The marketing of Australian sapphires has for most of it's history been handled by agents and interests outside Australia, to the detriment of Australian producers. 

As far back as 1902, Mr B Dunstans (Government Geologist) reportedly  quoted from a letter written by a firm of lapidaries in Geneva " Fine sapphires, equal to those from Burma have been found amongst the Australian gemstones. Most of these are sent to Germany by dealers, where they are sorted. The best gems are afterwards sold separately under another name, and the inferior lots sold as Australian". This misrepresentation still continues today.

Today buyers from Thailand are a major consumer of Australia's sapphire production. Invariable the better grade is processed in the Thai cutting factories and sold on as stone from Thailand , Burma or Sri Lanka. Only the lowest grades are sold as Australian.

This has to be seen as a deliberate ploy to undermine the value of Australian sapphires and to perpetuate a widely held but false perception about Australian stones. To even further misrepresent the quality of Australian sapphire the budget jewellery market has witnessed very low grade stones sold as Australian Midnight Blue. These stones do not come from Australia. The most likely source is Vietnam or China.

Thailand, Burma and Sri Lanka are still widely perceived as major sources of Sapphire. The truth is that most of the commercial deposits in these countries have been depleted for years and stone that is sold as coming from these sources is really renamed material for other countries with Australia and Madagascar being the most probable sources of the better quality material.

Recent years have seen Australian producers start to take a more active role in the marketing and promotion of the quality Sapphires that they produce. This site is just part of the effort to correct the misrepresentations of the past and strive to provide a true picture of the quality of sapphires produced in Australia

Update on disclosure issues within Australia

In 2002/03, miners have witnessed an almost complete boycott of Australian rough sapphire by the Thai buyer. The boycott is in retaliation against efforts by some of the Australian producers to achieve viable prices that will at least cover the increased costs of mining the rough sapphire.

This approach by the Thai buyers is very short sighted. If it continues it will cause a cessation of large scale sapphire mining in Australia. There is no point in producing sapphire if the mining costs are not covered. 

The longer term consequences of this could well be that the only large scale sapphire mining will be from the lower quality deposits of Africa and China. Once the Thai's have exhausted their stockpiles of quality rough where will the quality sapphire come from ?  Will the Australian sapphire boycott remain in place ?

genuine sapphire - made by nature


An Information Resource on the Australian Sapphire Industry