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‘Kashmir-like’ Sapphires from Madagascar Entered Gem Trade – SSEF

Recently , the Swiss Gemmological Institute (SSEF) cautioned about ‘Kashmir-like’ sapphires from Madagascar are entering the gem trade in large sizes and quantities.

This trade alert focuses on those sapphires from a new deposit at Bemainty, near the small town of Ambatondrazaka in Madagascar which have a ‘Kashmir-like’ visual appearance. They are characterised by a subtle and fine milkiness, which results in a velvety blue colour as is known from top-quality Kashmir sapphires. Unfortunately, many of these new sapphires are accompanied by gemmological reports describing them as being of Kashmir origin. Having recently tested an important number of such ‘Kashmir-like’ sapphires submitted by clients and ranging in weight from 5 to 50 ct, we have to conclude that many of these gems of so-called Kashmir origin actually originated from the new deposit near Bemainty/Ambatondrazaka in Madagascar.

These findings are based on meticulous microscopic observations, and also on an array of sophisticated scientific methods, including Raman microspectrometry, UV-Vis absorption spectrosopy, Xray fluorescence and GemTOF for trace element concentration.

The arrival of large quantities of new sapphires of Kashmir-like appearance is challenging for the gem market and gemmological laboratories alike, especially as we know that some of these Madagascar sapphires are being purposely introduced into the gem market with fraudulent claims of historic Kashmir provenance.

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