jewel in India's crown lies at latitude 33° 25' 30"N
and longitude 76° 23' 15"E.
The glory days of Kashmir sapphire was a 100 years ago. Original
accounts by Edward Streeter and Albert Ramsey are finest reports
The economic policies of the local government and political
conflict prevent further exploration. Every
year since 2002, the J&K Minerals department publicizes
a global tender. The Indian gemstone & jewelery
trade feel this is simply a "Kashmir" promotion
The local government did not visit the mining area from 1998
to 1998. The intensity of fighting was the greatest.
The J&K Minerals Ltd. with direct A.M.B. visited
the mines in 1998. The team learned that local smugglers
had taken advantage of the mines. Original tunnels had been
damaged and tools abandoned.
The directors team of miners and geologist cleaned the debris
and surveyed the area. Police towers were placed in
key access points with soldiers ordered to "shoot to
kill" any suspicious people. A fair weather
vehicular road was built to the town of Atholi. This
road shortened the walking distance to less than 6 days. Lastly,
they purchased IKONOS satellite imagery of the ridge which
is slightly better than Google Earth. The final step
would be to mechanize the operation and begin digging the
The minerals department has one operable drill with compressor
and a small team to work. The weather permits about
60-70 days of mining activity per year. The State
Treasury claimed a deposit of two kilograms between 1998 and
2002, but more in later years. Although very little
is facet grade. Seventeen kilograms were sold at auction
a few years ago. The quality was mixed. A few nice,
but small size stones, were sold.
The mining department is currently attempting to access the
vein from several locations on the ridge approximately 100
meters apart. They are connecting the different tunnels.
Cap Beesley, the former President of AGL company in
NY created confusion by labeling stones as "'Classic
Kashmir" and or "New Kashmir. Kashmir has
only one sapphire mine. The Kashmir sapphire mine is
above the village of Soomjam. The mine, like every deposit
in the world, produces a range of quality from more commercial
to the world's finest gems.