Buying Natural Blue Sapphire Jewellery Online
When making a big purchase such as buying a blue sapphire, it’s important to know what you’re buying, and even more so when it’s online! It’s only natural that you may feel nervous about making such a big ticket purchase over the internet. In this guide we’ll help you through the most important details for buying a sapphire online, so you can rest easy when making your purchase from the comfort of your own home.
- What are Blue Sapphires?
- What do Blue Sapphires Represent?
- What you should look for in Blue Sapphires and how are they priced?
- Buying Blue Sapphire online: best practices
What are Blue Sapphires?
First things first when buying blue sapphires online is you need to know what you’re buying. One of the most sought-after gemstones, blue sapphire are a variety of the mineral corundum. Sapphire’s color is due to the presence of the chemical titanium and iron, the more titanium and iron, the more intense the color. Blue sapphires can range from green-blue to lilac-blue, where the strongest color presence is listed second. Additionally, the tone of the sapphire color can also vary, from sky-blue to midnight-blue, for example.
As with most precious gemstones, the quality of a sapphire’s color is determined by a combination of its hue, tone, and color saturation. The most sought after sapphires are a vivid royal blue color with a violetish tinge.
Highly durable and resistant to chips and fractures, the sapphire is second only in hardness to the diamond, with a rating of 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. You definitely don’t have to worry about damage during shipping if buying a sapphire online. sapphires are remarkably tough and excellent gemstones for daily wear. That said, all gemstones should be handled with the utmost care when worn to ensure their brilliance and longevity.
At Gemdaia, we ethically source sapphires directly from local mines and examine each gemstone thoroughly to ensure you receive the highest quality and best color available. Additionally, all of our sapphires are sent to leading independent gem labs to be verified for authenticity and come with individual gemstone certificates.
What do Sapphires Represent?
Blue sapphires have been popular since they were first discovered in antiquity. Ancient Persians believed that the sky was painted blue by the reflection of sapphires. Since the Middle Ages, sapphires have been associated with the heavens, and nobility and church officials wore sapphires for good fortune. sapphire is the September birthstone and traditionally, sapphire is the stone used to mark the 45th anniversary.
What you should look for in Natural Blue Sapphires and how are they priced?
Natural blue sapphires without treatments are rare and highly valued. Heat treated natural sapphires are more common, cheaper, and were treated to enhance their color and clarity. Treated sapphires are regularly used in fine jewelry and are used by all major jewelers who work with sapphires.
One of the most important points to keep in mind is that sapphires, unlike diamonds, are not graded in a uniform way. Diamonds are highly commoditized and are valued after evaluating the 4 C’s: carats, cut, clarity, and color. Whereas for sapphires, it is not easy to make price comparisons between two similar looking stones due to highly variable factors which we will explore below.
Sometimes a sapphire’s beauty and value is simply up to personal preference, and comes down to how much someone is willing to pay for it. For the most part however, a sapphire’s worth is determined by evaluating the following factors:
Color is the most important factor in determining the price of blue sapphires. The more vibrant, pure, and vividly saturated a sapphire is, the higher the price it can command. A Blue sapphire may not be as valuable if it’s too dark and opaque or too transparent and lightly saturated in color.
Blue sapphire pricing at Gemdaia is based on a sapphire grading scale that ranges from A grade (good quality) to AAAA grade (exceptional heirloom quality). Unheated natural sapphires with a high saturation of color that fall into the AAAA category usually command between $3,000 – $4,000 for a 1 carat stone.
At the end of the day, color is a personal choice, and there is a wide range of unheated and heated stones that are available for different budgets on the blue sapphire price scale. The sapphire color chart above will give you a better idea of what different sapphire color grades actually look like.
The size of a sapphire is another major determinant of price. A sapphire’s worth exponentially increases with every additional carat. A 3 carat blue sapphire for instance, can be 5 to 8 times the price of a 1 carat sapphire. Take this unheated 2.12 carat blue sapphire which is priced at approximately $2,400 per carat compared to this exceptionally rare 7.53 carat unheated sapphire that commands a much higher value, valuing at around $ 5,850 per carat.
Although there have been record finds of very large sapphires weighing more than 1,000 carats in the rough, high quality sapphires larger than 5 carats are already considered extremely rare.
The carat weight of sapphires is typically compared to the better-known carat weight of diamonds but, because carat weight also takes into account the density of the gemstone—and sapphires are denser than diamonds—the equivalent sapphire size of a one carat diamond is smaller in appearance. For this reason it’s best to determine a sapphire’s size in millimeters, whereby a 1 carat round sapphire is approximately 6 mm in diameter.
A blue sapphire’s origin is also a factor that will determine its value. Blue sapphires are mined in countries like Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Burma (Myanmar), Thailand, as well as Kashmir and West Africa. Where sapphires come from can determine their own unique colors, qualities, characteristics, and of course, their price.
Blue sapphires from the Kashmir region are highly valued because of their unique beauty and distinctive blue color. Kashmiri sapphires are also extremely limited in supply. Blue sapphires from this region hold the highest valuation in the world, sometimes fetching up to $45,000 per carat for a 1 – 2 carat stone.
Burmese blue sapphires are ranked right behind Kashmiri sapphires in value and demand. These sapphires, like their Kashmiri relatives, are limited in supply and possess a special color that is highly desired by gem enthusiasts around the world.
Sri Lankan blue sapphires are more readily available thanks to a proliferation of gem-bearing valleys in the country’s central highlands. These sapphires are beautifully colored and are highly sought after, but their steady availability makes them less expensive than Kashmiri and Burmese sapphires.
Sapphires from Madagascar possess similar qualities to Sri Lankan sapphires, but are more likely to be darker in color and at times less expensive. Most blue sapphires nowadays are mined in Madagascar and are the most readily available type of blue sapphire in the world.
Blue sapphires from Thailand and West Africa have darker appearances, and they are widely used in commercial quality jewelry owing to their cheaper prices.
It is common knowledge that the majority of sapphires on the market are heat-treated to enhance color and clarity. Natural heat-treated sapphires are widely used by leading jewelry houses and brands around the world. In contrast, natural, unheated sapphires are much rarer and fetch premium prices compared to heated stones.
A 3 carat untreated sapphire with the same qualities, for instance, will be valued 3-4 times more than a 3 carat stone that has been heat-treated, even if the treatment is minor. Trained gemologists can easily identify the differences between heated and unheated sapphires by studying the inclusions inside the stone, which is another price determining factor in blue sapphires.
A sapphire’s clarity has an effect on its value, but it isn’t as influential a factor as it is for diamonds. Sapphires are formed in mineral rich environments over millions of years of geological activity. As a result, it is common for high color grade sapphires to contain miniscule imperfections caused by the presence of other mineral substances in them that affect its overall clarity. These imperfections are called “inclusions”. Inclusions can be visible to the naked eye, and can be examined in more detail under magnification.
Sapphires without inclusions visible to the eye are called “eye-clean”. Eye-clean sapphires are rare, and valued the highest when considering the clarity of a stone in the sapphire grading process, especially if it is untreated. However, even the best stones can contain inclusions. The absence of inclusions can also be an indication of a heat-treated or synthetic sapphire.
A stone’s clarity is considered to be of a high grade as long as they are included in a way that doesn’t affect its sparkle or durability. Although these kinds of stones are less valuable than eye-clean sapphires, they are nevertheless a good choice since their beauty isn’t compromised.
Moderately included sapphires are less expensive as the inclusions could affect the sparkle of the stone.
Heavily included sapphires and severely included sapphires are priced even less since they are less durable than high grade sapphires. These stones do not display the brilliance that sapphires are famed for, and are more fragile. We at Gemdaia recommend slightly included or eye-clean sapphires for jewelry.
A sapphire’s price is also measured by its brilliance. Sapphires that reflect light better and display good brilliance are naturally priced at a higher premium than stones that don’t reflect light well. Some stones may appear duller, with darker hues.
The best stones on the other hand, sparkle brilliantly and possess vivid hues that make them more pleasing to the eye. We at Gemdaia look for this particular factor when procuring our sapphires and we only recommend sapphires with a dazzling sparkle to our clients.
Online gemstone buying: best practices
When buying jewelry or gemstones online, it is even more important that you buy certified stones so you can be assured of their quality. Here at Gemdaia, trust and quality assurance for our clients is our most important value which is why we only carry blue sapphires that have been certified by reputable independent labs.
A gem certification is essentially quality assurance for the stone you are purchasing. It is crucial that you purchase a sapphire accompanied by a reputable lab report so you can better assess whether you’re really paying for what you’re getting. When buying any gemstone, you can request to see its accompanying documents and verify whether the stone matches its report, and you can also ask that an uncertified stone be certified before making the purchase, this applies for online purchases as well. If a vendor refuses, then it could be a red flag.
There are various types of gemstone certificates depending on the issuing lab and the type of gemstone tested. Colored gemstone certificates focus on whether the stone has been treated, the type of treatment (if any), the origin, and of course the color. Reputable gem labs will include a short description of the color and if the gemstone underwent any treatments. Some labs will charge an extra fee to determine gemstone origin which will also be included in the report.
What a gem certificate will not provide is an estimate for the worth of your stone. However, a gem report will certify a stone for all the price determining factors that we discussed above.
Buying a sapphire online has never been easier, that said, there are several factors to consider before purchasing a sapphire online. All of the topics covered above should be carefully considered in order to make an informed decision that will give you the most value for your money. With our blue sapphire online buying guide, you can rest assured knowing that you’ve taken all aspects of buying sapphires online into account so you don’t have to sacrifice quality for convenience.
At Gemdaia, we specialize in procurin ethically sourced, certified natural sapphires directly from partner mines. You can speak to us for more information about natural blue sapphires or browse the exquisite blue sapphire jewellery that we have available in-stock in our online shop.
If bespoke blue sapphire jewelry is what you’re looking for, our online bespoke jewelry creation service can help you create custom pieces of jewelry from sourcing the perfect blue sapphire, to designing and crafting the jewelry. Our specialists will update you every step of the way to ensure that you are fully satisfied with the final product. Learn more about the Gemdaia difference here, or follow our blog to find more fun and informative information about gemstones.