A sapphire from Kashmir fired up a battle, obtaining a result commensurate with its beauty.
18 ct white gold Pompadour ring set with a cushion-cut Kashmir sapphire of 8.29 ct, surrounded by 11 antique-cut diamonds, gross weight 12.3 g/ 0.43 oz.
A Cartier "slave" bracelet in white gold and platinum covered with black enamel set off by antique-cut diamonds (two weighing some 2 ct) clearly had appeal, fetching €154,560. A splendid result, even if somewhat overshadowed by the €656,880 spent on this Pompadour ring with its 8.26 ct sapphire. The cushion-cut blue stone (Vivid to Deep Blue), surrounded by 11 antique-cut diamonds, comes from the legendary mines of Pakistani Kashmir, whose reopening has been repeatedly announced. They have yielded the most magnificent gems in terms of color intensity, making them the most sought-after.
The inside of the ring is engraved with a date, July 5, 1883: proof that the stone was extracted a long time ago. (Today the only mines seen in the valley when the snow melts are anti-personnel mines.) The sapphires first appeared on the market in 1881, a time when the mountain people traded them for salt, weight for weight. Given the price of the commodity, a quick calculation means that the price per carat for the stone was an astounding €68,508. The Maharaja of Kashmir quickly understood the wealth that could be made from sapphires, and in 1883 took over the mines, prohibiting uncontrolled trade and sending his army to guard the precious deposits. The mine survived until 1979: since then, its sapphires have become even more legendary.