Multicolour sapphire layouts and Kashmir sapphires from the new Azad Kashmir mine in Batakundi, a town in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir, are sparking buyers’ interest, a coloured gemstone dealer said recently.
“We are seeing a lot of excitement and high demand for Kashmir sapphires from the new Azad Kashmir (Batakundi) mine. We are also seeing higher-than-usual demand for heated and unheated multicolour sapphire layouts,” according to Sam Rahmanan of New York-based Sara Gem Corporation.
Rahmanan added that his company is “doing better than usual in heated and unheated rubies.”
Founded in 1980, Sara Gem has built a solid reputation in the market for fine-quality rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Catering to jewellery houses, manufacturers and collectors, the company’s “unique balance of treated and certified untreated stones” and exciting mix of matched pairs, sets and layouts have made it one of the established names in the trade.
Sara Gem saw mixed sales results at major trade shows during the first half of the year, according to Rahmanan.
“The first half of the year was a bit slower than usual for Sara Gem. We had weaker-than-usual sales at the Las Vegas and June Hong Kong exhibitions,” he said. On a brighter note, the gemstone specialist saw stronger demand for unheated rubies of 1 to 2 carats.
Rahmanan added, “We saw active buying at the HKTDC Hong Kong and Basel exhibitions. We attribute that to higher demand from European customers at that time of the year.”
In terms of sapphire prices, Sara Gem noted a drop in demand for large heated blue stones. “Because of that, we see weaker prices for large heated sapphires,” he said. “The demand for unheated sapphires and all other gemstones that we carry, however, is slowly rising; prices are steady though.”
At the September Hong Kong Jewellery & Gem Fair, scheduled for September 13 to 17 at the AsiaWorld-Expo and September 15 to 19 at the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, Sara Gem will be presenting a few classic Kashmirs and new Azad Kashmirs. A fine selection of heated ruby and blue sapphire layouts will also be offered at the fair, Rahmanan said.
Asked if they were seeing improved demand from China, the dealer said government restrictions on international wire transfers proved to be challenging for their clients.
“Our mainland Chinese customers have a hard time sending money to our bank account and that translates into less Chinese demand at our trade exhibits,” he said.