Factors to Consider When Buying a Top Quality Sapphire

ceylon natural blue sapphire

Buying a quality sapphire can be a straightforward process if you know what you are looking for and where. Sapphires are precious gemstones that command a high price relative to the quality of the gemstone in question. However, the problem when it comes to assessing the quality of sapphires is that, unlike diamonds, there is no official measure in determining the quality of these gemstones. We’ve all heard of the 4Cs of Diamonds, but then what about sapphires? Here will outline the ways in which sapphire quality is determined. Read on, for the factors that help determine a top-quality sapphire, that will help you find one that suits you.

How are Sapphires Certified?

When it comes to seeking and finding quality sapphires, one of the problems that hang over this process is the lack of a universal sapphire certifying authority. For example in the world of diamonds, the precious gemstone type to which sapphires are often compared, there is recognized authority: the GIA. Which analyses and certifies the quality of natural diamonds, by gauging them to the 4Cs. The 4Cs as you may know measures the quality of diamonds by studying the four key factors that determine their value: Colour, Clarity, Carat, and Cut. When it comes to sapphires, whilst these factors also help determine value apply, however, in practice, given the sheer diversity of gemstone colours with a variety of attributes, the ability to concretely determine their value. Further complicating matters is that in the world today, with numerous sapphire gem and jewellery sellers out there, who in turn have come with their arbitrary frameworks on how sapphires are valued.

So when it comes to the question of certification of sapphires, the first step to consider is how sapphire are graded. One way to approach this matter is to apply the framework that is used for grading diamonds. That of Colour, Clarity, Cut, Carat. As a gemstone that manifests many of the qualities of precious diamonds; sapphires also qualify for the standards used for carbon-based gems. So when certifying the quality of sapphires understand how to select sapphires measure in accordance with these 4 factors. Such as high colour concentration, with a single colour, that comes with higher dispersion within the stone (Colour). Look out for inconsistencies within the gemstone: these can be internal or external in nature, known by the technical term inclusions. The fewer the number of inclusions the higher the clarity of stone (Clarity).

Then we have the size of the gemstone. This is rather straightforward, when it comes to precious stones, people like to showcase its size and how it stands out from the ring. The bigger the stone the better is its quality! Though it is not all that simple, however, but a larger size (Carat) combined with other factors (Cs) makes for a great sapphire. Then we have the type of (Cut) the sapphire has been subjected to. This is interesting because the quality of the cut of the gemstone is not simply about picking a certain type. As there are a number of great Cuts: Princess, Cushion Cuts etc. However, the quality of the gemstone’s cut, which is particularly important when it comes to buying a certified polished gemstone (not the uncut “rough” variety) is depended on the other Cs. Notably the carat. However, when it comes to the quality of the cut, this will depend on the pedigree of the jeweller. Since the 4Cs of Diamonds does not directly work in the world of sapphires. As sapphires are different: their atomic character, colour range and durability differs from that of diamonds. Then we have other elements like the country of origin and the treatment of the gemstone. So there’s much to learn. However when seeking quality, certified sapphires, reputable jewellers often will be able to provide some type of report on the status of the gemstone. Which is a good reference point on the origins and the process of development of the gemstone.

Sapphire Pricing

Sapphire Pricing is a related problem that flows from the trouble the industry has when it comes to grading sapphires. Given the wide variety of sapphires, which vary in terms of colours, mineral character, the rarity of particular shades, and the country of origin. The exact way in which sapphires are priced is an interesting matter. The pricing of the sapphires is dependent first on the state of the gemstone: that is, are you buying it in a rough uncut state, or as a polished version that is ready for use in fine jewellery. Though even in the latter case the gemstone will be subjected to a number of refinements.

Notable again are the 4Cs of diamond quality that are often applied to measure the quality of sapphires, which in turn reflects the kind of price it commands in the market. Again the problem here is that given the unstructured nature of the market for sapphires, the pricing of these gemstones become subject to a host of factors, many of which are determined by the jeweller's disposition. With gemstones prices ranging from the hundreds to the thousands of dollars depending on the carat and colour of the stone. From the standpoint of you, the potential gemstone buyer, gemstone seeker etc., the best practice is to start by analysing the fundamental of the gemstone in question: How does it add up in the colour (arguably the most significant factor when it comes to sapphires), cut, carat (possibly the second most important), and clarity. And then make your assessment on the type of colour of the sapphire: Blue, Pink, White, Yellow. Which further breakdown into the many shades and tones. Notably, the Royal Blue, Cornflower Blue; and Padparadscha variants command the highest prices. So there are other factors to consider.

What’s the deal with Lab-grown Sapphires 

The advances in engineering underpinned by the research that has gone into studying the atomic character of minerals, like precious stones have made these synthetic variants possible. The ability to artificially produce sapphires have gained considerable ground in recent years. Whilst the technological breakthroughs that led to the first development of lab-grown variants goes back to the early part of the last century. However, the constant advances in this technology, along with a larger pool of companies that started to exploit this trade has meant that the supply of lab-grown or synthetic sapphire, and other gemstone variants have steadily increased. A reality that has been driven by a number of factors. One of the key drivers has been the growing concerns over the unethical practices surrounding natural gemstones. Problems that are most notable in the trade of diamonds, however, these concerns have boiled down also to the world sapphires. This is a valid concern since most of the sapphires in the world come from developing countries. Hence concerns naturally arise in relation to their sourcing, mining, and other factors that relate to the ethics of the trade. Which have driven the demand for lab-grown variants in the world diamonds. When it comes to sapphires however a key source of their appeal is their natural character. There’s something appealing about a gemstone that has been sourced from nature. So what about the presence of inclusions and colour? Natural sapphires are not perfect, and it is this imperfect character along with their natural character that draws people to them.

Pitfalls to avoiding when seeking a top-quality Sapphire

For a start do your due diligence. Not all sapphires are the same. And not everyone in the market selling sapphires gemstones or sapphire jewellery are credible. Especially in the world of online trade with countless gem stores, jewellery companies entering the mix. So when it comes to getting a top-quality sapphire, begin with the source. Who is the person or company selling you (or promising to sell you) a top of the line gemstone? What is their history? What is the range of gemstones and jewellery they are offering? In addition to the strength of their gemstone and jewellery offering, how strong is their knowledge of the gem trade? In the world of online sales content is king. But quality content in quality is even better. So ensure to have these ends covered when considering your sapphire seller Then we have actual contact with your chosen supplier. What is the attitude of the person on the other side? Buying a quality sapphire is not just about having been treated well by customer service. What are the offerings the jeweller is able to provide? What is the speed of the response? Are you able to get your key questions answered directly? What if you need to speak to a person in authority at the company. All of these factors affect the quality of the business you are dealing with, and hence the quality of gemstones they are able to offer.

The 6Cs of Sapphires

Right with all of that in the back of your mind, you might think you are all set to go. Well not quite. As noted the 4Cs as a measure of gemstone quality comes from the world diamonds. When it comes to sapphires things are a bit different. Whilst the 4Cs as the basic determinant of sapphire quality remains there are other factors that one must consider. We at Brilliyond have developed an industry-first in measuring sapphire quality: the 6Cs. So feel free to check it out.