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Remotely hidden in the lap of the spectacular snow-capped Himalayas is the highest sapphire mine in the world. However it's not the location that has earned the Kashmir gem it's legendary status, but instead the superiority of their intense soft blue and the colorfully woven history of their existence and disappearance in the early 1900's.
Originally in the late 1800's, the deposit which lies at 15,000 feet elevation produced a quantity of material that flooded the market for nearly a decade. Most people, even today, do not realize that when dealing with colored stones, the supply is limited to the small number of pockets that can be located deep within the earth's crust. These pockets of gemstones are nothing like the quantity of diamonds that exist in the world's kimberlite volcanic dikes. The London Mining Journal of June 16, 2000 reported the annual production of diamond to be more than 111 million carats. In November of 1999 Geology Today reported the 1000 mines in Mogok, Burma produced some 300,000 carats of sapphire annually. These mines have produced relatively consistent amount of gemstone for decades, where as the single mine of Kashmir has remained officially unworked since the 1930's. It wasn't until 1998 that the Jammu & Kashmir government began mining again and has reported less than 10,000 carats of total production since 1999 from which less than a fraction of a percentage is "gem" quality.
Although these statistics are crude and many other factors could give support when making a comparison of gemstone production, it is not unsubstantiated to suggest the production of sapphire makes up less than 3/10 of 1% of the diamond production and Kashmir sapphire would therefore make up less than 1% of this 1%. We say the Kashmir gem is almost as rare as chicken's teeth.
Having said this, we hope you gain some idea as to the significance of Kashmir sapphire and it's true rarity and value. We hope you will continue your research and come to the same conclusion thus adding to your knowledge and collection of this world's finest gemstone