Opinion: Kashmiri Sapphires Set To Dazzle The World Again – by Shantanu Guha Ray (NDTV.com – February 26, 2024)


A decade after a 19.88-carat Kashmir sapphireshattered auction records in Geneva, the potential return of the priceless gems from the strife-torn region to global markets is on the horizon.

The cushion-shaped sapphire, known as the Star of Kashmir, surprised buyers in 2013 with a sale price of nearly $3,483,017 (approximately ₹ 20 crore). Now, officials claim that more peacock blue-coloured sapphires will be mined in the Paddar region, one of the most inhospitable terrains in the bordering state.

This resurgence in the Kashmiri economy marks a significant shift, seemingly overcoming longstanding hurdles related to mining and marketing rights. It’s reliably learned that local traders, previously resistant to outsider involvement in mining and marketing the gems, had persistently demanded exorbitant prices, hindering progress.

However, the landscape is evolving.

A pivotal moment for these sapphires came after traders from Kashmir were advised by the state-owned Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC) to adhere to global trade norms. In essence, they were advised to auction the gems, mirroring the international diamond trade, and evaluate offers from buyers. The traders have since embraced this guidance, which emanated from the Commerce Ministry through the GJEPC.

For the rest of this column: https://www.ndtv.com/opinion/kashmiri-sapphires-set-to-dazzle-the-world-yet-again-5128759