GEMSTONE OF 2020: BURMESE SAPPHIRES
You must have heard by now. Pantone unveiled the Colour of the Year for 2020 earlier this month. Classic Blue. No fuss, no drama. Just simply, quietly, Classic Blue.
After a series of modern, creative and “woke” elections over the last few years — 2016’s “Rose Quartz” and “Serenity”, 2018’s “Ultra Violet” and this year’s “Living Coral” — the decision to mark the beginning of a new decade with Classic Blue may at first seem bland and even old-fashioned by comparison. Some people, it seems, are seeing red over this. Some people need to calm down. Which, if you think about it, makes Pantone’s choice not only a courageous one but also an essential and visionary one. Even though a part of us was rather hoping to be thrilled by another newfangled hue, on deeper thought, Classic Blue is an invitation to return to simpler times (RSVP: Yes), it’s a sign of our collective desire to bring back quietude, elegance, timelessness and connection. Classic Blue is growing on us.
Love it or loathe it, you will definitely be seeing a lot of it across cultural trends globally from fashion and home décor to Instagram feeds. In fact, fashion powerhouses like Chanel, Gucci and Givenchy have already embraced COTY 2020 in their spring/summer collections, painting the stylish streets of Paris and New York a soothing sea of Classic Blue.
In the world of jewellery, nothing says “Classic Blue” like sapphires, particularly Burmese sapphires, which are renowned for their exceptional and unbeatable shade of blue. We have a feeling these gemstones are going to be very sought after in 2020. So, whether you are planning on buying your first piece of Burmese Sapphire jewellery or your next, here’s a cheat sheet of what you ought to know/be reminded about these beautiful classic blues.
1. Top Source
Some of the world’s finest blue sapphires are mined in the famous Mogok Valley in Myanmar (formerly Burma).
2. How to Identify Burmese Sapphires
The sapphire is set apart for its crisp transparency and robust brilliance, and is highly sought after for its “Royal Blue” variations.
3. Treated vs Untreated
The oldest and most common sapphire enhancement is heat treatment, and the majority of the sapphires in the marketplace have been heat-treated or thermally enhanced in furnaces to improve a sapphire’s color, remove color zoning and improve clarity.
An untreated sapphire is natural, not lab created and has not been subjected to any chemical or heat treatments. For fine-quality sapphire, confirmation from an independent laboratory like GIA that there is no evidence of heat adds to a sapphire’s rarity and value.
4. Maintaining Your Sapphire
Sapphires are a very hard, durable gemstones, and can be cleaned with soapy water.
Famous Burmese Sapphires
Gem of the Jungle, 958 carats
A deep cornflower-blue sapphire found in 1929–30 on the surface of the earth just below the grass in Myanmar, (Burma). The purchaser Albert Ramsay cut it into nine gems weighing 66.50ct to 4.33ct.
Star of Asia, 330 carats
The cabochon cut, blue-violet star sapphire was acquired in 1961 from Martin Ehrmann. It is said that it once belonged to the Maharaja of Jodhpur.
The Rockefeller Sapphire, 62.02 carats
It was purchased in 1934 by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. from the Nizam of Hyderabad. In the 1940s, Rockefeller asked Pierre Cartier of the eponymous French jewellery house to recut the stone into this unique shape and mount it for his wife, Abby. In 2001, it was sold for US$3,031,000 in 2001 at Christie’s in New York.
Photography: The Canary Diamond Co