When dealing with high-priced sapphires, none of them will be identified or have its value assessed without its country of origin eventually becoming known. There are significant differences in the values of sapphires from Kashmir, Sri Lanka, and Australia because each locality has its own characteristic beauty and tradition associated with it, and because there are considerable variations in mining production. Differences in the environment during crystal formation affect which trace elements are present in a stone, as well as its transparency, significantly influencing beauty. For gem-quality ruby, sapphire, and emerald, country of origin is indeed the decisive value factor. Now more than ever, it is important for gemstone dealers to confirm country of origin when conducting transactions, to ensure the reliability of their production and so that they can properly present their merchandise to the consumer.


Companies that sell rough need to know the past and present major sources of gemstones, as well as what qualities come from which veins of which mines, because production quantities control market prices. In 1993, the market was shaken when the mainstream of ruby supply abruptly changed from Thailand to Mong Hsu, Myanmar. This shift caused concern among the dealers in Bangkok, who worried about how consumers would react to material from the new locality. Today, most dealers have made the conversion to the Mong Hsu rubies, though there are some merchants who insist on staying with the Thai material. Although both are the same gemstone, they cannot be mixed because of differences in their coloration.

As can be seen in the case of high-ticket merchandise re-entering the market, country-of-origin certification increases the reliability of gemstones. One of the challenges to the world gemstone trade is for gemological research facilities to improve their ability to determine country of origin.

Most of the gemstones shown on these pages are of gem quality, with appearances characteristics of their various countries of origin.