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Blue sapphire for engagement ring. SOS!

Discussion in 'Colored Gemstones' started by devaughnb, Jun 29, 2013.

  1. devaughnb
    Rough_Rock

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    by devaughnb » Jun 29, 2013
    My gf and i have settled on a blue sapphire for her e-ring. Most likely it will be set in a platinum Van Craeynest ring. Most likely style #1020.

    I am a researcher by nature and really want to make sure i buy something that is of quality and hold its value!

    So far ive been looking at round unheated stones in the 2ct range. Mostly from Sri Lanka or Madagascar. Unfortunately, prices are all over the place ($4000 - 7000) and its been very hard to even find round sapphires at all outside of gemsny and natural sapphire.

    Where do you all recommend i look? Also, how different are retail and individual broker prices?

    Here is one stone ive found together with its certificate. Unfortunately, that's as big as the picture gets. What range might a stone like this go for? To my uneducated eye it looks great. I was a bit worried about the depth... But, what do i know. You all probably know more than me!

    Thanks for any help!

    D

    2ctrbc.jpg

    img_0529.jpg
     
    


    


  2. new-beginning
    Shiny_Rock

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    by new-beginning » Jun 29, 2013
    have you tried Master Cut gems? Are you looking for a fairly dark stone (like the one you pictured?) or somewhat lighter stone?
     
  3. corundum_conundrum
    Shiny_Rock

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    by corundum_conundrum » Jun 29, 2013
    gemfix.com has plenty of rounds.

    spectralgems.com has some rounds--mostly heated.

    Rounds are not very common in sapphires because of the naturally occurring shape of the rough, so you may have to make some sacrifices in overall quality, and pay a premium to stay within the round shape.

    Unheated sapphires are likewise somewhat of a rarity in blue sapphire. So if you maintain BOTH of these criteria you will have very limited options indeed. That is not to say you couldn't still get something nice enough, but you would be far more likely to get a more striking stone if you let go of one or both of these criteria. This is not a recommendation either way--I also really prefer unheated sapphires--its just a few facts about what's on the market that you should be aware of.



    Buying from Thailand may not be for the uninitiated, but I've spoken to this seller and they are friendly and speak good english, even though you might have to really probe them to get them to discuss the flaws in their stones. This looks like it might be a spectacular unheated round:

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/GRS-Certifi...7992?pt=Loose_Gemstones_1&hash=item1c300ee9b8
     
  4. SB621
    Ideal_Rock

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  5. devaughnb
    Rough_Rock

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    by devaughnb » Jun 30, 2013
    The color of the stone in the picture is rather dark, however, the report indicates "Royal Blue". Is it possible it is just the lighting that is off? In terms of taste, i am looking for the deep blue that most people look for in sapphires (Kashmir blue, cornflower, etc).

    I know its not the best picture, but does this look like a high quality sapphire to you? Its rather expensive!

    The thai sapphire from eBay is beautiful. It is exactly what i was looking for. But i have to admit dealing with ebay sellers based in Thailand feels a bit scary. Have you had much interaction with them? Is there reputation that good?
     
  6. apropos
    Rough_Rock

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    by apropos » Jun 30, 2013
    Wilds Global Minerals has been around for some years, they have offices in multiple Asian countries. I would be inclined to feel that there were a legit operation. They have a 100% refund policy if you don't like the stone, so if you make payment via PP you will have an additional layer of protection.

    I actually reviewed that particular eBay stone while searching for a sapphire for an e-ring, but eventually decided against it as my SO wanted an oval sapphire instead. It's a good size, and if you're after a medium-dark IMO it would look great in the VC setting you picked out. The dark bands are where large swaths of pavilion are touching the vendor's skin, so in your VC setting with the stone "free hanging" it will be likely be nicer.

    Here are some other natural indirect daylight photos I got from the vendor which I saved... hope they help!

    :wavey:

    wilds1.jpg

    wilds2.jpg
     
  7. carmen1
    Shiny_Rock

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    by carmen1 » Jun 30, 2013
    I have purchased a sapphire from Wilds Global Minerals on ebay and had they were great to work with. Seenu was extremely responsive and helpful, the stone I purchased was as described, and overall I was very happy with the transaction. I was actually going to recommend that same stone to you.

    I agree that the stone you originally posted about looks really dark in the first picture, although it could just be a bad photo, do you have any other photos of it or handshots?
     
  8. GregS
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by GregS » Jun 30, 2013
    Like most everyone else has said, it looks dark. I don't care for the Wilds stone either, despite the positioning of the stone in the picture it looks to have a nail head.

    Cornflower and Kashmir blue define two separate hue's.
     
  9. slksapphire
    Shiny_Rock

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    by slksapphire » Jun 30, 2013
    i posted this comment in another recent sapphire thread -- i have seen numerous grs "royal blue" sapphires in person, and my opinion is that that description is meaningless. i have seen incredibly dark sapphires with that designation.

    eta: in my experience, the only "objective" way to judge sapphire color is with the detailed agl prestige report, that provides numerical data for color composition as well as numerical grades for cut, color and clarity.
     
  10. FrekeChild
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by FrekeChild » Jun 30, 2013
    Ditto.
     
    


    


  11. corundum_conundrum
    Shiny_Rock

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    by corundum_conundrum » Jun 30, 2013
    OP,

    I recommended that Wilds' stones, but I'm a little concerned that it is a bit gray based on the first hand shot just posted. Not that it is ugly to me, just a noticeable step down from the ebay photo.

    Given that there are definite difficulties in buying/returning to Thailand, it wouldn't be my first choice for you. Specifically, its very expensive to ship and insure gems shipped to Thailand. So for me given that the hand shots do not show as nice of a stone as I thought, it might not be worth the risks.

    You should also contact Gary Braun at finewatergems and Jeff White as referenced in the recommended vendor sticky at the top of this page. Its come up recently that they have been cutting some custom sapphires from some roughs/preforms they've recently obtained...
     
  12. GregS
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by GregS » Jun 30, 2013
    If you're willing to expand your search to include ovals than Gemfix has an unheated oval that looks extremely nice. For the price you'd be hard pressed to find a larger stone with better cut and color.

    http://www.gemfix.com/sapphire_blue.html.... top row on the end.

    Looking for unheated rounds that have desirable hue/dimensions etc... is a daunting task. At the very least shape needs to take a back seat.
     
  13. devaughnb
    Rough_Rock

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  14. devaughnb
    Rough_Rock

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    by devaughnb » Jun 30, 2013
    At what price point should i feel entitled to an AGL detailed report? How much would that cost the seller?
     
  15. devaughnb
    Rough_Rock

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    by devaughnb » Jun 30, 2013
    Greg, Beautiful stone! Is that a true "kashmir" blue?

    I wish there was some sort of rating i could look at instead of having to evaluate color, cut, clarity by eye. I may have to go for the oval... Especially if they can be almost as round as this one.

    D.
     
    


    


  16. slksapphire
    Shiny_Rock

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    by slksapphire » Jun 30, 2013
    here is the pricing (you should look at the grading report); it depends on the size of the sapphire and whether it is mounted or not.

    http://aglgemlab.com/pricelist/

    as for who pays for this, it is usually a negotiation. i don't think you are ever "entitled" to an agl prestige report with origin and grading. USUALLY, you make the sale contingent on confirming what the seller is telling you, e.g., it must show the stone is unheated, from xyz place, etc. If the report comes back with details as advertised, the buyer pays for the report. If it does not, an immediate refund should be issued for the stone as well as the report.

    but, as i said before, it's all a negotiation. i worked with a couple of sellers (jewelers) in hong kong who were willing to pay for the report.
     
  17. corundum_conundrum
    Shiny_Rock

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    by corundum_conundrum » Jul 1, 2013
    To add to what silk sapphire is saying:

    I think with such high end stones its standard to ask the seller to send the stone themselves to AGL (this reduces liability on your end in shipping etc., and they should be more familiar with the procedure than you). Then you offer to have them add the cost of the report to the final purchase price. If it comes back not as advertised (not unheated etc), then the seller foots the bill.

    I would at least ask for an AGL brief report to confirm that the stone is unheated. AGL prestige will give you AGL's opinion on the stone, but unlike diamonds, their "grade" is not necessarily the final word on the stone's quality, but it is an expert opinion.
     
  18. chrono
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by chrono » Jul 1, 2013
    Kashmir, cornflower and etc have totally different looks, so it is best that you are as specific as possible. In addition, sapphires are notorious shifters, making it difficult to purchase from a single picture alone. After narrowing your choices and asking the right questions, you'll need to see the stone in person, therefore return shipping is an important consideration.
    http://www.palagems.com/sapphire_connoisseurship.htm

    It'll sound as though I am continually harping against GRS but as you can see, this is the main reason I dislike their colour descriptions. It appears as though they do not take tone into consideration, only hue and saturation. I do agree that the first sapphire is overly dark, especially for the price. The Wilds sapphire is close to trade ideal but in looking at the price, shipping consideration and that the hand shot is the best it can possibly be (ideal lighting condition), know that it will appear grayer or more purplish at other times.

    Based on the VC design you have in mind, rounds and square cushions seem right for it. I am unsure if a rectangular cushion or oval will look as though it "fits" well.

    At your price point, I would definitely recommend a full AGL prestige report. Others have advised on pricing and how it ought to be handled in terms of who sends the stone to AGL and who pays for it.
     
  19. chrono
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by chrono » Jul 1, 2013
    Please start a new thread with your questions so that others will see it and respond to it accordingly. :wavey: Things tend to get lost when a question unrelated to the original thread is buried within.
     
  20. SB621
    Ideal_Rock

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    by SB621 » Jul 1, 2013
    To be blunt...

    I'm not impressd at all with the sapphire you picked out. Instead of worrying about the lap report (which is sadly lacking) I would go with what is actually eye appealing to you. The lab report should just verify that it is indeed unheated/ untreated. If the sapphire is dark then it doesn't matter what the lab report says. GRS is really lacking recently. I would stick with AGL.

    As far as lab reports you are never entitled to one and personally I think you should pay for it. If the sapphire comes back as anything other then what the seller said it was then you are entitled to a refund or price adustment. I know my sapphire from Jeff White that I just commissioned doesn't come with a report. I don't think Jeff has ever sent any of his sapphires in and he charges $$$$$$ for his precision cut sapphires. As someone already mentioned you should make the sale contingent on the lab report- and if it comes back as something else you can also ask they refund you the money for the report.

    Did you see the one I posted for you earlier in the pre-loved section. It is a steal for a JW sapphire. I'm assuming you aren't interested because it is heated? Just saying I would go for that any day over the one you posted. Colorwise it is leagues ahead of the other option.
     
  21. devaughnb
    Rough_Rock

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    by devaughnb » Jul 1, 2013
    SB621,

    Thanks for the help. I agree that eye appealing is the most important thing, however, to the untrained eye, via a computer screen, makes it much harder to be confident in stones. Which is why you all helping me identify what a good stone looks like has been so helpful. The reports are more a crutch than anything else.

    I have reached out to Jeff. The sapphire you posted was nice but a bit small. I was looking for something 2 to 2.5 cts. But hopefully, i can commission something from him. I may consider heated stone at this point given the options available. Especially, since there is actually no difference in appearance.

    I do like that Oval sapphire that was shown at Gemfix. Its almost round so might work well in that setting.

    With respect to the stone I posted. The seller described it as:

    Color rating range: 2.5-3
    Dichroic effect; faint
    Clarity grade: LI1-LI2
    Cutting grade 5
    Brilliancy range 80-100% ave. 90

    He seems well respected, which is a big reason for my working with him. So I am fairly surprised how negative everyone has been on the stone.
     
  22. chrono
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by chrono » Jul 1, 2013
    The comments given were about the stone itself, not the vendor. Just as people vary, gemstones vary too. Not every stone in a vendor's inventory is of great colouration and that is perfectly normal and to be expected.
     
  23. SB621
    Ideal_Rock

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    by SB621 » Jul 1, 2013
    For unheated/ untreated at over 2cts you will need to raise your budget. These typically start at 4k. I think readjusting your thinking to allow heat treatment will really open up some options for you and your budget.
     
  24. slksapphire
    Shiny_Rock

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    by slksapphire » Jul 1, 2013
    are the grades provided actual grades from an agl prestige report or what the seller thinks the stone would be?
     
  25. chrono
    Super_Ideal_Rock

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    by chrono » Jul 1, 2013
    Ditto to the question above. Is this for the first sapphire posted?
     
  26. slksapphire
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    by slksapphire » Jul 1, 2013
    and if it is, you should ask what the tone is
     
  27. devaughnb
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    by devaughnb » Jul 3, 2013
    He only has the GRS report, so i asked him what he might an AGL prestige report might say. I would only buy a stone conditional on the AGL prestige report matching up. I was told the color was "Kashmir" like.

    Attached is a second photo of the stone. It is the stone on the top right hand side.

    The vendor is offering a full refund if im not satisfied, but given the reviews here i'll probably pass on it. All these negotiations are being done at a distance so i'm a bit hesitant to just send out that much cash. I don't want to disparage the guy, but feel free to PM for questions about the vendor.

    img_0527__1_.jpg
     
  28. devaughnb
    Rough_Rock

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    by devaughnb » Jul 3, 2013
    My budget is over 4k. I could probably go up to 8k although a little cheaper would better. My girlfriend is pretty hung up on a round stone though, which is really making things tough. A slight oval might not be out of the question though.

    Thanks guys!
     
  29. slksapphire
    Shiny_Rock

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    by slksapphire » Jul 3, 2013
    honestly, i don't really have an opinion about the color quality of the sapphire because it is so dark. if i were you, i would ask him what the tone would be ... my guess is that it will be graded as quite dark by agl.
     
  30. devaughnb
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