Feature Gems & Gemology, Summer 1983, Vol. 19, No. 2

Kashmir Sapphire

The unique beauty of gem sapphires from Kashmir has brought fame to a locality about which little has been reported in recent years. After an initial burst of activity 100 years ago, the production of these gemstones has slowed to a trickle and the majority of the corundum from these mines today is of industrial grade. Despite evidence of other gem mineral occurrences in the area, difficult terrain and political factors have impeded their exploitation. This article, the result of an expedition to the deposits in 1981, chronicles the history of the Kashmir mines, describes the characteristics of the sapphires found there, and examines the outlook for the future of this area.