Sapphire Gemstones Buying Guide
Posted on January 25 2021
Sapphire Gemstone Buying Guide
The September Birthstone, Sapphire, is one of the most precious gemstones. It is made from conundrum mineral and is famous for its striking blue color and other color varieties.
The Sapphire Gemstone is considered as one of the Big Three, along with Ruby and Emerald. It became distinguished because of Princess Diana’s glorious engagement ring!
With this sapphire gemstone buying guide, we are here to help you choose the perfect C’s (color, cut, clarity and carat weight) for your beautiful Sapphire Gemstone!
Without any further ado, let’s go on to the significant factors we have mentioned below that you should keep in mind before purchasing a Sapphire Gemstone!
According to traditions, the Sapphire gemstone symbolizes truth, sincerity, nobility, and faithfulness.
People in ancient times would use it to decorate the robes of the royalty and their clergy!
They also believed that this Gemstone was a symbol of royalty and romance.
The people of Ancient Greek and Rome believed that the Blue Sapphire could protect them from envy and harm!
Sapphire's hard appearance makes them less prone to scratches and suitable for use in Jewellery.
These gems also have the characteristic of Pleochroism, which is displaying two different colors when viewed from different angles.
Sapphire Gemstones have originated from Sri Lanka.
Fine Sapphire stones are from Kashmir (India), Mogok (Burma), Madagascar, Thailand, and Cambodia.
The infamous deep blue Sapphires come from China, Vietnam, Australia, Nigeria, Laos, and a few other locations.
The only two locations that have a significant impact on the prices of Sapphires are Burma and Kashmir. Sapphires from these places are the best in the world.
The Four C’s of Sapphires:
Before deciding on the best color, it is a must to know all the options you have!
And when you are looking at the different colors, you should keep in mind to consider three things:
Saturation means the quantity of color present in the gem.
A clear gemstone will have little saturation, and a vibrant one would comprise a high level of saturation! It refers to the opacity of the gemstone.
The tone of a Sapphire gemstone gives you an idea of the darkness and lightness of the color present in the gemstone.
The hue of the gemstone refers to the actual color of the Sapphire. Blue Sapphires are more sought-after and desired amongst all the different colors of Sapphires!
Here are some color choices for you to keep in mind:
This elegant and refined color is very hard to find, so if you have a chance to get your hands on it, don’t make the mistake of giving it up!
The presence of Chromium and Titanium is the reason behind the purplish hue in Purple Sapphires.
Although these come from the same mineral, conundrum, like other sapphires, The red ones come in the same category as Rubies as they contain high levels of Chromium.
These are on the more lively and bright side. The yellow hue is due to trace elements of iron present during the formation of the gemstone.
Green Sapphires provide options of lime green and dark forest green.
This hue of the Sapphire Gemstone symbolizes honesty, truth, and integrity. This hue is due to the presence of iron in the formation of the stone.
As mentioned above, these are the most sought-after Sapphires because of their deep blue color and the way they blend in with white and gold diamonds!
A heating treatment to bring out the deep and vibrant blue color, followed by another treatment, only for blue Sapphires, called the “Diffusion treatment,” to enhance the existing color.
By applying another thin layer of color over the surface of the gemstone for a deeper color.
Like diamonds, these Sapphire gemstones are very rare but cost less as compared to their colored counterparts.
The reason behind the lack of color in these gemstones is that they did not come in contact with foreign elements during their formation.
The Padparadscha Sapphire:
Apart from the famous blue sapphire, there is another infamous Sapphire that people go after! It’s the Padparadscha Sapphire, which is difficult to find.
It has a pinkish-orange color and was discovered in Sri Lanka. It is sold for $20,000 per carat!
This Sapphire took up its name from the Sanskrit word “Padma raga,” meaning lotus color.
Fancy Pink Sapphire:
These Sapphires come third in the list of most sought-after Sapphires, after the Blue and Padparadscha Sapphire, and are in either Burma or Sri Lanka.
If the amount of chromium in a pink sapphire increases by a considerable quantity, then it would start appearing as a ruby!
Diamonds have an extensive standardized color grading system.Whereas, Sapphires have no similar technique to access color across the board.
So in the case of Sapphire Gemstones, it depends on the buyer’s choice and judgment to determine which color is more pleasing to the eye.
Unlike diamonds, Sapphires do not have a standardized cut.
Instead, you depend on the Gem Cutter to bring out the magnificence of every individual Sapphire's extraordinary combination of color, clarity, and gloriousness.
The cut, shape, and size of sapphire are all significant factors that play an essential part in the stone's aesthetics.
A Sapphire that is well-cut is bound to be proportional and reflects light at suitable angles to enhance the stone’s glint.
Here are the things you should look out for:
Window or Fisheye:
When the gemstone is cut too shallow, and light escapes the gem instead of reflecting the eye, it is a window or fisheye cut.
You can check for this if you can read a newspaper through the surface of your gemstone.
Symmetry is an important aspect to consider for the entire appearance of the gemstone. The stone should not appear lopsided.
The culet is the pointy part at the bottom of the gemstone. If not appropriately positioned in the middle of the stone, then it can create a window in the gem.
It is important when cutting a Sapphire to offset the culet if there is an inclusion there, to remove it.
The most popular shapes of Sapphires are:
There is another unique cut, the cabochon cut, which makes the sapphire appear as a smooth oval, convex dome and show off the star sapphire’s asterism in the best way!
While purchasing, if you find a Sapphire with inclusion or imperfections, do not fear; these flaws prove that the Sapphire is a genuine one and not a fake or treated gemstone.
A genuine sapphire without any inclusions is very rarely found, and if found, it is costly.
Sapphires are checked to be eye clean, which means that the naked eye detects no inclusion.
With many gemstones, inclusions are considered to be negative.
In the case of asterism (star stone effect), inclusions are considered a positive when the light reflects off the silk; a star effect is created, making the sapphire appear to have a three or six-point star on the stone's face.
The Asterism effect is rare and increases the price of the stone.
The majority of the Sapphires, especially the blue Sapphires, are heat-treated to enhance their appearance; the result is entirely stable colored stones.
The known treatments of Sapphire Gemstones are:
- Beryllium Treatment
- Surface Diffusion
- Fissure Filling with Glass
Fine quality stones that are untreated, sell for 50% more when compared with treated stones of the same quality!
The cheapest gemstones available are the fissure filled sapphires that consist of cobalt glass to improve their colour.
As gemstones have a variety of colors and shapes, they also come in different densities!
Sapphires are usually heavier than diamonds, which means a 1-carat sapphire will be smaller than a 1-carat diamond.
It is recommended to measure the size of the Sapphire using millimeter diameter, where the rule states that a 1-carat Sapphire is usually 6 millimeters.
Synthetic or Lab-created Sapphires:
It is essential to know that these types of Sapphires are not fake, in fact it's quite the opposite. They are 100% real.
The only difference between these and a natural sapphire is that these are created in a tightly controlled lab after following a recipe.
In contrast, natural Sapphires formed for hundreds of years in a natural environment.
Synthetic and Natural Sapphires only have minor differences, with one being that natural sapphires comprise flaws and stains while Synthetic Sapphires are flawless.
Another difference between the two is that Synthetic Sapphires are more affordable and come in a variety of shapes as compared to natural Sapphires.
These are what you should look out for! Imitation Sapphires are made from colored glass, tourmalines, garnets, and other dyed materials.
These Sapphires can be distinguished as they do not reflect light like natural or synthetic Sapphires. Imitation Sapphires also do not have any inclusions and are completely clear.
Certifications of Sapphires:
It is important that while you are purchasing the stones, you ask for a certificate that confirms the jeweler’s statement about the Sapphire’s quality and authenticity.
The most reliable source of certification is the G.I.A that is the Gemological Institute of America.
Another tip to keep in mind is that high-quality Sapphires come from Sri Lanka and Kashmir so that you can ask the jeweler about the stone's origin and written proof confirming it.
Where to buy Sapphire Gemstones?
Whereas, the internet will provide you with plenty of options to choose from. It is also impossible to get the real appearance of the gemstone, as pictures vary in real due to lighting and editing.
It is also not possible to see how the gemstone would look when adorning it. So in our opinion it is best to buy after viewing it in real, to avoid any loss.
Price Range of Sapphire Gemstones:
When purchasing these gemstones, you will notice a wide range of prices. Prices of these gemstones differ according to the quality of every individual stone.
Untreated and natural stones are rare and more expensive.
All stones are different and so their prices vary. A stone of good quality from a famous source is also likely to be costly.
According to their quality, Sapphires can cost for as low as $25 per carat and as high as $11,000 per carat.
A blue sapphire around 1 carat is likely to cost somewhere between $450 to $1,600 depending on quality.
The 4 C’s mentioned above in our Sapphire gemstones buying guide will help you choose the best Sapphire Gemstone and play an important role in determining their prices. Especially the color of the Gemstone.
Lab-created and synthetic Sapphires are most likely cheaper than natural Sapphires as the latter are rare and more in demand.
We hope you found our Sapphire gemstone buying guide useful.
Remember, before purchasing a sapphire gemstone, focus on the color, check the treatment, ignore minor inclusions, and compare other colors and designs!
When it comes to finding the right gemstone for you, we prefer the Padparadscha Sapphire over all other colors, due to its unique color and rare nature.
We recommend you pick whatever gemstone you find appealing, and analyze it through your eye, follow our guide, and ask for the G.I.A certificate from the jeweler.
At the end of the day, the type, color, or origin of the Sapphire does not matter more than your happiness.
Once you're done with this, you're going to have the best Sapphire gemstone, which you can flaunt on your big day or gift your loved ones to cherish the love and memories forever!