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Sapphires

Sapphire is a hard crystallized substance known as corundum. Sapphires come in a variety of colors (blue, pink, yellow and white), but are famous for their rich, deep royal blue color. Found in several regions around the world, Sapphires have become the most popular precious gemstone, behind diamonds. Sapphires get their blue color from trace elements of titanium. Sapphires are mined from Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Kashmir, Thailand and Australia. Each region is known to produce a variety of colors. Sapphires derive their value from size and quality. While no standard grading methodology exists, color tends to be the most important factor. The focal points of sapphire quality examination include hue, tone and saturation. As the size and quality increase, so does the price. Sapphires are available in many shapes and sizes.

Sapphires Shapes

Sapphires are cut in various shapes. Sapphires have gained a lot of popularity in engagement rings (especially as an alternative to diamonds), and round cuts and oval cut sapphires seem to be most popular. Princess Diana was credited with making the oval cut sapphire famous with her engagement ring. High quality sapphire has a glow and sparkle due to high refraction. The faceting of round and oval shapes gives them reflective and sparkling qualities. Other shapes such as cushion, princess/square, octagon and marquise are popular as well. Round and oval sapphires are the most premium due to popularity and rough wastage as they are being cut. Cushion cut sapphires are more rare than other shapes, but more common in larger sizes above 5mm.Β 

Princess cuts are generally available in smaller sizes about 4mm and below. Here is a sampling of all the popular Sapphire shapes:

Sapphire Color

With sapphires, color is the most important quality attribute. Color is examined by the Sapphire’s hue, tone and saturation. Hue is the type of color in the sapphire. For example, if the gemstone is a blue sapphire, than the hue is blue. The tone is the depth of color. Sapphires should have a deep (not dark), vivid royal blue hue, with sparkles are dark purple. Lastly, the saturation is the evenness of color hue and tone. If the sapphire looks to have light spots or areas where the color gets too dark or fades, then the saturation may be uneven. Sapphires can have different tones and still be high quality or low quality. For example, a single A quality sapphire may be very dark blue (almost black) or very light blue, almost sky blue. Likewise, icy blue sapphire can be valuable as well. Sapphire color is examined without magnification. It is best to hold the sapphire between two fingers or on a white surface face up. Then rock and tilt the gemstone to examine the color and how it interacts with light. Human eyes are very good as identifying color. You have an innate ability to appreciate good quality versus lower quality. Your eyes will do the work and be able to identify if the sapphire is AAA or A quality. Sapphire pricingΒ varies based on color. It is important to note that color (apart) from size, is the single biggest price factor. All three major color factors, hue, tone and saturation, must be evaluated simultaneously when pricing a sapphire and assigning a quality grade. Below is a sample sapphire pricing chart based on the color grades. Please keep in mind that these are just examples and pricing may vary based on other factors as well.