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Burmese Sapphire: A Gemstone Variety of Beryl

Burmese Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral beryl. It was first discovered in Burma and was named after the Burmese ruby mines which produced the stones. The color of Burmese sapphires is typically light to medium blue, and some have a golden yellow, apricot, or even a green tint. It's commonly cut in cabochon form with depths from 0.25 inches to 4 inches (6-10cm).

History of Burmese Sapphires

The history of Burmese sapphire began when the first roughs were brought from Burma to the United States. It is recorded that the roughs were so inky blue that they had to be put into kerosene for cleaning! The first cut stones were then graded as medium to dark blue, transparent, and with a neutral color or slightly yellowish tint. In the late 1940s, lighter-colored sapphire gems were introduced by the famous Tiffany's. It was then realized that this gemstone is so bright and with a golden yellow color that the gem has the potential of becoming more than just a gemstone variety of beryl. It's now considered to be one of the most beautiful and valuable sapphire varieties in existence.

Benefits of Burmese Sapphire

Large variety in sapphires' color: Burmese sapphires come in a wide range of hues; they can easily be mixed and matched with other gemstones to create a different look every time.

Easy availability: This gemstone is not limited to one specific location. It is now produced in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Australia by companies like Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton Group, and East Asia Gem Corporation.

Well protected: Burmese sapphire must be identified by a grade, designated by the name of the country where the gem was mined, and traceable to the source of its origin. This makes it difficult and expensive to counterfeit.

Price stability: As the source of Burmese sapphire is traceable and limited, its prices are not likely to fall dramatically. Due to this and the fact that it is a highly desired gemstone, it is believed that this gemstone will maintain its value over time.

Heat treatment: Although there are some differences in the ways Burmese sapphires are treated, they have passed the test of time with flying colors. The fact that all sapphires are treated somehow prevents the price from falling dramatically.

New treatments: The introduction of new technology makes it possible to produce new forms of treatments that are affordable and safe, as they do not require chemicals and toxic materials. These gemstones have outstanding hardness and durability, making them ideal for everyday wear.

What Makes It Special

The color of Burmese sapphire is what makes it unique. Due to its high refractive index and specific color tone, the transparency and brilliance of this gemstone are highly valued by gemstone collectors. The sky-blue gemstones are the most sought-after ones, though all showy hues, from yellows to deep blues, rank high in popularity.

Characteristics of Burmese Sapphires

  • Color: Typically medium to light blue with no traces of yellow or brown. The difference in irradiation causes color variation. The colors range from light blue to medium blue, with a dark blue to golden yellow tint.
  • Transparency: Ranges from VS1-VS2 clarity.
  • Brilliance: The cut stones have excellent brilliance.

The Cost of Burmese Sapphires

The cost of Burmese sapphires is very high in comparison to most gemstones. The price largely depends on the gems' color, clarity, and size. The vast majority of sapphires are mined in Burma. Some reports indicate that over 90% of the world's production comes from here alone.

Burmese Sapphire Treatment

Burmese Sapphire is not subjected to treatments such as heating or irradiation, which may be required for corundum gemstones to enhance colors or clarity. It's known that the color and clarity of Burmese sapphires are not affected by any treatments. Its natural characteristics make it a good choice for fine jewelry.


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