Million Pound Gemstones: Sapphire

In one of my previous posts, I looked at the The World’s Most Expensive Sapphires but during my research, I came across some of the most stunning Sapphires ever to have been sold at auction. The five examples that I chose for this post all sold for more than a million pounds and they all hold a significant place in history as some of the most important Sapphires ever sold.

5) The Rockefeller Sapphire

The Rockefeller Sapphire

Weight: 62.02 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, New York, 11th April 2001
Sale Price USD: $3 Million
Sale Price GBP: £2.1 Million

The Rockefeller Sapphire was one of the first gemstones to set a world record price in the new millenium. The gemstone is truly exceptional and would have attracted a lot of attention as the 62.02 carat Burmese Sapphire is one of the finest examples ever to be offered at auction but it is the name attached to the stone that makes it even more desirable. The Sapphire was bought by the son of the legendary American business tycoon John D Rockefeller. Rockefeller Jr is known for buying some of the worlds finest gemstones and the purchase of this stunning stone from an Indian Maharaja is one of his best.

The history of this Sapphire is amazing and has been in the hands of some of the most influential names in the history of jewellery, including Raymond Yard, Raphael and Ralph Esmerian and none other than Pierre Cartier. It also has the rare distinction of setting a world record price on two occasions, the first in 1988 when it sold for $2.8 Million and then again in 2001 when it sold for $3 Million. If the Sapphire was to be offered at auction again, it is believed that could once again become the world’s most expensive Sapphire.

4) The Star of Kashmir

The Star of Kashmir

Weight: 19.88 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, Geneva, 15th May 2013
Sale Price USD: $3.4 Million
Sale Price GBP: £2.2 Million

While it never set any records, the 19.88, untreated Star of Kashmir an exceptional example of the blue Sapphires that were found in the Kashmir region of Asia. Due their rarity and rich blue colour, Sapphires from this area of the world are highly desirable. The 2012 gem report from SSEF states:

‘the sapphire is of Kashmir origin, with no indications of heating, and a Premium Appendix stating that ‘A natural Kashmir sapphire of this size and purity is extremely rare and thus, the described gemstone with its combination of outstanding characteristics is a very exceptional treasure.’

3) The Kelly Sapphire

The Kelly Sapphire

Weight: 21.71 Carats
Sale: Christie’s, New York, 16th June 2015
Sale Price USD: $4.1 Million
Sale Price GBP: £2.6 Million

Another Sapphire named after its famous owner, the 21.71 carat Kashmir Sapphire was part of the collection from businessman and philanthropist Margaret Adderley Kelly. The stunning Sapphire is set a platinum and diamond mount made by the famous Cartier jewellery house and headlined the auction that included many other stunning pieces from the Kelly collection. The appreciation of this piece was reflected in the $4.1 Million sale price that was over twice the highest estimate.

2) Cabochon Kashmir Sapphire

Cabochon Cut Kashmir Sapphire

Weight: 25.87 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, New York, 9th December 2015
Sale Price USD: $5.1 Million
Sale Price GBP: £3.4 Million

I chose this for the list as it is a very unique piece amongst some of the finest examples of Sapphires ever to be sold at auction. What makes this stone so different is that unlike all the other gems on this list, the 25.87 carat, untreated Kashmir Sapphire has been cut as a cabochon rather than a faceted gemstone. Settings for cabochon stones are also different and the mount for this stone just adds to the beauty of the Sapphire. The accompanying Gübelin report states the Sapphire:

possesses a richly saturated and homogenous colour, combined with a high degree of transparency, and a finely proportioned cut.’

1) The Jewel of Kashmir

The Jewel of Kashmir

Weight: 27.68 Carats
Sale: Sotheby’s, Hong Kong, 7th October 2015
Sale Price USD: $6.7 Million
Sale Price GBP: £4.4 Million

The top entry on this list is another stunning example of a Kashmir Sapphire and it just missed out on making the most expensive Sapphires list. I could go on and try to describe the 27.68 carat Sapphire but I feel the letter accompanying the AGL report from 2014 describes the Sapphire better than I could:

‘this sapphire is ‘described as having a “cornflower blue” hue. The beautiful colour of this sapphire is further enhanced by a square emerald cut fashioning which resulting in deep, internal colour reflections and brilliance that complement the overall visual appearance of the stone, as well as a high clarity that results in a heightened degree of transparency. The soft texturing evident in this lovely gem is just enough to instill a pleasant velvetiness to the colour, without being too strong as to compromise the gem’s transparency…The sapphire received the highest and most prestigious Total Quality Integration RatingTM of Exceptional.’

I hope you enjoyed the stones selected for this post. They are five of my personal favourites that have ever been sold and it is always exciting to see what the jewellery departments at Christie’s and Sotheby’s will find for their marquee sales.

Check out our other Million Pound Gemstones posts:

Speaking of Christie’s and Sotheby’s, I would like to thank them for the images and snippets from the gem reports used in this post.

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