Sapphire Grading: The 6Cs of Sapphire | A Comprehensive Approach for Determining Sapphire Quality

When it comes to sapphire grading via the 6Cs, it is best to start up understanding the 4Cs of diamonds, upon which the 6Cs of sapphires are based. The 4Cs refer to the Colour, Clarity, Carat, Cut of the gemstone. Which was devised by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA), and it is the official standard with which diamond quality is measured. These four elements are used to determine the quality of the gemstone, which in turn reflects on the price of the gemstone. However, when it comes to determining sapphire quality, we at Brilliyond have determined two other key factors that determine the quality of this gemstone. They are the Country of origin and Curing. As a first step here’s a quick overview of the 4Cs of the diamonds, for these 4Cs also apply to Sapphires, in similar but different ways. The aim here is to ensure gem-quality stones that can meet the high standards required for engagement rings

A Sapphires Colour

When it comes to grading sapphire, the quality of the stone is greatly determined by its colour. Unlike in diamonds; the more popular, colourless variety, refers to the absence of colour in the gemstone. which is seen as a maker of higher quality. For the more colour (or yellowish shade) that the stone has, the less glow and glitter it has. When it comes to sapphire quality, the principles apply in reverse. Starting with the colour, where the principle is reversed in sapphires. Unless we are talking about fancy coloured diamonds when it comes to sapphires the more colour: higher saturation, vividness the better. This is why blue sapphires which have higher levels of colour concentration, like cornflower blue sapphires, and royal blue stones are amongst the most popular.

A Sapphires Clarity

Arguably the second most important variable in the sapphire grading equation is the stone’s clarity. The clarity of the stone refers to the absence of external inconsistencies known as “blemishes” and internal ones, known as “inclusions”. Which result from the high heat that the stones are subjected to in the course of their long development history deep beneath the Earth’s surface. The principle when it comes to sapphire quality is that the fewer the number and extent of blemishes and inconsistencies the higher the value of the gemstone. Clarity is important in sapphires, as these gemstones also include inclusions like diamonds. Depending on the quality of the stone the sapphire that has fewer inclusions will command a higher price, but this measure of sapphire grading is greatly dependent on the stone’s carat and cut. Which is the next point in our list.

A Sapphires Cut

Cut of the sapphire is the type of shape the stone has been shaped into, which relates to the number and type of faceting of the stone. Sapphire cuts are based on cuts that come from the world of diamonds where top cuts like princess, round, brilliant gained their popularity. There is a variety of diamond cuts such as the princess and cushion cuts are among the most popular in the world of sapphires. It is important to know that a well-cut sapphire can command a higher price, even if other elements of the stone are not up to the mark. This increases the sapphire quality in relation to other variables. Sapphires also tend to dominate certain gemstone cuts, notably, the round, oval, and halo being amongst the most popular. However, even a sapphire that has a higher number of inclusions, if it has the benefit of a great cut, then it may well overcome limitations in other areas of the gemstone thus pushing its sapphire grading.

A Sapphires Carat

The Carat of the stone refers to the weight stone. A carat equals 200 milligrams. Larger the carat of the gemstone the higher its value. So the sapphire grading positively correlates with a larger carat of the stone. But this comes with the element of price: notably precious stones, like diamonds that hit the 1.00-carat mark go up in prices. Sapphire quality is a function of the carat, with stones that hit and surpass the 1.00-carat mark rising in value greatly. Which is one of the reasons why people when often go to smaller stones, or seek to combine one or two smaller carat diamonds to produce a larger effect. Higher carat sapphires that have good colour and clarity can sometimes command the value of even high-value diamonds, given their rarity and the challenge in maintaining a larger carat and the natural colour of the stone.

Country of Origin of Sapphires

The Country is the 5th C of Sapphires. Since corundum stones are sourced from many parts of the world, the country of origin has a considerable effect on the character, quality of the sapphire. When it comes to the world’s top sapphire destinations, a few countries stand out. Notably Thailand, Myanmar, India (Kashmir) historically, and Ceylon. With sapphire grading positively correlative with the country of origin, all other factors being equal. This is important since we are in the business of selling natural gemstones. We at Brilliyond specialise in providing top-quality natural Ceylon sapphires. A country that has a rich history in providing world-class sapphires, and is most renowned for its top blue sapphires. The rich heritage in the gem trade, the quality, notably the naturally higher saturation is common to corundum stones from this region. So sapphire quality, in terms of its perceived value does relate to the country of origin. With countries with a long tradition of selling sapphires have a national reputation.

Sapphire Curing

Curing is the process through which sapphires are treated, and the main form of treatment is heating. Heating gemstones is a trusted process for improving the colour and character of the stone. Whilst heat treatment is a widely adopted practice in many parts of the world, not all countries carry out this process in an authentic way. For one must understand that heat treating a gemstone (Curing) is not a way of altering the character of the sapphire. So sapphire grading is closely related to the quality of the curing process, one that maintains its natural gem quality. As there are other unethical or potentially illegal methods of changing the character of the stone. Brilliyond only trades in natural stones that are carefully heat-treated in the long tradition of cured Ceylon sapphires.