It is not always the case that a sapphire from Kashmir, Burma or Sri Lanka is clearly better than the other. When determining the true value, it’s important to keep color, clarity, carat size and cut factors in mind. For example, if a sapphire from Sri Lanka is better in terms of color, clarity and size, then a less quality sapphire from Burma, then the Sri Lankan sapphire may seem like a better value, but because of the origin, The Burmese sapphire may have a higher ticket value. Therefore place of origin is considered a secondary determinant to the 4 C’s.
Origin is not a major factor when considering lower quality sapphires. It comes more into play when considering finer quality assortments. Kashmir sapphires are considered to be the most precious not only because of their color and purity, but also because of their exclusivity. Mining activity in Kashmir came to near complete stop by 1937. For this reason, you may not find them readily available. Although, sapphires are widely distributed gemstones, they come from multiple sources worldwide, including Sri Lanka, Myanmar (formerly Burma), Thailand and Australia. Apart from these primary sources, sapphires are also found in Madagascar, Cambodia, China, Colombia, Malawi, Nigeria, Tanzania, USA and Vietnam.
Kashmir sapphires are noticeable because of their medium to medium dark tones of violet blue to deep blue. Gray shades in sapphire is a saturation modifier reducing color concentration and brightness of the stone. Kashmir sapphires being imperial in quality have always been in demand. Although these sapphires look good under any type of light, fluorescent light makes them appear predominantly blue.
There are two characteristics that distinguish Burmese Sapphires from Kashmir ones, tone and color distribution. While range of tone in Kashmir sapphires varies from medium to medium dark, Burmese sapphires go from medium to darker tones. One can also find few lighter varieties of Burmese sapphires. While their hues tend to be similar to that of Kashmir and Sri Lankan sapphires, their color is more evenly distributed. For these reasons, Burmese Sapphires are referred to as "electric blue color".
Sri Lankan Sapphires:
In terms of prestige, Sri Lankan sapphires line up after Kashmir and Burma. These sapphires have medium to light tones of blue with uneven color distribution. Additionally, gray masking in Sri Lankan sapphires is also very common. Altogether, these factors result in lower saturation levels, reducing their overall stone quality. A benefit of Sri Lankan sapphires is that they have lighter colors and better brilliance, giving them more of a sparkle effect. This makes them highly preferable from jewelry design and personal preference perspectives.
Cambodian and Australian Sapphires:
Sapphires coming from mines of Cambodia and Australia are easy to distinguish because of their bluish violet to greenish blue hues and heavy gray masking. Their tone ranges from extremely dark to medium dark with black patch areas. Although origins play a prominent role in grading quality of gemstones, as a buyer, one should remember that a mediocre quality Kashmir sapphire cannot match a premium Sri Lankan sapphire despite their place of origin.