Nov 27

4 Quality Factors of Sapphire

Sapphires are beautiful coloured gemstones that are gorgeously romantic and darn practical too. Truth is, they are the world’s favourite gemstone! Many royal engagement rings feature sapphires because they are more unique and rare than diamonds.

Sapphire is a durable birthstone for September and is a great gift for birthdays, anniversaries, or simply “just because”.  It’s the traditional anniversary gift for a 45th wedding anniversary.

There are 4 factors that influence the quality of a Sapphire: Colour, Clarity, Cut and Carat Weight. Understanding these factors will ensure that you purchase the most valuable stone in your budget and the effort made to evaluate the quality of the gemstone will guarantee that you get the best quality your money can buy.

 

Colour

Sapphires are found in a wide range of colours, with each colour containing its own quality variations from intense to muted. The more intense the colour and most sweeping in its hue, without colour blemish zones, the more valuable the stone it.

Because Sapphires have such a wide range of colors, it is the most important factor to the sapphire’s value. The most highly valued blue sapphires are velvety blue to violet blue sapphires in medium to medium-dark tones.

The saturation of the colour should be as strong as possible without compromising brightness.

 

Clarity

Blue sapphires typically have inclusions, but are typically have better clarity than rubies. Blue sapphires with very high clarity are rare and the most valuable.

There are several types of inclusions found in sapphires. “Needles” are long thin mineral inclusions found in most sapphires. “Silk” inclusions are fine “needle” inclusions which occur in intersecting groups and are found in the mineral rutile. Other clarity characteristics are referred to as mineral crystals and partially healed breaks that look like fingerprints, color zoning and/or color banding.

 

Cut

The shape of the sapphire crystal before being cut is the primary influence of the finished stones shape and size. Rough sapphire is often formed in a barrel or spindle-shaped hexagonal pyramid.

In order to preserve the most weight possible from the rough crystal, cutters have to focus on specific factors to maintain the best overall colour and proportions. Factors like color zoning- the areas of different colors in a stone, pleochroism-  different colors in different crystal directions, and the lightness or darkness of a stone are each considered before cutting the stone.

 

Carat Weight

The large majority of commercial-quality blue sapphires weigh less than 5.00 carats- however, blue sapphires can range in size anywhere from a few points to hundreds of carats and large blue sapphires are more readily available than large rubies.

Large commercial-quality blue sapphires are more common than large fine-quality ones. As a result, size makes more of a difference in the price of fine-quality sapphire. A fine-quality 5.00 carat blue sapphire sells for approximately five times more per carat than the same-quality 1.00 carat stone.

 

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