Zawadi Sapphire is a beautiful, natural gemstone from Kenya with a rare golden sheen. A true ‘gift from the earth’, Zawadi Sapphire embodies a gem’s quintessential ideals: unique beauty, genuine rarity and everyday durability.
Aptly named Zawadi Sapphire (‘zawadi’ is a Swahili word meaning ‘gift’ from the earth), this gem is also known as Golden Sheen Sapphire. Swahili is one of the languages spoken in Kenya. Zawadi Sapphire was named by Jeffery Bergman SSEF BGC, esteemed gemologist and gem trader, in December 2014, in homage to its origin, rarity and beauty.
Relatively unknown, Zawadi Sapphire is a beautiful, opaque gemstone characterized by an attractive bronze, golden sheen that shimmers across the gem’s dark chocolate body color. Visually unique, Zawadi Sapphire has an appearance somewhat reminiscent of the rare Black Star Sapphire from Bang Kha Cha in Thailand’s Chanthaburi Province. The rare golden sheen of Zawadi Sapphire has a medium saturation and deep tone, and is caused by inclusions of Hematite and Rutile.
Due the opacity of Zawadi Sapphire, a superior polish that maximizes the gems’ luster is absolutely critical. It took over one and a half years to develop the lapidary for Zawadi Sapphire, which required trial and error to correctly orientate and polish the crystals.
Tanzim Khan, a gemstone trader with 25 years’ experience, is the person responsible for bringing Zawadi Sapphire to the marketplace. Specializing in sourcing rough gemstones direct from mines in Africa, he immediately saw the gem’s full potential. Attracted to Zawadi Sapphire’s beautiful shimmering effect, its natural provenance, and ability to retain beauty in a variety of light sources, Tanzim and the mine owner have worked hard to establish this stunning new Sapphire.
The birthstone for September, Sapphire is a truly mesmerizing gemstone with a rich history, potent symbolism, and a popularity spanning over 2,500 years. Ruby and Sapphire are color varieties of the mineral Corundum (crystalline aluminum oxide), which derives its name from the Sanskrit word for Rubies and Sapphires, ‘kuruvinda’. Trace amounts of elements such as chromium, iron and titanium as well as color centers are responsible for producing Corundum’s rainbow of colors.
Only discovered in 2010, Zawadi Sapphire is mined in Kenya close to the border with Somalia. The exact mine location remains a closely guarded secret. The mine is ostensibly depleted, yielding no good quality rough in almost two years. Zawadi Sapphire has mainly appeared free size, making calibrated gems suitable for jewelry exceedingly rare.
Most mining occurred in early 2013 and the last production of several hundred kilos yielded only two to three percent of material displaying the coveted golden sheen effect. While individual gems of up to 100 carats have been cut, most Zawadi Sapphire ranges from 0.5 to 10 carats.
With close to 99 percent of all Corundum (Ruby and Sapphire) enhanced or treated, Zawadi Sapphire’s most important attribute, aside from its unique beauty, is the fact that it is a totally natural gemstone not treated or enhanced in anyway.
Durability & Care
One of the world’s hardest gemstones (Mohs’ Hardness: 9), Zawadi Sapphire is an excellent choice for everyday jewelry. Zawadi Sapphire should always be stored carefully to avoid scuffs and scratches. Clean with gentle soap and lukewarm water, scrubbing behind the gem with a very soft toothbrush as necessary. After cleaning, pat dry with a soft towel or chamois cloth.