About Australian Sapphires
Australian sapphires have a long and colourful history, one that stretches back over 150 years. The main locations where sapphires are found are the gemfields of Rubyvale and Sapphire in Central Queensland and in New South Wales around Inverell and Glen Innes on the New England tablelands. There are also smaller deposits where sapphires are found, such as "Lava Plains" in North Queensland. These gemfields have produced many exceptional gems over the years. The heyday of the Australian sapphire industry was in the 70's when many Thai buyers flocked to the gemfields to buy these beautiful gemstones. At that time and for some time after it is believed that a very large proportion of "Thai sapphires" sold on the market, by some estimates 60 to 80%, were actually Australian sapphires. The sapphire fields of Thailand had long been exhausted after hundreds and hundreds of years of mining and demand for sapphires worldwide was growing and Australia had some of the best sapphires anywhere. This is not to say that Thailand doesn't still produce a few sapphires, it's just that the quantity shall we say, isn't what it use to be. So a great many sapphires were bought up, taken back to Thailand and other countries, treated and "rebranded" and sold on the world market as "Thai sapphires".
Today, sapphire mining on these Australian gemfields is a much smaller scale affair with most activity coming from the individual miner working on his claim. The cost and complications of getting sapphire out of the ground these days have seen good Australian sapphires become much more scarce. However, lately Australian sapphires have seen a renewal of interest by the general public and people are again starting to discover these unique and totally Australian gems. Australian sapphires come in a range of colours including blue, teal, green, golden yellows (which are world renown) and the fabulous and distinctly individual "parti" colours. If you are looking for something in particular and cannot find it listed here, contact me and let me know what you are looking for and I will do my best to source it for you.
Regarding the heating of sapphires, read my thoughts here.
Please note, photographing sapphires is very challenging especially when trying to capture the beauty and interplay of colours in the "parti" sapphires. Yellows and golds are also difficult to photograph. These amazing Australian sapphires ideally need to be seen in the hand to fully appreciate just how wonderful and unique they are. I have tried my best but the camera and my abilities can only do so much. However, I have found that if you like the picture you will love the gem. To see an example of a sapphire and how different the same sapphire can look when photographed under different conditions, check out #38769-2.
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