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Sapphires 101

Origins & Sources

Where Can Sapphires Be Found?

Sapphires can be found in only a handful of locations around the world.  At these locations most of the recovered stones are industrial quality that never enter the gem trade.

Sapphires can only be found in certain locations across the globe.
Sapphires can only be found in certain locations across the globe.

Only a fraction of these gem quality sapphires remain untreated before being sold to the market.  Key sapphire sources which have economically viable sapphire trades include:

  • Sri Lanka (Ceylon)
  • Myanmar(Burma)
  • Australia
  • Madagascar
  • Montana
  • Thailand
  • Tanzania
  • Kenya
  • Nigeria
  • Vietnam
  • Laos
  • Kashmir

A Note On Origins

Some sapphire sources have greater prestige than others, and origin has been known to influence price regardless of quality.

For example, blue sapphires from Burma are highly prized by collectors.  Over time, gem lovers have come to believe that any blue sapphire from Burma (now Myanmar) must be superior to others in quality, and they have been willing to pay higher prices for stones from this source.

It is not always wise to pay premiums for sapphires from prestigious locales. Quality is determined by a gem’s appearance, not the mine that it comes from.  Inherent natural beauty should be the key factor when it comes to choosing a stone.

Although gemologists have several means of determining the origin or provenance of gemstones and techniques continue to improve, determining origin is not an exact science.  Reasons for error are simple: sapphires from most of the prominent locations around the world have internal characteristics that are inherent in multiple locations because geologically these areas are close to one another. Sapphire come from a myriad of sources and they come in a great variety of colors as well! Discover the range of Sapphire Colors And Varieties in the next section.

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