Blue sapphire breaks global record at £5m auction

Natural stone, part of a collection taken from the island nation’s Great Indian Ocean Jade National Park, is said to be the biggest in the world Divers have discovered the largest natural blue sapphire…

Blue sapphire breaks global record at £5m auction

Natural stone, part of a collection taken from the island nation’s Great Indian Ocean Jade National Park, is said to be the biggest in the world

Divers have discovered the largest natural blue sapphire in the world, a discovery that has blown the mind of experts and confirmed that Indian Ocean reefs are loaded with highly sought-after jewels.

The gem is part of a collection taken from Sri Lanka’s Great Indian Ocean Jade National Park in 1999, with the government reportedly announcing it was selling the stone “to the highest bidder” after a joint trial with auction house Christie’s.

With dimensions of up to 53cm (22in) across the bottom and 29cm (12in) across the middle, the ruby is so rare that it has sparked international news coverage from more than a dozen countries.

The stones have been touted as the biggest such natural blue, which would have given it the distinction of being the world’s “most pristine”, alongside blue sapphires from the Marshall Islands, parts of Africa and Australia.

The highest bids have reportedly come from Hong Kong, Taiwan and Malaysia.

To date, no gem this valuable has been auctioned in Sri Lanka, a country renowned for its pearls and rubies, but it has appeared on an American jewellery company’s website with a starting price of £5m.

The earlier said it had got hold of blue sapphires weighing up to seven carats, some as big as a small orange. “It is absolutely breathtaking,” Kerry Murnaghan, who works with global jewellery brands, told the Guardian. “There is nothing like it on Earth.”

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