What is Burmese Sapphire?
Best-known for its jade and ruby, Myanmar is also home to Burmese sapphire. One of the rarest sapphires available, collectors highly value the stone for its unique hue. Featuring an intense blue color, with a slightly violet hint, Burmese sapphire draws frequent comparisons to other famous gems such as Kashmir sapphire and Ceylon sapphire.
One of the rarest gemstones on the market today, Burmese sapphire isn’t consistently mined. Much of the material enters the market through auction, or from a private collection. When natural Burmese sapphire makes its way to the auction house, these stones frequently set new records; both for Burmese sapphire and sapphire gemstones.
Determining Burmese Sapphire Value
Is Burmese sapphire valuable? The value of colored stones is typically determined by a combination of its color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. This is no different when determining what sapphire is worth. These guidelines will help you choose Burmese sapphire stones for your collection.
- Burmese Sapphire Color
For centuries we have treasured Burmese gemstones. Showcasing a regal allure with intense, bold blues, it’s easy to see why this rare sapphire stone is highly valued with world-wide renown.
Burmese sapphire is treasured for its royal blue hue. With a medium to medium-dark tone, these gems also display a slightly violet tint. Expect high saturation of color in Burmese sapphire.
- Burmese Sapphire Clarity
As a genuine gem, some inclusions are expected to be found in Burmese sapphire. Sapphire is classified as a Type II stone, meaning most specimens are likely to include some sort of inclusion. For the most part, however, these inclusions require 10x magnification or better to see. Very prominent inclusions can lower the value of a stone. Burmese sapphire from Shop LC may undergo heat treatment, and this often enhances the clarity of the stone by reducing the presence of inclusions.
- Burmese Sapphire Cut
A timeless gemstone, expect to find Burmese sapphire in both traditional and fancy cuts. The stone especially favors round and oval shapes. In fact, ovals are increasingly popular for their ability to make smaller gems look noticeably larger! The round brilliant, on the other hand, is the traditional shape for many jewels, sapphire included. It’s versatility, and popularity has enshrined its use from fashion jewelry to engagement rings.
- Burmese Sapphire Carat
At Shop LC, you will find Burmese sapphire from 10-points up to one and a half carats in size. The rarity of Burmese sapphire means that larger stones frequently command incredible prices. Generally, there is a significant increase in price for stones over one carat, growing with each additional carat of weight.
Burmese Sapphire Treatment
Occasionally, Burmese sapphire undergoes heat treatment to improve the stone’s color. This method of treatment is very good and will remain stable and permanent under routine care. Telltale signs of the stone’s treatment are specific inclusions, such as a half-burst crystal inclusions or interconnected fingerprints inclusions. Both form during the heating process and a trained gemologist can identify them with specialized instruments under high magnification.
Caring for Burmese Sapphire
One of the hardest materials available, Burmese sapphire ranks nine on the Mohs scale of hardness. Paired with excellent toughness, sapphire is one of the very best options for a durable gemstone you can wear every day.
As with most gems, caring for your stone is easy. Simply using a solution of warm water and a small amount of dishwashing soap, scrub your gem gently with a soft bristled brush, like a toothbrush. Rinse with crisp, clean water, and dry with a soft, lint-free towel.
Exposure to light won’t damage your stone, but excessive heat might. Avoid prolonged exposure to high amounts of heat. Avoid exposure to chemicals, as this may damage the surface of your sapphire stone. Ultrasonic and steam cleaning is typically safe for sapphire.
The heat treatment of your sapphire requires no specialized care. It’s recommended to store sapphire jewelry in a lined jewelry box or to wrap it in a soft cloth when not worn. This will help prevent any accidental damage and keep it clean for years of enjoyment.
Who Can Wear Burmese Sapphire?
Sapphire is one of the “Big Three” colored gemstones. Alongside ruby and emerald, sapphire is among the most popular gems in the market thanks to centuries of appreciation.
With such a long history, it should be no surprise to find that sapphire has ingratiated itself in our consciousness. A stone of sophistication and style, there’s no shortage of sapphire jewelry featuring both traditional and fancy cuts. Particularly, round and oval shapes are still the most popular way to wear sapphire gems. Classic and timeless, they have a home in collections no matter how trends change.
The popularity of colored stones in engagement rings is rising, and sapphire is leading the way! After all, a particular royal engagement ring first showed us how compelling this choice could be. Thankfully, blue sapphire is equally at home in both white and yellow metals, making it easy to find a unique piece that reflects your taste and personality.
This traditional and classic jewel works best with neutrals like black, white and beige. However, the stone plays well with other primaries, adding its voice to the chorus of color in multi-gem designs or your favorite summer outfit. A workhorse color, you have to go out of your way to find a place where blue hues don’t have a home.
Sapphire gems are also the traditional wedding anniversary gifts for both the 5th and 45th wedding anniversaries. Representing faith and fidelity, choosing sapphire is the perfect way to symbolize the journey of life from early in one’s marriage all the way to several decades of partnership!
How Does Burmese Sapphire Compare to Other Sapphire Stones?
Among sapphire stones, the names of certain locations ring with prestige. Kashmir, Ceylon, and Burma always top the list when one thinks of exquisite examples of captivating sapphire gems. These three gems define the classic blue hue of sapphire, with most other varieties slightly darker or lighter in tone. With its medium royal blue shade, it’s easy to see why this jewel is considered to be one of the definitive sapphire gemstones.
Where Does Burmese Sapphire Come From?
Unique for its geological formation, Myanmar is home to many prestigious gemstones, especially its important supply of jade and ruby. It should come as no surprise then that Burmese sapphire would also occur in a country brimming with amazing and precious gems. Specifically, our supply of this stone came from the Chaung Gyi and Pampi areas of the Mogok region of Myanmar.
Burmese sapphire only occurs in Myanmar and is very rare. Historically, only sapphire from Kashmir and Ceylon are typically considered as equals of this gem, though amazing blue sapphires can occur anywhere.
The rough for our collection was assembled over the course of a year. Through firm negotiations, Shop LC was able to acquire our supply from an ancestral collection formed over the years by a private collector. It was a rare opportunity to purchase this material, and couldn’t be passed up! Unfortunately, only around three percent of the rough stone met our standards of quality, further limiting supply.
How is Burmese Sapphire Mined?
Over the centuries a variety of techniques have been used in mining gemstones in Myanmar. The country sits on a vast wealth of mineral resources, and the people of this country have developed a variety of methods for mining rough stones from the earth.
A wide belt of metamorphic rock stretches across the Mogok region. Known as the Mogok Stone Tract, this belt covers an area more than 900 by 25 mils long! Myanmar has a rich and unique geological makeup, and within this area are found a variety of complex gem-bearing rocks. Burmese sapphire is found within pegmatites, a type of igneous rock that forms in the final stages of magma cooling and crystallization. Similar to granite or marble, the pegmatites are studded with rough gemstones as they are dug from the ground.
The people of Myanmar possess generations of mining expertise, and this is being leveraged towards increasingly mechanized extractions methods. Machines dig into the earth, creating tunnels and great pits throughout mining areas. As this soil is excavated, workers wash away dirt with high-pressure hoses. Promising host rocks are moved to be sorted as workers expertly push them around with specialized tools. After sorting, the pegmatites are broken up, and rough sapphire is removed. It will be further classified and graded, eventually to be sold to stone buyers from across the world.
Secondary alluvial deposits are also heavily combed over, as miners search over gravels and pebbles placed through natural events such as weather. Similar to exploring these deposits, a long-standing tradition of Myanmar mining practices is kanase. Kanase is the practice of going over mine waste rock from primary deposits, searching it a second time for material previously missed. Women were integral to the success of kanase, as by tradition it was only available to them. Over time, this has lead to women becoming heavily involved in stone trading in the Mogok region. Women now frequently work as stone buyers and sellers, cutters and more.
Burmese Sapphire Properties
What Does Burmese Sapphire Mean?
Just like its ‘true blue’ color, traditional sapphire lore tells us this stone represents fidelity, honesty, and a noble spirit. Also considered to be a ‘stone of heaven,’ sapphire was traditionally worn by royalty and clergy alike for its heavenly connection.
Gem therapists tout sapphire as one of the most effective stones for treating the nervous system. They believe that it also helps regulate how the thyroid gland functions. It is a stone said to enhance one’s will, providing the psychic strength to tackle any obstacle.
Disclaimer: The information presented is for information purposes only and should not replace the advice of a trained medical professional.
Is Burmese Sapphire a Birthstone?
The modern birthstone for September is sapphire, and Burmese sapphire is an iconic representation of this jewel. It’s the perfect birthstone gift for anyone with classic style or traditional values.
Burmese Sapphire Facts
- Burmese sapphire ranks nine on the Mohs scale of hardness.
- Often considered a premium stone, Burmese sapphire is known for its alluring blue color.
- Our supply of Burmese sapphire comes from Chaung Gyi and Pampi, of the Mogok Region of Myanmar (Burma).
- A heat treatment is used to improve color in Burmese sapphire.