Burma Blues

Sapphires have a rich history of use in jewelry, reigning champion along with diamonds, rubies and emeralds. Originally reserved for the adornment of royalty, sapphires of today are collected by all for their range of desirable blue color. They are mined all over the world, but the most sought-after and valuable blue colors emerge from the geologies of Kashmir and Burma (Myanmar). The sleepy, silky deep blue of Kashmir sapphires continues to dominate the auction circuits, but Burmese sapphires are gaining in their price-per-carat results. Burma sapphires are categorized by their deep royal blue color, and larger sizes have become immensely popular as of late.

According to the GIA, for several centuries “Burmese blue sapphires…have occurred in alluvial deposits along the Mogok Stone Tract” in Myanmar in certain specific mines. However in 2008, the new Baw Mar mine emerged in the same general area. This mine has “produced larger amounts of gem-quality blue sapphires” than seen before [Gems & Gemology, Winter 2014, Vol. 4]. This is welcome news for the jewelry market, as the demand for unheated Burmese stones has never been higher.

Two lots of interest displaying Important Burmese sapphires in Doyle’s April 27, 2017 sale of Important Jewelry sale include Lot 374, which holds a 14.92 cts. cushion-shaped Burma sapphire of a deep, electric blue within a 1930s platinum ring mount. In Lot 302, the bright royal vivid blue sapphire electrifies in a statement-making platinum and diamond ring mount.

Past Burmese sapphires Doyle has offered features the 12.76 cts. Burma sapphire of bright medium deep blue with violet hue that sold for over $10,000 per carat in October 2016 (total price $162,500). In April of 2015, an 8.37 cts. oval cabochon Burma sapphire sold for over $13,000 per carat (total price $137,000).

The beauty of Burmese sapphires has propelled them to elite standing in the auction world, achieving global prices of $10,000 to $25,000 per carat. The demand is continuing to grow, and one can only wait and see what the future brings for these fine stones.

Portrait of specialist Martha Garcia
Vice President / Appraiser, Jewelry Department
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