A diamond and Kashmir sapphire brooch once belonged to the late Hon. Evelina Rothschild is set to be auctioned off at Christie’s London Important Jewels auction on November 26. The highlight of the brooch is its unique 14.66 karat cushioned-shaped Kashmir sapphire. More importance is given to the vibrant blue sapphire than the gold and silver brooch, and the 12 diamonds surrounding it.
The deep blue of this sapphire is very rare. Most of the world’s sapphires come from Sri Lanka or Ceylon (a famous Ceylon sapphire is the one on Princess Diana/Kate Middleton engagement ring), however, Kashmir has carved out a place in the market for sapphires with vibrant blue. They come from some of remotest areas in the Kashmir valley, accessible only by foot and small pack animals. Mining in the Kashmir is very primitive, to say the least. Amid all these difficulties miners find these treasures described as “cornflower blue” in color, which means a soft and velvety hue.
This particular diamond was found when the Kashmir mines were new, that was in early 1880’s. Let alone sapphires, Kashmir mines don’t even produce gemstones these days. All this add to increase the value of this rare Rothschild sapphire. According to the Swiss Gemmological Institute and Gubelin Gemlab, sapphire shows indication of heating.
Christie’s has a pre-auction estimate of £400,000-500,000 ($625,000-785,000) for the brooch.