Budget reality check help! (pricing advice)


Apr 19, 2016

When we got married we were on a very strict budget and so we got a very affordable sapphire. However, I feel like it is dull and lifeless and wish to change it to a better quality pear one instead.

I seem to be getting such mixed messages though about what I can get for my money. I am after a 7 x 5 pear shape and my local handmade jeweller said a decent one is around £1200 and one that was a little "posher" said £1250. However, then one in Hatton Garden, London said prices start from 2k. When I look at sapphires I don't know what I can expect.

This is the kind of blue and vibrancy I like but is probably VERY unrealistic and would set me back about 10k or more:

I found one on The Natural Sapphire Company which looks nice (see picture 1 below). However, although it says that it has not been treated the certificate will not confirm this.

I am always attracted to vivid colours and wear a lot of bright and cobalt blue. However, I made a mistake with my sapphire (see first pic below), which seemed to be more cobalt blue in the shop and then looks dull in most lights (probably due to the light). It also seems to have developed a crack and obvious window that wasn't there before so not sure if it was actually filled but they lied. I have looked up precision cut gems and love John Dyer's work - they just shine bright!

Can anyone advise a little on typical prices per carat depending on certain factors? And based on my comments on what I like what I may be better off compromising on. Considering waiting and saving more but we are planning to have kids in the future and I know as soon as I am pregnant I could never justify buying a new sapphire!

For example, taking this post as an example:
in conjunction with this:

I am looking for a 7 x 5 pear and sapphire gem, cut is very important to me and so I would like a precision cut (I believe).

saturation: moderately strong blue / strong blue / vivid blue for preference (I appreciate the latter is probably way out of my price range).
colour - as I live in the UK I can't go too dark but definitely don'

However, I think it is probably because my sapphire is so lifeless at the moment I think this is the be all and end all but I do think I would like a precision cut.

I am kind of trying to establish that is you took an average starting point, how much extra you pay as you go from "average"/a starting point to the high end.

To give an idea, here are some photos to help you see what I like:

1) The Natural Sapphire Company - I like the colour here (not perfect but I can't afford that) as it has elements of more of a cobalt blue but I worry it lacks vibrancy in the cut -
2) my engagement ring in indoor light (I live in the UK and so it looks like this most of the time as it's never really sunny!)
3) My engagement ring in bright light
4) The one John Dyer sent me - it's about $3,400. He said it is a nice colour and no visible inclusions or treatment. 2 carats nearly (too big for me) but to me I think it looks a little dark in places and less vivid than I would like.
5) I like the cut of this but I think it doesn't look very vivid. At $2940 I think the one I saw locally may have been a little brighter but just £1,200 -
6) I really like this cut but it's a little "steel blue" to me
7) I think this colour is nice but if you check the link here it is a little dull when you see it on the hand -

Thanks again!




Jun 15, 2015
Just a quick question: have you had your ring cleaned? A dirty ring will look pretty lifeless usually :)


Apr 19, 2016

I am SO sorry. I had my alerts on for updates but I don't recall seeing this one come through!

Yes, I've had it cleaned on quite a few occasions. It dies brighten it a little but there is clearly a window in the stone. (If I hold it up to the computer I can see a lighter almost see-through part through the computer behind). I can also now see a very grey almost fossil looking part in the gem, which I could have sworn wasn't there before.




Mar 2, 2009
Even though I have a pad sapphire from NCS, I don't know that they'd be my first stop as they tend to be on the expensive side.

Pears might be harder to find as most precision cutters seem to prefer rounds, cushions, and ovals. Of those options I think I like the gemfix one most.


Jul 7, 2013
I love that trillion one from Gemfix, for its colour and shape, and the cutting looks good to my untrained eyes.

DK :))


May 5, 2005
I worry all of those sapphires might be a little dark for you. Especially if you are often in indoor light where most sapphires don't look their best. Almost all my sapphires look pretty crappy in indoor light except the lighter-toned ones. Now, if you have a very sparkly (brilliant) sapphire, then you'll get sparkles off of it in indoor light even if it generally looks dark; is that what you're going for?

I have noticed a problem with sapphires, in general: there's a bit of a tradeoff. If you get maximum vividness and saturation (that wonderful cobalt color) in sunlight, it's going to darken a lot and look almost navy/black in low light levels (i.e., indoor lighting). If you get something that looks sparkly and nice in indoor lighting conditions, it's going to have lighter tone and thus lower saturation levels.

1. (NCS) This honestly looks way too dark to me and like it probably has a window. Particularly if what you're specifically looking for is sparkle, I'm not sure this would be the one. Also as others have said NCS is a little pricey.
4. (Dyer) This does appear to have some dark areas. Pears are also a little hard to cut (I think; maybe a cutter can weigh in?) without what are called "bow-ties," dark areas of the stone, and unless you get one commissioned specifically to avoid those, I think it is possible that most (if not all) pears you consider will have that issue when not in ideal lighting. (Guess what kind of lighting the vendor pics are taken under!) I do think this looks like a nice stone and you're unlikely to do a lot better on your budget.
5. (Gemfix) This looks relatively vivid to me color-wise, but it has a lot of purple (which is a plus for some people, though a minus for me personally). It also doesn't look that brilliant, which is also what you are looking for.
6. (Gemfix) This is personally my favorite and is probably the most brilliant of those you've posted. I agree that in person it's likely to be a bit steely. That wouldn't necessarily be a dealbreaker for me, but might be for you. Also trillions, if you are open to those, I think have fewer issues with the bow-tie problem than pears. (Again, I am not a cutter so I'd love a cutter to weigh in on this; it's just been my experience with stones I've bought/seen.)
7. (wildfish) Going to Ed's site, I see that this stone has a brilliancy of 50% which I suspect is not suitable for your purposes. Also wildfish is a little pricey because his gemstones are ethically and sustainably mined, aren't treated, etc.; not sure if that matters to you.

Also be aware that the setting can make a huge difference for sapphires. The bezel setting you have for your old one, in particular, looks to me like it's cutting down on a LOT of light getting to the stone. I mean, from your posts and pics there seem to be other issues with the stone as well; I'm just saying that the setting is probably also contributing.

(Diamond-owners are often told that bezels don't cut down on sparkle and light return that much, but this is true because diamond cutters don't have to worry about color. When the cut is meant to maximize color vividness, sometimes it gets a little wonky with respect to light return. Precision cuts, of course, are less likely to have this issue, but I've noticed in my stones that tilt windows still happen and can contribute to the bezel-darkening of a stone.)

I'm going to do a post on my new ring (...sometime! I may not have time to get around to it until this weekend) but I just got a sapphire reset and when I got it back, for a second I wondered if they'd replaced my stone with a much more expensive one! The setting is SO much better suited to the stone. Whatever stone you get, if you want to minimize dullness and lifelessness, I would say to go with a prong setting that can let a lot of light into the stone. Bonus for a stone with a window: a closed AND POLISHED section beneath the stone if possible.


Apr 19, 2016
Everyone is so helpful on this forum so thank you so much! (I've been away for work in Dublin so no access to the internet for a while, hence the delay!)

Anyway, I thought it may be better to give you a flavour as to why I LOVE the pear design. I've attached the original design my ring was based on. I had been torn between this one and a pear in his shop (I never actually tried on the oval one as they didn't have one in stock so I took a punt). I then saw this by the same designer (Goodman Morris) and fell in love and thought I may as well change the shape if I upgrade the sapphire too. I love the daintiness of my ring shank but love the offset pear.

I originally fell in love with Todd Reed's rings too and can see that the trillion looks okay, though still not as lovely as the Goodman Morris pear design (in my opinion).

So you can probably see that I kind of love the modern and sleek look (as well as satin/matt finish).

Deorwine - I think what you said is right, in that brilliance is most important and I have seen some darker stones that still sparkle. Ideally I would have both, but maybe I need to reconsider the saturation. I do LOVE the trillion stone you sent me - it's just I can't work out the trade-off yet in my mind between my love of that design (as I do love design too) and how much I will have to sacrifice on the gem (obviously don't want to do so!).

Also, when you talk about prong settings, are there other ways of achieving the look I like without the more obvious prong setting? I was thinking about bezet (i.e. peephole) set?

Chrono - I actually quite love that gem. Yes, it says it's slightly violet and I didn't think I would like that style of cut but based on Deorwine's comments I am now trying to consider different lights and how it will look most of the time. I do live in Manchester and it's known for being "pretty grim up north" in the UK!!

Does anyone have any advice as to how to get to grips with options? I don't want to waste the time of jewellers getting lots of stones in or order from the US, pay hundreds in shipping and taxes just to find out what I love. Any suggestions?!

Also, Deorwine - would love to see your before and after. And out of curiosity, if you can identify the other issues in my sapphire that may help. I think I know them but just so not sure!

Thanks again for all your help and sorry in advance for being so patient as a newbie to this forum. I kind of want to become an expert in the future now as I've also fallen in love with "dress ring" gems too. Oh dear....!

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