Last year we saw an increase in those wanting to design their engagement rings with large Queensland sapphires in blues, teals, and greens. We thought it was about time we had a deeper dive into these stunning gems that we are lucky to have right here on our doorstep.
Sapphires in Central Queensland were first discovered in modern times by 1873 by Archibald John Richardson, a surveyor hailing from England. Mining operations began in the 1890s, with most of the finished gems being exported to Germany for cutting, to then be sent to Russia, as the deep inky blues were in demand there until about WWI.
In the mid-1900s there were large mining operations that were producing sapphires in great numbers, however, later in the 20th century these deposits were exhausted, and today Queensland sapphires are generally mined by smaller family-run operations. Most Queensland sapphires are in alluvial layers within the earth, so miners generally dig shafts down to these layers, before extracting the alluvial gravel, and then washing and sieving it on the surface to separate the sapphires out.
Now the all-important historical stuff is out of the way, let’s talk about the actual sapphires. It is well known that Queensland produces amazing sapphires, and often in quite large sizes. Most of our engagement ring clients aim for at least a 1ct stone, with some even wishing to go larger. Queensland Sapphires are very affordable stones when compared to other gemstones. A 1ct Queensland sapphire may be between $1000-$2000, whereas a diamond this size would be upwards of $10,000. Of course, colour, cut and clarity do still come into play, but we can generally find a stone that suits your needs.
One of our favourite things that we are discovering about the Queensland teal sapphires is that depending on the lighting they may be a different colour. It’s like magic! Would you believe that the pictures at the top of the page are of the same sapphire!? It’s all wishy-washy science stuff as to why they do this, but we are just so pleased that they do!
And if you needed another reason to go towards a Queensland Sapphire for your next piece, we always have a huge range in many shapes and sizes in stock. Nicole buys them feverishly with excuses such as ‘we don’t have this exact colour’ or ‘I don’t think we have this particular shape in this size’. So if we don’t have exactly what you’re after, we will definitely look forward to sourcing your dream stone!