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J&K to globally market 63-gm

J&K to globally market 63-gm sapphire crystal

Buoyed by high demand of its sapphire, Jammu and Kashmir  government is all set for marketing the 63.60 gram sapphire crystal among other crystals globally.

"We will seek global buyers for our (63.60 grams) sapphire crystal besides others in international market. There is huge price for sapphire crystals in global market," state's Industries and Commerce Minister Sajad Kitchloo told PTI.

The state is eagerly looking for buyers from both global as well as national diamond markets for its 63.60 grams sapphire crystal and had kept the gem for sale in two open auctions in here, but low cost bids put its sale on hold.

In the mid May this year, a rare 19.88 carats cushion- shaped sapphire from Kashmir called 'Star of Kashmir' had fetched a whopping USD 3.5 million (above Rs 20.2 crore at current exchange rate), smashing all records.

Estimated to fetch between USD 2.5 million and USD 3.05 million, the 'Star of Kashmir' sapphire sold for over USD 3.48 million, with a price of USD 175,202 per carat in Geneva.

In december 2012, a ring with a Kashmir sapphire sold for USD 1.37 million at a Christie's auction in New York, significantly more than auction estimates. The deep blue, cushion-cut gem weighs 8.91 carats and was sold for USD 154,000 per carat.

The previous world record price per carat for a sapphire was set on 31 May 2011 in Hong Kong, when a pair of cushion-cut Kashmir sapphires and diamond earrings were sold for USD 145,339 per carat.

In the working season of 2010-2011, one rough sapphire corundum was recovered from sapphire mines in Paddar belt of Kishtwar district. It included one piece of a 63.60-grams sapphire crystal.

J&K government had also sought opinion of experts from the National Mineral Development Corporation (NMDC).

"Experts of NMDC opined that the same is likely to fetch the price in crores of rupees in biggest national & International markets," a senior J&K Minerals Ltd official said.

For this purpose, the services of Gems and Jewellery Export, Promotion Council of India has been availed by the state's Department of Minerals.

"They have valued the 63.60-gm crystal at Rs 5 crore," the official said.

The sapphire mine at Paddar is being operated on small scale and the recoveries of rough sapphire corundum are being put to sale through open auction.

In 2009, the Department made extraction of 3,913 grams of sapphire corundum, followed by 4,502 grams in 2010-11, 8,820 grams in 2011-12 and 4,520 grams in 2012-13.

Of this, they sold in open auction 12,330.470 grams in 2009-10, 5,799.640 grams in 2011-12 and 4,281.64 grams in 2012-13, respectively.

It has generated revenues of Rs 74.70 lakh in 2009-10, Rs 82.29 lakh in 2011-12, Rs 43.28 lakh in 2012-13 and Rs 50 lakh in 2013-14.

Famous across the world for its unique Peacock Neck blue colour, Kashmir Sapphire (gem-stone) will come back to the international market on large scale, as the state government has floated global tenders for its extraction in Paddar valley of Kishtwar district last month.

The extraction of the sapphire began in 1885 in mines at Padder and achieved legendary status in the jewellery world. The gems mined during this period are valued highly and usually fetch enormous prices around the world.

"Their colour holds up in all kinds of light, which experts describe as a magical property, as compared to other fine sapphires such as Burmese stones which lose their rich colour in the evening light," the official said, adding that the presence of microscopic inclusions in the stone gives it a magical 'velvety' effect, creating a soft and yet strong colour.

J&K government owned company JKML, which extracts minerals during two months of summers, had accumulated huge quantity of raw sapphire known as corundum, which were sold in these auctions, which which attracted buyers from as far as South East Asia.
 

 
     
 
   
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