How and why to choose a sapphire ring? Useful tips for buying a ring (but also a necklace, bracelet earrings) with sapphire ♦ ︎
The blue color is beautiful: it is that of the sea, of the clear sky, and also of the most precious sapphire. But you probably know that sapphires are a stone that is found in other colors, such as yellow, pink, purple. But how to choose a sapphire ring? And how much is a sapphire worth? If you are not an expert there are some aspects that you can take into account before buying a sapphire ring (but the same goes for a necklace, earrings or bracelet). Here are some useful tips, which can help you make the right decision if you want to buy sapphire jewelry.
1 Check the provenance. Knowing where a stone comes from is essential. For example, for sapphires, the origin of the stones is particularly important. Sapphire is extracted in many parts of the world, but not all stones are the same: there are the very rare sapphires from Kashmir, or from Burma (Myanmar) or mined in Sri Lanka. They have different prices. For example, the mines of Kashmir (India) have been exhausted for a century and, therefore, sapphires with that origin are very rare and very expensive. They are also generally considered to be of a superior quality: their color is particularly intense, saturated, with a velvety light that seems to come from within. Burmese sapphires are also similar, but have more glassy, transparent, clear reflections, with a vivid color. Finally, Sri Lankan sapphires are very bright, with an almost liquid reflection with purple points. They also often have a particular crystalline texture that gives a different color intensity when turning the stone in front of a light. Sapphires from Sri Lanka look fresher and more modern than those from Burma or Kashmir. But sapphires are also mined in Thailand or Vietnam, or in Africa, for example in Tanzania, Kenya, Nigeria, Madagascar and even in Montana (United States).
2 Warm or unheated. In most cases, sapphires (as well as many other stones) have been heated to make the color more vivid and the gems more transparent. It has been a practice that has lasted for centuries, so don’t be scandalized. If a stone has not been heated and boasts an intense color, however, it is also of greater value. And if a sapphire is not natural and has not been heated, it is usually a quality that is underlined (and charged for) at the time of sale. Normally the stones are always accompanied by the certificate of a gemological institute. Warning: heating the sapphire is not the only way to make the stone better and more salable. Another system consists in filling the micro invoices with synthetic material with the addition of dyes. In this case, however, the stones can be damaged by an acidic substance, for example during cleaning, for example a soap or lemon juice. Therefore, before buying a sapphire, always ask if it has been treated and with what method.
3 What color. Sapphires are not all blue, the most prized color. There are also yellow, orange, red, purple, green and pink sapphires (one particular particularly fine variety is called padparadscha) and there are even colorless gems like diamonds. In general, however, the value of the stones depends a lot on the intensity of the color. The more the color is intense without compromising the brightness, the more the stone is precious.
4 Beware of defects. If you buy a sapphire ring and the stone is of a certain size it will be easier to check if there are any inclusions inside (and usually very likely to be). The inclusions can be, for example, clear filaments of rutile, which make a stone less precious. Not only that: in some cases these inclusions can threaten the solidity of the stone. If the inclusions are very visible, the price of a sapphire can drop substantially. With one exception: if the inclusions form a kind of star reflected on the surface, a fairly rare phenomenon, in that case the sapphire has a higher value.
5 Make a comparison. Even if a sapphire ring looks beautiful to you, ask to compare it in the light with other jewels. Your jeweler certainly has other sapphire jewels available and a comparison between different stones will make you discover, for example, if the color of your stone is more or less intense. Furthermore, as with diamonds, the quality of the cut matters a lot: usually for sapphires a round or oval cut is preferred. Large stones are also offered with a sugar loaf shape.
6 Look at the cut. One of the aspects that can enhance or depress the value of a gem is the cut. A good cut can make a big difference, giving more brilliance to the stone and reflecting the light evenly over the entire gem. Badly cut sapphires also have a lower value. How do you know if a stone is cut well? In fact I am an expert gemologist can immediately see the defects and identify the technical cause of a failed cut. But if you expose the stone to light and compare it to similar ones, you may notice differences in the reflections: choose the brightest.