Sapphires have always held great signifcance to the connoisseur of fine gems. To the gemstone collector and the jeweller, the name Kashmir in reference to sapphires has only one meaning: the most magnificent blue colour and the most sought after and valuable of all the shade and tones in which the stone is found. Among true connoisseurs, the Kashmir sapphire has no rival.
The source of these exceptional stones was a remote corner of the northwestern Himalayas where a rock slide in 1881 revealed sapphire-bearing rock. By 1882, the area was crowded with labourers and miners, all looking for the most beautiful sapphires ever to be found. Upon hearing of the superb gems, the Maharajah of Kashmir sent his own regiment to take possession of the mine and all private enterprise was forbidden. Extensive and productive mining went on for the next five years under his control and within a decade the sapphire rush slowed down as the mines offered less gems. By the 1930s, most of the mines were exhausted.
Kashmir sapphires command a much higher price premium than all other sapphires, not only for their rarity, especially those above 10 carats, but also for their rich, cornfower blue or velvety blue colour that have a mesmerizing sleepy quality. A result of numerous inclusions, sometimes known as "silk", that can refract and diffuse the light entering the sapphire, giving the stone an overall soft appearance. Unlike most others, Kashmir sapphires can maintain their coveted pure blue hue even as it changes from natural daylight to artificial incandescent light, as they contain little or no chromium.
The present Kashmir weighing 35.09 carats is certainly part of the exclusive family of the rarest and largest Kashmir ever to be offered at auction, combining an exceptional size, a richly saturated and homogenous velvety blue colour and spared from any form of enhancement. A rare gemstone that will captivate gem connoisseurs from all over the world.