Amidst the Himalayan Mountains lies the remote valley, which nowadays is intimately linked to some of the most sought-after sapphires in the world. The landslide that brought the first of these exceptional treasures to the surface is believed to have happened between 1879 and 1882. After the discovery of sapphires of exceptional quality and size in the region, mining began under the protection of the ruling Maharaja of Kashmir.
Between 1882 and 1887, magnificent sapphires were unearthed during the few summer months in which the mine was accessible. Since this first mine, called the “Old Mine”, was largely exhausted after 1887, a “New Mine” was established in close proximity. However, this mine as well as the few other deposits nearby, which were discovered in the years since, only yielded sporadic finds whose quality could hardly be compared to the original material.
The high desirability of Kashmir sapphires can be explained by two factors: beauty and rarity. Top quality sapphires from Kashmir distinguish themselves by a vivid fully-saturated blue colour, which is often poetically described by the trade as “cornflower blue”. This unique colour combined with the velvety appearance, typical for these gemstones, caused by tiny inclusions scattering light within the stone, results in the optical spectacle Kashmir sapphires are renowned for. Their extreme rarity is mostly explained by the very short period of time over which these gemstones were mined from the original deposit. Since only few sapphires originating from the later mines could compare with the quality of the “Old Mine” sapphires, nowadays, only very few truly high-quality Kashmir gemstones are available on the market.About the Ruby
The highest quality sapphires from the mines of Mogok are usually described by the Gübelin Gem Lab as "royal blue", a term used for extraordinary stones that are of a luscious, deep blue colour and fit strictly defined criteria concerning clarity, hue and saturation. Compared to rubies, Burmese sapphires also have a tendency to occur in larger sizes, which makes them highly sought after.
Geologically, Burmese sapphires and, indeed, rubies are considered to be much younger than many of their counterparts from locations like Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Madagascar and Sri Lanka. In the mines of Mogok, sapphires are unearthed in various shades of blue but purple, violet and yellow stones can also be found.
Experience the unique colour and extraordinary gleam of the legendary Burmese ruby in some of Gübelin's most precious jewellery creationsAbout the Sapphire
The Mogok region in the centre of the country is by no means the only one where rubies and sapphires have been found in Burma. However, it has proven the only one whose yield was large enough to make it commercially viable. Besides rubies and sapphires, other gemstones like spinels, garnets, tourmalines, peridots and aquamarines are found and successfully unearthed. After mining, these treasures are collected, sorted and sold in several larger and smaller gem markets in the city of Mogok and smaller villages in the vicinity from where many make their way down to the large scale auctions in the southern city of Yangon. Afterwards, they continue their journey to become part of breath-taking jewellery that will, hopefully, delight their future owners for many decades to come.
Would you like to stay up to date? Subscribe to our newsletter today and receive the latest news about the House of Gübelin and the exciting world of inspired timepieces, divine jewellery and precious gemstones.Subscribe Now