Saphires by Jacqui Grande Gemologists at Radiance International Fine Jewelry,

Jacqui Grande Speaks Out

Sapphires are the most sought after colored gemstone today and are a stone of value because of their hardness and durability which allows enjoyment for generations.  In addition, sapphires occur in an amazing array of colors unknown to many. Most people know what sapphires are but are totally unaware of the exotic colors available. For decades, multicolor sapphires were not readily available. Now, more and more mining in previously untouched areas of the world such as Madagascar has introduced new colors including peach, lavender, burnt rose, fuschia, lemon, and cinnamon. Lemon yellow sapphires are very popular this year. The rarest and most valuable color is the padparasha meaning “lotus flower” in Singhalese, the native language of Sri Lanka. It is a beautiful pinkish orange or salmon color, the color of the lotus flower that the gem was named after.Jewelry designers often feature pieces that maximize the color range of sapphires from multicolored pieces to ones that feature graduated shades of the same color.Designers using sapphires focus on color as an intricate part of the design.

Many connoisseurs of gemstones collect rare and phenomenal sapphires. Phenomenal sapphires refer to sapphires possessing unusual characteristics such as asterism (stars) or color change sapphires. These brilliant gems are blue in incandescent (indoor) lighting and purple in fluorescent (outdoor) lighting.  

Sapphire buying tips:

Look for bright illuminate sapphires without any color zoning face up (the color should be uniform). Rotate the gem as you look at it in the light, and best viewed in light between 10AM and 2PM. There is a misconception that dark inky or grayish sapphires are most valuable as for a long time it was all that was available. A sapphire should look BLUE at arms length. Cut is also a factor since it affects the sapphire’s brilliance. I am very critical of cut. I prefer proportional 65% depth percentages (the stone’s table to culet measured as a ratio against the stones average diameter).

Purchasing abroad is tricky especially if you are purchasing in the orient. Keep in mind that countries such as Sri Lanka or Thailand are much closer to the equator thus making a sapphire look much bluer there than when you look at it in the United States. When I am purchasing pink sapphires, I go back and forth several times between fluorescent and incandescent light. Some pink sapphires may look great in indoor lighting but  loose their intense pink color in outdoor fluorescent lighting. This characteristic change will also be reflective in the pricing of a pink sapphire. Many inexperienced individuals purchasing abroad are often disappointed upon returning home to find that their sapphire purchased is not as bright as they remembered it at point of sale.

One cannot end this discussion without mentioning treatments in sapphires. The commercial market contains treated sapphires and they are respectively priced as they are not as rare as a sapphire which is unheated. Treated sapphires are perfectly acceptable as long as they are fully disclosed. The difference is that treated sapphires are very available and untreated sapphires are rare and command a higher price, understandably based on the rarity factor. Gemologists are trained to determine the various treatments and should be consulted when purchasing a fine sapphire above 1 carat.

Most of all when purchasing a sapphire, gazing into the gemstone should elicit an excitement or some sort of emotional reaction from you. No wonder the purchase of gemstone jewelry is so closely linked with happy occasions. Part of the beauty of a gemstone is enjoying the uniqueness of that particular stone. No two gemstones are alike so fall in love with a sapphire that adds exuberant color and excitement to your life.

Jacqui Grande, gemologists at Radiance International Fine Jewelry, has mined, cut and purchased sapphires abroad for over 25 years. She provides gemological services as well as custom designed fine jewelry for the international elite.