SAPPHIRE BUYING GUIDE
Sapphire generally occurs in different colors, Blue being the popularly known among all other color varieties including Yellow, Pink, Pinkish orange (Padparadscha), Purple, Orange, Lavender, Green, color less. Each of these colors have their own classes based on their colour intensity and saturation. All sapphires are from the same family of corundum (Al2O3). The Red colored corundum is called Ruby (Ratna Raj) meaning Kings of Jewells long associated with royalty for its intense red color and rarity. Sapphire's hardness makes them scratch resistant and it is the second hardest mineral next to Diamond.
The value of a sapphire is decided on qualitative factors such as Carat (weight), Cut, Clarity, and Color. There are instances where mineral inclusion in the crystals can create different types of sapphires called star sapphire created by the asterism (six rayed star) effect. These qualitative factors can have differing values which can change person to person making the values derived from these appraisals subjective. Generally the value of these sapphires varies every day in different markets. This is because the actual price of sapphire or any gemstone is decided by the seller who is willing to sell at price and the price buyer willing to pay. This can change drastically from one person to another or market to market. However the underlying qualities that principally decide the price of a gemstones rarity, carat, cut, color and clarity which should be sought before purchasing any sapphires. This is merely a guide and actual buying is not simple as buying gold or platinum where setting standards are relatively easy.
Naturally occurring sapphires are extremely rare. Their rarity and beauty makes them as the highly valued minerals from the earth. The demand for these sapphires are so great. Untreated sapphires naturally demand higher price compared to heat treated stones in all nations without exception. Therefore a buyer should be aware whether the stone is treated before the deal is finalized.
where synthetics (artificial stones) are common in the market.
Sapphires are heat treated under different techniques to obtain clarity for Geuda (milky stone) and to enhance colour saturation to receive higher price per carat. Therefore an inexperienced buyer should always request for a gem laboratory report before purchasing sapphires.
Blue sapphires, Padparadscha (Pinkish sunset orange) are the highest priced sapphires by their color. Since sapphire occurs in many colors, the pricing differs from market to market and according to the colour taste of individual buyers. Generally colored sapphires with saturation commands have a higher price than "Steely" light colored stones. The saturation can be in blue which has its own sub categories referred as Royal blue, Peacock Blue, Cornflower blue, velvet blue, indigo which are more favoured flavours in the blue sapphire category.
The Padparadscha can color tone is more complicated to describe. Though it appears in various colors the attraction varies from person to person. Ideal color of Padparadscha is the combined colour of pinkish sunset orange. The stone having this color and having Sri Lanka origin can value even $30,000 per carat. Some laboratories provide certification as Padparadscha although pinkish tone dominates the stone. Therefore, a buyer need to exactly know what colour tone in Padparadscha he is looking for.
Other colour in the sapphire family are called fancy tones and the value of these are not fixed due to its rarity and less popularity
Transparency is related with the ability of light to travel through the sapphires. Since the sapphire belongs to Type II category meaning the stones appear naturally with inclusion. If a buyer is looking to buy sapphires besides star sapphires. He or she should ideally look for the stones without inclusion. Eye clean well cut sapphires will have a higher market price for stones compared to that with inclusions.
Gemstones like blue sapphires with darker tone are not highly valued compared to deep blue brilliant lustrous blue sapphire. Finding good clarity in the blue sapphires can be challenging requiring equipment and light sources directed and the stone and eye kept at different distances.
Clarity in light colored stones such as yellow sapphires, Pink, Padparadscha, Purple plays a significant effect on the pricing as their lower color intensity easily reveals the inclusion making the stones less desirable among the customers.
Rubies and sapphires are also rare stones. Although Sri Lanka produced the world’s largest sapphires it is rare to find high calibre sapphires without inclusion. Price increases can be multiple times when sapphire meets the qualities such as lustre, free from inclusion, vivid colour, and translucence and well cut.
Therefore, multiple characteristics must be considered before purchasing a sapphire as mentioned above. However if the buyer is to purchase star sapphires the asterism effect occurs mainly due to inclusion in such case the clarity of the stone becomes irrelevant.