Checklist for buying a Top Quality Natural Sapphire

oval shaped natural blue sapphire

Buying a top-quality sapphire may seem like a straightforward process today. With the growth in the online gem and jewellery traders, the entry of newer sapphire trading nations; all of which have added to the supply of this precious gemstone. This means the opportunity of getting hold of this much sought-after gemstone may not be too difficult for those seeking a quick purchase. However, this is where things get tricky. The abundance of a certain variety of gemstones on the market does not imply the prevalence of quality. When one is seeking precious gemstones, which, depending on who you are talking to, often involves a relatively large investment. This means that getting the purchasing decision right, getting your money’s worth, and ensuring the top quality of the product requires a bit of study. Here we will provide a checklist that you need to be aware of when going for a top-quality sapphire.

Do research on your Jeweller's Credentials

This point cannot be stressed enough. Given the plethora of many online, and brick and motor gem stores that are out there, it is very easy to get confused and overwhelmed by the sheer number of gem buying options, and the vast range of sapphires they promise to sell you. However, being able to promise you one thing and being able to deliver on those expectations is a different matter. When it comes to the world of gemstones, the idea of the quality of the sapphire, the authenticity of the jeweller, and the reliability of their support services are all key factors that need to be considered, when assessing your destination for gemstones. When it comes to this type of gemstone, the factors that determine its quality are quite varied, and the chances of getting it wrong, when it comes to acquiring a top-quality sapphire: one that scores highly on the 6Cs of Sapphires (see below) is quite high. As a first step, start by assessing the quality of the sapphire range and matching that with the credentials of the jeweller who provides them.

Ask for an Independent Lab Report for the Sapphire

Quality gem stores and jewellers that trade in sapphire are often also in the business of trading in diamonds. And the good ones are often certified by the GIA. In the world of sapphires, certified jewellers and gem companies often will be able to produce a specific lab report on the gemstone of your choice. An informative document that breaks down key factors of the sapphire stone: including the cut, shape, colour, colour range, country of origin, dimensions etc.

Do your jeweller carry their own Sapphire inventory

Following on from the above, a key point when it comes to assessing the quality of the gemstones is another jeweller-related factor. Presuming that you are buying a sapphire from a jeweller, and not a gem merchant, or a gem company that does not engage in the business of fine jewellery. In such instances is important to note that companies that trade in top-quality gemstones and are also in the business of jewellery making and trade, often are able to provide a wide range of jewellery options, that take advantage of the beauty and glow of sapphires and other gemstones. In the world of fine jewellery, this important means being able to provide highly valued engagement rings: arguably the top choice in fine jewellery. Traders who are engaged in the business of engagement rings, at least the good ones, often manage a relatively large inventory of quality gemstones. Which are not only limited to sapphires and diamonds but also include other precious stones like rubies, amethysts and garnets etc. And importantly offer special engagement ring ranges that feature an array of designs and customization options. These capabilities are key indicators for those seeking a credible jeweller who is able to provide one: quality sapphire gemstones, two: an expansive jewellery range, including engagement rings, and three: a wider array of other gemstones jewellery. Since the business of fine jewellery and gemstones doesn’t operate alone. Having a stronger presence in these other key areas is a good indicator of jewellers' standards, and hence their gemstones are likely to be of a higher quality.

Learn about the Sapphire Quality

If you want to buy the best quality sapphire, you should be very well informed about how the quality of a sapphire is measured. We present a well-balanced methodology for determining the quality of sapphire based on the colour, clarity, cut, carat(size), country or origin, and curing (treatments). You can find extensive discussions on this subject in our education section.

The jeweller's commitment to educating the customers is a great sign that they have the ability and commitment to source the best sapphires and bring them to you. Since you are going to spend serious money on your sapphire, a few hours of education is definitely worth it.

There is no doubt that the most important quality of a sapphire is its colour. In recent times some short-lived trends emerged in the sapphire market where certain colour varieties got popular. Peach sapphires, teal sapphires, and party sapphires are some examples of these short-lived fashion trends. Besides those, the most sorted colours of sapphire have not changed for centuries. They are the high saturated Royal Blue Sapphires, Cornflower Blue Sapphires, Pink Sapphires, and Yellow sapphires. If you are looking for a sapphire, especially for an engagement ring, you should definitely go for these ever-popular colours. High saturation means that they are close to pure colours as opposed to mixed with grey, black, or white.

The next important quality factor is clarity. Every natural gemstone has inclusions but if they are so tiny that you cannot see them in your naked eye or they are not easily visible from the top or the sides, you should be fine. Sapphires are transparent and you should be able to easily figure that out. Some sapphires which do not have visible inclusions but are not transparent enough can have great colours but look dull. Therefore, it is important to understand the overall quality of a sapphire is a balance of many factors rather than one or two. These natural beauties are very rare so we cannot expect to find a sapphire scoring the top scores in all the aspects of quality. Depending on your preferences, budget, and jewellery design, your jeweller should be able to advise you and pick the best sapphire for you.

The next quality, the cut, is a bit technical in nature. Diamonds are cut into standard proportions. But sapphires are more complicated and we cannot cut them simply into standard proportions. Getting the best colour, avoiding inclusions, and getting the maximum yield required years of training. A shallow cut sapphire has a bigger face than a deep cut sapphire for the same weight. Some jewellery designs want to maximize the size of the table while others require an overall look from all directions. The other aspect of the cut is the symmetry and surface polish. The quality of the cut is less noticeable to an ordinary eye than the colour and clarity.

The carat or the size of the sapphire is simply the weight of the stone, the bigger the better.

Country or origin of sapphire matters due to many reasons. Some highly saturated and beautiful colours only come from certain geographies such as Sri Lanka (Ceylon). Also, the ethical aspects also come into play here. Although most sapphire-producing countries operate their mines in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner, certain aspects of mining such as artisian small-scale mining operations in Sri Lanka (Ceylon) and in some areas of Australia deserve additional credits. The sapphire material is usually not found in most pure forms but mixed with other minerals. This could lead to significant differences in hardness and well. Still, even though the supply is dropping, Ceylon sapphires display the most desirable characteristics in every aspect.

Sapphire gemstones are treated in many ways to enhance their characteristics. Some of the standard treatments such as heat treatment are well recognised in the industry. What they do is accelerate the process of making a great sapphire in a high-temperature environment in a furnace which would otherwise take another few million years if we wait until that happens naturally. This method does not introduce any foreign substances to the sapphire. However, the sapphire which is not subjected to any treatments as such and still showcases great characteristics are considered premium unheated material. Again, any non-standard and undesirable treatments should consider as an attempt to disguise the customers. Many cheaper sapphires you find in the online market places are fall into this category. Some of them can carry fake lab reports. Even though sometimes we can find great genuine deals in online marketplaces, in general, they are not the right place to buy a genuine natural sapphire gemstone or jewellery with such sapphire


Touch and see the sapphire yourself

No matter if it is a great sapphire or not, the most important aspect of committing to buying a sapphire is that you love it. You are lucky if you can find your ideal sapphire in your local jewellery store. But usually, they do not stock as many sapphires as you would like to see. They may have a few, but not in your shape, not in your colour shade, or not your size.

A few online jewellers have extensive sapphire inventories. Even though it is challenging to showcase the real beauty of sapphires with photographs and videos, some of them are doing a great job of making those as close as possible. Ask your online jeweller whether you can go to their stores or warehouse and inspect the sapphire yourself or whether they are able to send the sapphire to you upon a security deposit.