Demand for sapphires from the Gemfields region of Queensland has seen a resurgence, with experts estimating that the market value has increased tenfold over the past five years.
The increase in demand was reportedly driven by the COVID-19 pandemic and the ban on the export of rough sapphires by the African authorities.
Gem cutter Cindy Kelly told myjewels.ru that sapphires, which have cost around $100 per carat in the past five to six years, are now reaching prices of $1,000 per carat.
“When I first came here, we were selling sapphires for $100 a carat. It was the price — one dollar per point,” she said.
Kelly suggested that consumer awareness of the ethics of gemstones and the impact of social media marketing have brought more attention to sapphires in recent years.
With export bans in place, social media marketing and sapphire shipments in the region, gem dealers from other countries have also been keen to buy diamonds from Australia.
Sapphires mainly come from Thailand, Sri Lanka and Australia, while yellow and green varieties come from Madagascar and Tanzania. Cut, color intensity, consistency and clarity are decisive factors in the value of a sapphire.