a subtle milkiness which is most sought after by the Kashmir sapphire connoisseurs.

    This amazing gemstone displays all the characteristics of the best quality Kashmir sapphires that Christian Dunaigre had the opportunity to examine along the years and its beautiful colouration is unique for a Kashmir sapphire of this very large size.
    It is nowadays extremely rare to find a top quality Kashmir sapphire with a weight over 10 carats. These stones are indeed so rare and so looked after that a magnificent 22.66 cts. Kashmir sapphire sold in April 2007 at Christie's New York for US$ 135,000 per carat. With this in mind, It is even more extraordinary for the trade and the general public to be given the chance to appreciate the exceptional beauty of this 42.28 ct and to wonder on the extreme rarity of this amazing jewel.
    Some gemstones, by their combination of unique and outstanding characteristics are recognized as true treasures. This exceptional 42.28 ct Kashmir sapphire is certainly one.

    C.Dunaigre Consulting GmbH
    Christian Dunaigre



    Christian Dunaigre, a passionate French gemologist with 15 years laboratory experience in the testing of gemstones, diamonds and pearls started his carrier at the Asian Institute of Gemologogical Sciences (AIGS) in Bangkok, Thailand working under the leadership of Mr. Ken Scarratt. In 1997 Christian moved to the famous Gübelin Gem Laboratory in Switzerland where he worked many years as supervisor of laboratory services. In April 2008 Christian set up an independent Swiss based company, which offers on site gem testing service to the gem and jewelry trade.


    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    Post Lot Text



    The sapphires of Kashmir form an exclusive class of their own. In the jewel trade it is customary to attach the appellation "Kashmir" to any fine sapphire regardless of its geographical origin. This is an indication of the outstanding qualities of Kashmir sapphires. The colour of these sapphires resembles the beautiful hue of the peacock's neck. Even a small concentration of that fine colour illuminates the entire structure of the gem. Rajroop Tank, 1971, Indian Gemmology


    Kashmir Sapphires-Blue Velvet

    Few localities in the world of gems are as singular as the fabled sapphire mines of Kashmir. First discovered about 1879-1881, Kashmir has produced little since the 1930's. And the lion's share of sapphires came out during a half-breath period of just seven short years, from 1881-1887. So fine were the stones unearthed from this tiny land slip high in the Indian Himalaya that, to this day, sapphire connoisseurs remain in utter awe. Indeed, the highest price ever paid for a sapphire at auction was for a Kashmir stone, a 22.66 ct cushion-shaped pendant, that sold at Christie's New York in April 2007 for a whopping $3,064,000 ( $135,216/ct).

    What is it that makes the Kashmir stone so attractive? One factor is staying power. Many a sapphire looks magnificent under one light, but when brought into another, sheds its beauty. Not so for the gems from the mighty Himalaya. The finest Kashmir stones shine the blue fantastic in all conditions, be it candlelight or the intense tropical sun.

    Kashmir sapphires are also famous for their velvety texture, a softness that envelopes all like a misty blue veil, banishing darkness and cold with that truest of blues. The cause is a scattering of light off tiny acicular inclusions, needles just fine enough to exile the night, but not large enough to materially affect transparency. Note that here we have a direct contradiction of the laws of diamond grading - as the inclusions that slightly reduce clarity actually improve the beauty of the gem.

    R.W.Hughes



    Richard W. Hughes is one of the foremost authorities on ruby and sapphire. A fellow of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain, he has written several highly-regarded books about these gems. Formerly vice-president of Asian Institute of Gemological Science, he published dozen of articles that have appeared in major publications throughout Europe, Asia, North America and Australia.