Most likely you have heard of the beautiful cashmere sapphire, that region between India and Pakistan, where there is great political tension; and for many years, the military and local independence fighters have been vying for their domain. It is there, in that tense area of ​​the world, where Zanskar is precisely, a town that is located in the Hindu part, where the famous Kashmir Sapphire was produced; since the first pieces of these beautiful and expensive gems were found in 1881.

The story about these stones is very interesting, and it is that a large landslide that occurred at the top of the Himalayas, at approximately 4,500 meters high, specifically in the Padar region, was what revealed this great deposit of extraordinary gems, which the mountaineers of the region exchanged for salt, when the exploitation process began.

Even the miners, naively, without knowing the great value that these stones had, exchanged them in equal parts; and since they have great hardness (9 on the Mohs scale), they were used to sharpen work tools. Imagine what their reaction would be when, after a while, they learned of its high price.

This is how, later in the year 1882, a small group of jewelers bought a large quantity of sapphires for a price of 90,000 dollars; and for this reason, the Maharaja of Kashmir realized their enormous value, and seized the mines, guarding them with the military and prohibiting the uncontrolled trade of these precious stones.

This is how he Kashmir Sapphire, becomes the stone of immortality for the Hindus, and has a deep symbolism for the ancient Persians, who believed that the universe settled on a sea of ​​sapphires. With this great spiritual value, but also economic, the Maharaja’s government was able to extract many gems between the years 1882 and 1887, when the mine was very productive, and great gems of high quality and beauty were extracted.

However, in 1887, production fell drastically, so the Maharajah of Kashmir requested geological assistance from the British Indian government, as an alternative to improve production and not lose this great source of income for his government; but it was confirmed that the original mine was exhausted, which caused a period of very little extraction of these stones.

This is how the exploitation of cashmere sapphire it was able to remain active until 1979, due to the depletion of the deposits, which caused the abrupt stoppage of this mining activity; although later, some pieces have been found very sporadically, which can be seen from time to time in the market.

Over time, some deposits have been reopened, the most active being the Padder mines in the Himalayas, where there are fifteen miners who exploit them for a few months a year, when the weather is not so inclement. due to low temperatures, under police and military surveillance.

In this exploitation process, it is estimated that between 50 and 100 grams of cashmere sapphire daily; which are located by the miners, in the veins of a white aluminum silicate, called kaolinite, and which are later transferred by the military guarding the mines, to Kichtwar. the closest town to these centers of extraction of one of the rarest gemstones in the world, and which is characterized by rutile inclusions, which makes it have a numb appearance or the effect called «blue velvet».

On the other hand, the cashmere sapphire it is highly valued in the gemstone market, for its fabulous cornflower blue color, which no gem equals; and its quality may be compared with some of the best Burma and Ceylon sapphires; however, this sapphire continues to have the reputation of being the best in the world, due to its extreme rarity and beauty.

Currently, this sapphire is rarely shown, not even in the world’s largest gemstone auctions. However, in 2007, an auction was held at Christie’s where a 22.66-carat Kashmir sapphire was sold; that it was set in a pendant surrounded by diamonds, for a price of 3,064,000 dollars; which gives a value of 135 thousand dollars per carat; establishing a record associated with the sale of sapphires.

On the other hand, recently in the principality of Monaco, a cashmere sapphire 10.81 carats to a Swiss diamond dealer, at a price of 750,000 euros; and it will surely be a few years before another large sapphire can be seen in the world’s most renowned auctions.