People across the globe are often mesmerized by the clear, sparkling beauty of a quality diamond. But when you want a little color, you may look towards the more colorful cousins of the diamond, such as the emerald or ruby.
One vivid gem is the blue sapphire, with its rich, eye-catching cobalt hue. It has a unique elegance, and the bold color can be a great alternative to diamonds.
When you’re purchasing anything with a blue sapphire, you want to make sure you’re getting a quality gem. However, you may not be sure how to spot a fine sapphire from a dud, and you may be worried you’ll be fooled by a more experienced jeweler.
Before you go hunting for a truly blue sapphire, take a look at the tips below. With a little education under your belt, you can avoid the occasional scam and score the perfect piece for your jewelry collection.
1. Examine the Hue
The best blue sapphires are truly blue, or “cornflower blue.” It doesn’t have any violet or green overtones. You’ll also want to take a look at the tone of the gem. If the color is too dark or almost black, the tone detracts from the value, and if the color is too light, it makes the gem look washed out. Generally, you want a blue sapphire that’s somewhere in the medium to medium-dark range.
In addition to the tone and color, you should take note of the color saturation, or the intensity of the color. When a blue sapphire has a high saturation, it’s rich in that coveted cobalt color, upping the value of the gem. But when the sapphire has a low saturation, or isn’t intensely colorful, the gem’s color looks a little weaker with a grayish hue.
Be careful when you look at the hue, tone, and saturation of a blue sapphire. Try to look at the stone in different levels of lighting. Some sellers can trick you with a little bit of well-placed illumination, giving the gem a lighter color than it really has.
2. Check for Blemishes
Most sapphires have to be treated to improve the clarity of the gem. Out of the sapphires pulled straight from the ground, only about 0.5% to 1% don’t need to be treated, making these gems extremely valuable. These sapphires have blemishes called “silk,” and because these small imperfections indicate that the gem wasn’t treated like most others are, they are perfectly acceptable in a sapphire.
But for gems that have been treated, these small imperfections have been eliminated, and you shouldn’t see any kind of obvious flaws in the sapphire. Imperfections can affect the clarity, therefore reducing the value of the stone. The seller is ethically bound to tell you if the gem is treated or not, so ask-if the gem is treated but still has flaws, the value shouldn’t be as high.
3. Avoid Stones with Windows
Windows are essentially areas in the stone that allow you to see clearly through the gem. For instance, if you had an oval cut and can see perfectly through the oval center of the gem, you’re looking at a window.
Avoid any sapphires with these, as they can negatively affect the value and look of the gem.
4. Look at the Cut
Blue sapphires are commonly cut in cushion, round, or oval shapes, but they can be cut in some of the more unique forms, such as heart or marquise. If you have a particular cut in mind and can’t seem to find it, you can get a stone custom cut and find the perfect setting for it.
But there’s more to a cut than shape. An experienced gem cutter will take the color into account and adjust the cut accordingly. With dark sapphires, they may make shallow cuts to allow more light reflection and improve the color and lighten the gem. For paler sapphires, gem cutters may make deeper cuts to darken the gem for a better hue.
5. Consider the Size
Just like any other gem, sapphires have more value when they’re bigger. When a decent-sized stone is combined with excellent clarity, cut, and color, it can be somewhat pricey.
Also, keep in mind that a one-carat sapphire is a bit smaller than a one-carat diamond. Sapphires are denser and heavier than diamonds, so expect sapphires to be smaller than you would expect a diamond to be for the same carat weight.
As you shop around for your next breathtaking piece of sapphire jewelry, use the tips above. Examine the gem closely to ensure you spot everything, but most importantly, find a sapphire you love for a price that works for you. Just make sure you aren’t being swindled out of your money for a low quality stone.
Also, don’t only rely on the popular jewelers at the mall. Try other dependable shops or jewelers, such as Sol’s Jewelry and Loan. We specialize in jewelry, and we can help you find the perfect piece out of our wide selection. And if you’re looking to sell a piece of jewelry, we can handle that too.