Australia is home to one of the best geographical locations for sapphires in the world and it is renowned for producing beautiful Australian Sapphires. As a mining zone for over one hundred years, Australia contains one of the original blue sapphire resources. This precious gem has a quality greater than that of a diamond, and the demand for its stunning blue color has decreased the volume available on the market. However, a sizeable amount are still found among the Australian Sapphire hotspots:
- Anakie in Queensland
- New England district of New South Wales.
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- Australian Sapphires once made up 70% of the worlds supply of blue Sapphire
- The Parti colored Sapphires are increasing in popularity
- Richland resources, a UK based company, is endeavouring to increase awareness of Australian Sapphires
Appearance Of Australian Sapphires
Australian sapphires have a unique appearance that can range in color from blue to green and yellow shades. Australian Sapphires are famous for their Parti Colored stones which are a combination of green and yellow. Some of the most golden Sapphires to ever be produced have originated from Australia. Australia has produced the most amount of commercial-grade blue sapphires than any other country. Most of the Parti sapphires in the global market will find their origins in Australia. There are other locations that produce Australian Sapphires such as Nigeria but they are not found in the same quantity. The Parti sapphire is one of the most valuable stones due to its natural color. But their value also depends on the exact size, color, and transparency. Most of the sapphires are treated with heat to improve their color and quality. Australian Sapphires are an igneous type of Sapphire meaning they contain a large amount of the element Iron. This element can make the stones appear dark and so heating them helps to reduces this darkness and improves the color. Crystals can vary in size, but the average sapphire measures to be about three carats. Many sapphires are cut shallower in order for the color to appear lighter.
History of Australian Sapphires
About one hundred years ago the first Australian Sapphires were discovered. They were of such high quality that Australia supplied nearly seventy percent of the world’s demand. Once the heating method from Thailand was invented, the market for Australian sapphires changed. Because the Thai heating method could enhance the color and clarity of a sub-par stone, Thailand, along with other countries, could sell lower quality sapphires while making them look just as good. Since Australia’s Sapphire took longer to mine and process, it couldn’t keep up with the dodgy market of sapphires that had taken off due to global demands. Chemical treatments, such as Beryllium, can drastically alter the color and quality of a low grade sapphire, which causes it to essentially be a “fake”.
Nowadays, Australian Sapphires are at an all-time low in Australia. New laws have been established to protect the environments of the Australian mines, and even if this didn’t cause difficulty for the Australian sapphire market, the mine in New South Wales can only produce mostly untreated pink and orange stones. People are recognising the heat and chemical treatments of the stone, which devalues the gem altogether. Instead, a preference for the true-blue Parti sapphire is emerging because of its natural color and clarity. The sapphire is more than just an accent piece of jewelry, however; it symbolises loyalty, but at the same time it gives expression to people’s love and longing.
Are Australian Sapphires The Next Big Thing?
Although Australia has enjoyed a strong reputation for its production of quality Australian Sapphires, it has always taken third place to Sri Lankan and Kashmir sapphires. However, the Richland Resources company’s recent mining project at the Capricorn Sapphire mine in Queensland, Australia may well turn the tables, with expectations to become the largest single source of sapphire in the world. Richland Resources is the company who owned Tanzanite One. They are responsible for the ethical sourcing of Tanzanite and for the creation of the Tanzanite grading scale.
A Richland spokesperson confirmed that the mine contains large quantities of ethically mined blue, yellow, green and parti sapphire. Although the resource does not contain particularly large stones, the strength of the project is based on the supply of large quantities of verifiably origin sapphires, sought after by the international jewellery market.
Where Is The Mine Located?
The Capricorn Sapphire mine is located in Queensland, Australia. It is close to the area known as Anakie and Sapphire which are major Sapphire producing fields. The volcanic activity in the region millions of years ago is responsible for bring the Sapphires to the surface. Now the Sapphires lay underground in ancient river beads ready for mining.
Which Colour Will Be Popular
A the recent Anakie gemshow I had the change to talk to one of the representatives of the new Capricorn Sapphire mine. He mentioned to me that at the Hong Kong international Jewellery fair that Tiffany&Co. were interested in the Australian Sapphires along with a handful of other global Jewellery brands. Surprisingly, there was not much interested in the blue Sapphires from the region since they are dark and inky but there was a buzz about the Parti Coloured stones, the yellow and green Sapphires.
If we look at the way the Tanzanite gemstone was marketed and elevated into the world stage, we can only imagine what will happen to the Australia Sapphire. With big players in the Jewellery world interested in the gemstone the prices are sure to rise. Now is the time to purchase one of these amazing gemstones before the prices increase.