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Looking for velvety sapphire

sphenequeen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
640
Hi All!

I am looking for a gorgeous, velvety blue sapphire to make a colored stone RHR. What I am looking for is something that has that "Kashmir" color and appearance, but not the Kashmir price. I hear that Madagascar has stones that are like this and I am wondering if anyone knows who might have stones like this.

Here is an image of the sapphire color I am looking for. This is a vintage ring with a Kashmir sapphire in the center:
sapphire_1.jpg

Here is an image of a Madagascar sapphire with the type of velvety look I am hoping for:
madagascar%20sapphire.jpg

I would like the stone to be unheated - cushion cut or step cut.

What would something like this run in a 2 carat size? Any ideas?
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,283
Last I heard, top quality velvety unheated Kashmir sapphires are $65K/carat. Fine Madagascar material looks like Ceylon material. I don't think there's Madagascar material that looks as good as Kashmir, and that's a gorgeous Kashmir color in your photo. If only Kate Middleton's ring was that beautiful, and she's a royal bride. Just gorgeous. The Madagascar sapphire in your bottom photo doesn't light a candle to that top stone.
 

Indylady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
5,586
That Kashmiri look with the velvety feel is hard to find. What's your budget, and what size stone are you looking for?
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
12,823
From what I've been told, Madagascar is the main, if not sole, locality that produces Kashmir look-alikes. However, the fine Madagascar blues are still not easy to find. :(
 

VapidLapid

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Messages
4,267
Roger Dery has some madagascan sapphires.
 

sphenequeen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
640
Thank you for all of your replies.

TL - I agree that the sapphire in the bottom pic is not as nice as the the true Kashmir above it. I do like that it has that velvety appearance I am looking for. Personally, if I wasn't comparing it to the color in the top photo, I happen to like the stone. I am sure that top Kashmir material is 65K per carat - but I am not looking for actual Kashmir material.

Like Harriet, I have read that Madagascar Sapphire is the closest to Kashmir. If that is true, I would rather pay for a look that I love rather than origin of stone (not that I have the money to do so :tongue: ).

To answer IndyLady's question, I have a 6K budget for the stone. I would take quality over size, so I am not sure how big I can go. Am I out of my mind? Is this even something that can be achieved?

Thank you VL for the vendor suggestion. I will look into it! If anyone has anymore suggestions, let me know!
 

soberguy

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 25, 2009
Messages
650
Here is my 1.11 octogon cut gia certified sapphire from Madagascar. I think they are quite Kasmir-like.

014 (400x300).jpg
 

Michael_E

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 19, 2003
Messages
1,290
sphenequeen|1309919167|2962437 said:
What I am looking for is something that has that "Kashmir" color and appearance, but not the Kashmir price. I hear that Madagascar has stones that are like this and I am wondering if anyone knows who might have stones like this.
One main defining trait of "velvety" Kashmir sapphires, besides their color, is microscopic "silk" which diffuses light within the stone and makes it literally glow. If you find a sapphire from anywhere which has the color that you're looking for AND that silky glow, then it will be out of your price range. This is because this type of stone is rare and highly sought after by people who have money to burn on such things.

In your price range it is possible to obtain very fine intense blue color in an untreated stone and many places have these available, or at least pictures of them. I think Pala Gems has a few in your size and price range that have intense blue color and very good clarity. From the looks of the second picture you posted, that silkiness is not what you're after, but rather very fine color. Make sure to look at whatever you buy very closely in multiple light sources, since sapphires can go flat in some types of light.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,517
Am I to understand that you not only want a vivid saturated bright blue, but the silky velvety glow? If so, then I'm thinking the sapphire has to be unheated, which of course raises the price, even for a lookalike.
 

sphenequeen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
640
Thank you all for the insight. I will check with Palagems. I am going to continue to research this.

Chrono - yes that is what I am looking for - vivid saturated blue with silky, velvety glow. I understand that this is not going to be easy and I may have to bump up the budget. If I need more time to get the right gem, so be it.
 

soberguy

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 25, 2009
Messages
650
From what I have seen, heating doesnt necessarily diminish the velvety glow. My sapphire was heated for example. I have also seen pictures of gorgeous certified Kashmir sapphires that have been heated.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
You might get very, very lucky and find a stone in that colour and with the sleepy look for around $6k but I'd reckon you'll be looking at more like 1.5cts and you will almost certainly have to give on things like cut and clarity. I think a cushion cut will be a LOT easier to find than a cushion cut.

I had a quick look at Pala and there is one that might look about right (don't know what the price is on it). Most of the other amazing blues they have I do know the prices on and... when I win the lottery (the European one not the UK only one) I might have another look but not until then.

It's an oval and a tad over 2cts. They have no idea on origin and it's unheated...

16680.jpg
 

sphenequeen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
640
That is a VERY pretty sapphire. I think I will have someone contact Pala to see if they have anything for me.
 

Indylady

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 28, 2008
Messages
5,586
I think it can be achieved, but with no particular size guarantee.

I would email John at Simply Sapphires (he'll definitely have stones within your budget, and his site is great too, lots of inventory), Richard Wise, Rogery Dery, and also check out Pala.
 

sphenequeen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
640
IndyLady - I love your optimism! You all are so helpful. I will be contacting all of these vendors. I have a few pieces on consignment that I am waiting to sell first, but this is what I am buying with the money. SO exciting.
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
12,823
Isn't the hunt exciting? If that bright blue is the colour you want, it should make things a little easier. The classic Kashmir blue is a tone darker, from what I've seen. But that doesn't mean the bright blue isn't a pretty colour. :)
 

sphenequeen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
640
Harriet|1310003910|2963305 said:
Isn't the hunt exciting? If that bright blue is the colour you want, it should make things a little easier. The classic Kashmir blue is a tone darker, from what I've seen. But that doesn't mean the bright blue isn't a pretty colour. :)
I actually think I enjoy the hunt more than anything else. Is that sick, or what? And yes, Harriet, I DO DO DO love the bright blue color of the first stone I posted... it just kills me! :love:
 

Barrett

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
2,218
TL is right..I have heard that before and according to NSC(I would tend to believe geologist on plate tectonics over gemologist)
"Sapphires from Madagascar resemble the stones from Sri Lanka, and some gemologists theorize that the two islands were once part of a single geological structure that was torn apart by plate tectonics."

--and AJS says "Madagascar. Its blue sapphire's are similar in appearance, quality, and material to those from Sri Lanka. Generally they are indistinguishable from Ceylon sapphires and are interchangeable in value."

--and these people think so as well in their "Lab information circular" on "Beryllium Treated Blue Sapphires from Sri Lanka" The gem and jewelry export council ( sponsored by the ministry of commerce and industry in india)
"Similar is the case with blue sapphires especially those originating
from Sri Lanka or Madagascar. Sapphires from both these locations
are very much similar in appearance, externally as well as internally."


--so after looking up the plate movements and geological conditions and events I found
"Certain forms of fauna and flora being peculiar to Ceylon and Madagascar, and a certain degree of similarity which Sri Lanka has with parts of Africa, the Deccan and Western Australia in lithology, Structure etc, are to be explained by these regions having been part of one continent in remote geological times, before continental drift took place. The recent discovery of large deposits of precious and semi-precious stones in Madagascar like sapphires, rubies, tourmalines, etc. , is additional evidence for the above phenomenon, and clearly establishes the fact that Sri Lanka which has been famous for its gemstones for thousands of years and Madagascar were closely associated together in the southern continent of Gondwanaland. Almost all the minerals and gem stones discovered in Sri Lanka over the centuries are now gradually being discovered in Madagascar too".

--and geology 101 at wiki says "The Indian craton[sri lanka] was once part of the supercontinent of Pangaea. At that time, it was attached to Madagascar and southern Africa on the south west coast, and Australia along the east coast

--but then Richard Wise says "but Andranondambo is known to have produced sapphires equal in beauty to the best of Myanmar (formerly Burma), Kashmir, or Sri Lanka."

So like many gem locations, certain stones can go above and beyond the norm found there. Although the majority look like sri lanka material you will always find the odd few that just blow you away due to the countless variables found in mineral formation.

I am sure if you look hard enough and bide your time you will find someone with a stone that has or is close to the criteria you specified. The key is to be patient. May take 3 months and may take 6 months or even longer but stick with it!
 

Bec619

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jun 24, 2011
Messages
17
It's not really what your looking for but this is a Round Sapphire that looks nice, It's from Etsy seller RareEarthGems.

I've never brought from her but i almost did before i found a Sapphire i wanted else where, She doesn't list all her stock so you can always message and ask :)

image_3.jpg
 

sphenequeen

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 16, 2009
Messages
640
Thank you, Bec619... I have a feeling that stone will be too dark for me. I am going to be amping up my search here VERY soon. Can't wait!
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
12,823
sphenequeen|1310012164|2963444 said:
Harriet|1310003910|2963305 said:
Isn't the hunt exciting? If that bright blue is the colour you want, it should make things a little easier. The classic Kashmir blue is a tone darker, from what I've seen. But that doesn't mean the bright blue isn't a pretty colour. :)
I actually think I enjoy the hunt more than anything else. Is that sick, or what? And yes, Harriet, I DO DO DO love the bright blue color of the first stone I posted... it just kills me! :love:
Not at all! I think a reason the hunt is enjoyable is because one learns a lot along the way.
 

Harriet

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 7, 2006
Messages
12,823
Michael_E|1309932224|2962551 said:
One main defining trait of "velvety" Kashmir sapphires, besides their color, is microscopic "silk" which diffuses light within the stone and makes it literally glow.
Hi Michael,

That's what I've always believed. Recently, someone corrected me. According to him, it's colour striation, instead of silk, that causes the velvety texture. I checked Dick Hughes' Rubies and Sapphires, in which he wrote:

"Straight, angular growth zoning parallel to the faces along which it formed. In Kashmir stones this is often composed of alternating clear and turbid zones. Such turbidity is responsible for the "velvety" appearance of many Kashmir stones."

I don't mean to correct you, Michael. I thought it might be an interesting topic to raise.
 

Michael_E

Brilliant_Rock
Trade
Joined
Nov 19, 2003
Messages
1,290
Hi Michael,

That's what I've always believed. Recently, someone corrected me. According to him, it's colour striation, instead of silk, that causes the velvety texture. I checked Dick Hughes' Rubies and Sapphires, in which he wrote:

"Straight, angular growth zoning parallel to the faces along which it formed. In Kashmir stones this is often composed of alternating clear and turbid zones. Such turbidity is responsible for the "velvety" appearance of many Kashmir stones."

I don't mean to correct you, Michael. I thought it might be an interesting topic to raise.
Hi Harriet,
I don't think that you're correcting me, but more likely reinforcing what I was getting at. "Turbidity" has to be caused by something. In all of the sapphires that I've seen, (from anywhere), turbidity is caused by microscopic crystals of other minerals, typically titanium dioxide in the form of very fine silk like crystals. Maybe it's caused by some other inclusions in Kashmir sapphires, but I've never read of anything else causing that look. I guess that we need Mr. Hughes to add some more details to his article and explain the cause of the turbidity that he's seeing? An alternate approach would be for everyone here to send me their Kashmir sapphires and I'll do some research on them, (it may take a few years and I'll get to enjoy them the whole time :D )
 
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