S OMEWHAT jokingly, we were going to name this 225 carat rough sapphire the “The Lion Of Judah” because I initially thought it was perhaps the first noteworthy golfball sized sapphire-crystal of deep-blue lusciousness to originate from the new Ethiopian Aksum sapphire-fields. My eyes nearly popped-out of my head when I first saw it.
However, reality bites. And bites hard. And it is turning out to be a 225 carat headache.
Currently, this massive sapphire is natural and unheated. The gorgeous blue color-hue, with slight-purple overtones in one direction of orientation, is as depicted in the photos, however, the saturation is too dark. The photos are back-lit to show the color-hue positions, and perhaps the possible potential for this sapphire.
The crystal is clean from mineral-inclusions, but has two cracks, although not from side-to-side, meaning it must be sawn into two pieces and ground-down a bit.
The sapphire needs to be heated to lighten the color. However, the casino of the sapphire-heating business is littered with winners and losers, and currently no one will offer on a cracked expensive sapphire from a new-mine that they have no experience of heating.
So how do you sell a pricey, tricky large sapphire from a brand-new deposit? You can’t—at least at this point in time. Currently, this sapphire is essentially untradeable as its value is unfathomable. But does this mean it is has no value? In weeks or months time, when and if, people can heat this sapphire, it could command a huge price tag.
While this individual sapphire is interesting, it is also a case-in-point—and demonstrates the risks and challenges the sapphire-industry will face over the next few months as it grapples with new materials from the Aksum Sapphire Fields. Small fortunes will be won and lost, and probably some large ones too.
For this sapphire, a pressing issue on my mind is does the purple-color mean chromium content? And is this one of the several keys to divining whether this sapphire’s upcoming and literal trial-by-fire will open-up a lighter color to yield jewels of beauty and enormous value, or, will the color close-up, go dark, and have to be thrown to the depths of the fishtank-of-horrors alongside other unmentionably costly mistakes?
Time will tell.