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Comprehensive Gemstone Information

 

Sapphire - The Most Popular Colored Gemstone

Valuing Sapphires

There are many varieties and qualities of sapphires. No two sapphires are the same. As with all other gemstones, quality always equals value. Here are some guidelines in selecting your dream sapphire.

Color

Color Is The Most Important Factor In Determining A Sapphire’s Value

Intensity, uniformity and purity of color are the most important considerations when making a decision about the purchase of a Blue Sapphire.

Fine Blue Sapphires should not contain any overtones or secondary colors. These will lessen the beauty of sapphire. The overall beauty of the stone will depend on the cutting. But the shades of color under different lighting conditions will manifest differently under different cutting scenarios.

Dark Blue Sapphires will appear black under low light settings, while fine Blue Sapphires will maintain their color in any light setting. Blue Sapphire jewelry remains one of most sought after jewelry types with rings, earrings, pendants and Sapphire necklaces. These will make a beautiful addition to any jewelry collection but also a fairly sound investment.

Carat Weight

The Carat Weight Of Sapphires Greatly Affects Per Carat Prices

Large sapphires of high quality are rare and highly prized. Any high quality piece above fifteen Carats is considered extremely rare. As the Carat weight of a sapphire increases, so does its price per Carat. Large sapphires are many times rarer than smaller sapphires, meaning carat prices increase disproportionately - a five Carat sapphire is worth many times more than five one Carat sapphires of a comparable quality.

Freedom From Inclusions

Ideally, a sapphire should allow the free transmission of light throughout its body without hindrance. The ideal stone is “crystal clear”. In practicality, the clarity found in sapphires tends to be less than that found in many other gemstones such as diamonds.

Shape & Cut

Faceted sapphires are found in a variety of shapes and styles. Ovals and cushion cuts are the most common cuts. But other shapes such as emerald cuts and hearts are not uncommon.

Slight premiums are levied upon round cut sapphires due to the higher carat weight loss of expensive rough crystal during cutting. Conversely, discounts are often applied to the value of both pear and marquise cuts.

A perfectly cut sapphire should exhibit good symmetry and polish conditions, facets should be aligned straight in relation to the gem’s girdle and also to each other, polish condition should be good with no visible surface pits or polishing lines.

Cabochons are the most common form of cut seen in sapphire. Often used to develop and display asterism in star sapphires, cabochon cuts are most regularly applied to those sapphires whose clarity is not ideal for faceting. Well-cut proportioned cabochons with good symmetry that are semi-transparent with smooth un-cracked domes are the ideal.

Heat Treatment of Sapphires

Most sapphires in the market today have been subjected to high temperatures called heat treatment. This age-old practice is said to have originated in Sri Lanka some 2,000 years ago. People from Thailand are said to have perfected this technique in modern days.

Sapphires are heated at high temperatures to improve their clarity and to intensify their colors. The proportion of unheated sapphires on the market is small and is widely thought to be less than 1%. Although no more beautiful, their rarity makes them highly collectable and prices are set at a premium, sometimes fetching triple the price paid for an equivalent heated sapphire.

When purchasing unheated sapphires, be aware that unheated material is rare. Purchase from a reliable supplier whom you can trust.  Have the seller’s claim verified by a qualified expert or gem lab.

Next: Jewelry Design with Sapphire

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[Sapphire Page 1 ] [Sapphire Page 2 ] [Sapphire Page 4 ]

See Also:

Products with Sapphire

Therapeutic Properties of Sapphire

Gemstone Infocenter Home

Gift Selections incorporating Gemstones

Guide to Caring for Gemstones

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