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Buying first ring, need help understanding Sapphires!

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krelkor

Rough_Rock
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Hello!

An opportunity to propose has presented itself. Randomly invited to a wedding in China, managed to find cheap tickets, and neither of us have been to Asia before. Thus, the time to act is now...but we leave in 4 weeks, ack!

This is my first foray into buying jewelry, and I am very much in over my head. If only this was as simple as Plasma TVs, computer hardware, or financial investments!

Goal is to not get ripped off --hopefully the knowledgeable people on this board can help me understand enough to not do so. :)

Looking for princess cut sapphire, not very big, about 1ct, to eventually be put in a white gold solitaire setting.

This week has been my first week out to the local jewelers in Boston, been to a few recommended on this forum, as well as on local review sites.

Question 1!

The cuts are already confusing me. I was shown a 0.9ct princess cut that has a larger..top? square? (table?) than a 1.25ct stone. The jeweler(sales woman) said that this was possible because the 0.9ct stone is much less shallow than the larger stone, and would be better for me because it would look larger than other stones of comparable weight..and thus be cheaper

Is this the right way to be thinking about specific stone cuts? Want to make sure this is not BS to sell me something inferior.

Question 2!

Been to 4 places, asked each one about their sapphire "rating" system and prices. Most did say anything concrete about this, but from the samples I was given, it would appear that the lighter blue stones are more expensive than the darker blue...and that''s about all they would give me for info.

I want a light blue stone(yay sparkle!). A few of the jewelers referred to this color as Ceylon. I know Ceylon stones come from Sri Lanka, but does it also refer to the color?

Question 3!
The end all question.. How much should I be paying for this sucker. When I ask for a quote from all 4 jewelers, most came back at average $1000/ct for the color I was looking for, in 1ct princess cut. The online wholesalers recommended in a thread here have prices that vary tremendously, but they all appear to be well under $1000/ct.


Guess those are the nagging questions right now, thanks for all the help!
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Question 1: It's true, some cuts are larger "face up" for the same carat weight just because that's the way the cut goes. :)
Question 2: Light blue? Can you post a pic because "light blue" can mean different things to different people. For example, montana sapphires area very light and icy blue (1.9 ct, unheated, 925$):
Montanta Blue
And there's also "cornflower blue" which might be what you're thinking of
Cornflower
And here's a lighter blue also from Ceylon (it's 1.3 ct for 420$, heat treated)
lighter ceylon blue

Q3: Jewelers at brick and mortar stores are usually pretty overpriced. In general, it depends. An untreated stone will be much pricier than a heated one. One from ceylon will probably cost more than one that doesn't. And then there's cut, tone, saturation (and all the fun color factors) I'd take a look at the vendors on PS and maybe narrow it down to a few and come back for more specific feedback :) But for a heated sapphire in a nice color (not necessarily from ceylon), princess cut, 1000$ seems pretty pricey. I'd say more like 400ish, and that's higher than I might guess just because a princess cut may be harder to find (I don't think I've seen one) ..but I"m new at this too so I could be entirely wrong, lol.

Hope that helped.
 

azelismia

Rough_Rock
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Feb 21, 2009
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I have spent the last month trying to learn about sapphires and what makes a price point. I still don''t really fully understand it. it appears to be highly subjective. the solid price factors that I could find were clarity, heated vs heated treated vs untreated, and the depth of blue. the closer to just right hte higher the price. the trick is just right seems different to everyone :)

I personally found this to be helpful


http://www.wildfishgems.com/sapphire_on_photo

http://www.thenaturalsapphirecompany.com/Sapphires/Education/
 

krelkor

Rough_Rock
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Mar 18, 2009
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Thanks for the help thus far! Getting the color names correct looks to be utmost importance at the moment

Judging by the supplied links above, I am looking for a rich sky blue...though who knows since its the internet, and not in person
the color that I would like it to be in real life.. is
Rich Sky Blue

The Montana blue, that was your first link, from the pictures seems to be too bright and light, though I may want to see something like that in person. The Cornflower blue was much too....blue blue....

A darker sky blue or a lighter marine blue may be what I am looking for in regards to color.
 

Kismet

Ideal_Rock
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2,991
Cross Jewelers has a nice chart of different tones of blue (although their naming is definitely a bit different). :)
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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If I was going to spend over 1k on a sapphire, I'd go with one of these:
Cushion
Round

But that's just because I love Richard Homer's concave faceting, it's so unique!
 

FrekeChild

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Dec 14, 2007
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I found a princess sapphire for you, but it''s not the color you want: Link

You will probably have to have something custom cut because it''s not really a gemstone cut. You will see a lot of oval sapphires and probably round sapphires than princesses. Good luck! If I see anything that might come close I''ll post it for you.
 

krelkor

Rough_Rock
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Mar 18, 2009
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Date: 3/19/2009 2:21:05 PM
Author: Kismet
Cross Jewelers has a nice chart of different tones of blue (although their naming is definitely a bit different). :)

Thanks for another list of colors to pick from :p

From that list, it looks like between Camelot blue and Prince of Whales Blue.


And yes, I agree, it is almost impossible to find a princess cut sapphire in-store. Jewelers kind of look at me like I am a moron for thinking such a thing exists. I usually have to schedule to come back the next day while they go to their wholesaler for stones to show me, making this a long process!

So it sounds like 1000/ct is the upper most range for something ideal then.
 

azelismia

Rough_Rock
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this is the Sapphire I ended up buying. it was 432$ 1.34 carats its from umba tanzania no heat

daylight01231.jpg
 

DianaBanana

Shiny_Rock
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Jan 26, 2009
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360
I''m not an expert by any means but I think you might have trouble finding a stone that''s already cut - princess isn''t a shape that I''ve seen in a stone with nice color - just the standard mall variety black/blue.

I''d suggest determining the color you like and then contact one of the custom cutters mentioned on PS to see if they have rough available that can be cut into a princess.

Here is a link to Jeff White''s sapphire gallery: http://www.whitesgems.com/gallery/corundum.htm and a link that helped me articulate the color I was looking for: http://crossjewelers.com/sapphire/HowToBuyAsapphire.htm (thanks LostSapphire).

If it''s a square shape you''re after, I''d also suggest that you consider cushion, emerald and asscher cuts - in my opinion, these deeper cuts do wonders for a blue sapphire.

Color (hue, tone, saturation), clarity, treatment and size all play a large role in determining the value of a stone - it''s pretty tough to compare apples to apples. Let the wonderful PS vendors help as they see more gems than you can ever hope to, then buy what you love at a price you can afford.

Hope that helps!
 

LdyNghtWng

Rough_Rock
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Sep 26, 2006
Messages
76
Sapphires are wonderful, coming in such a delightful range of colours! I am sure, when you see the right one,
it will sing to you. My own preference is for a deep cobalt blue, but one that still looks blue in any light, maybe more what some term kashmir blue? I am guessing you like them a bit lighter.

In very lay terms, the highest prices seem to be for the more pure, chromatic blues (hue), regardless of tone (depth of colour), so long as the stone radiates that true blue. Which would mean a midrange tone, not excessively light or dark, will be most desirable, and it is an individual preference how dark or light is prettiest. Too light, and the prices tend to drop off as the stones seem anemic, but that can be made up for by that extra sparkle. To dark, and they go black, again dropping the worth. So on a tonal scale of 0-10, I would guess that the 4-8 range is most valuable.

If price is a factor (and sadly, isn''t it always!) I wouldn''t hesitate buying an heated stone, and using the money saved toward extra size or a fancier mount.

I would rethink the princess, and for a square look, got for a radiant. I actually like the squared off look of a princess, too, but I wouldn''t risk those delicate points in an e-ring. Too heartbreaking if they get damaged! Sometiems it is worth compromising a little on style, and getting durability.
 

FrekeChild

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ma re

Ideal_Rock
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I see you already got some good advice, so I''ll only point out things that are important;

- when you look at the stone from the side, you can see that some pavillion angles (hope you know what the pavillion is) are different from others; generally, if they''re more steep, the stone will end up with more material after cutting, therefore more weight and will face up smaller than another stone of the same weight (amount of material), since the first one has more weight in the lower part of the stone, not seen from above - that means smaller diameter; in extreme cases, like the one you describe, it can happen that one stone is so deep (or the other so shallow), that things don''t seem logical
- extra depths can result in what is called extinction, and basically means that parts of the stone are too deep to reflect light, therefore look dark and dead
- extra shallow stones develop a "window", which is part of the stone (mostly in it''s center) that doesen''t reflect, light like in the case of extinction, but for another reason; here, reason is that the stone is so shallow that light passes through it too fast without bouncing off of the facets and reflecting back into the viewer''s eye - it just goes through the stone, like it goes through a window, and results in a stone through which you can easily read newspaper, as there''s no light reflection in the middle
- colored stones are cut depending on the shape of the rough, and rough is shaped depending on the nature of the material, mostly crystal system; since sapphires mostly form in elongated crystals, that''s the most often cut shape in which they''re found; so that''s why you''re much more likely to find them in oval or cushion shapes, instead of princesses; garnets or diamonds are formed in cubic crystal system, so are easier to find in princess cut and other square cuts
- unlike diamonds, colored stones don''t have a standardized system of grading, which you''ve already seen; there are a lot of gemological laboratories which use diferent systems, and even vendors create their own, so it''s much harder to buy a colored stone
- price will depend on a lot of factors, but if you''re looking for something in the 1000$ region, I''d advise you to stay away from stores that don''t offer a certificate of some gemological laboratory with the stone; it will prove you that you''re buying "the real stuff" and tell you everything about the stone (exact color, clarity and cut specifications, and much more)
- Ceylon can be a place of the stone''s origin, but light blue stones are often refered to as "ceylon-type sapphires", cause they resemble stones that were usually provided from mines of Ceylon.

That''s about it from me, for now
 

krelkor

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 18, 2009
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7
Thanks for the replies so far everyone!

Just got back from my first encounter with one of the more reputable family jewelers here local (recommended multiple times on PS). Had no less than 3 very happy couples coming to pick up their wedding bands, they all beamed about how happy they were with the jeweler.

Told the guy I was looking for princess cut sapphires around 1ct. Came back with 2 stones, square with CUT corners(ugh), with very visible abnormalities inside, hell they looked like bubbles. Kept trying to tell me it was invisible to naked eye when he put his loop up to the stone. I pointed to the corner with the aberrations 5/5 times he tried to trick me by rotating.

I'm going back next week when he should have "stones he knows I will like"

I cant win with this, frustrating!
 

krelkor

Rough_Rock
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Mar 18, 2009
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Apparently I dont know how to edit a previous post...

Edit: This was the shape of the top of the stone he showed me. I was under the impression princess cut did not have those rounded corners. Is he trying to play me? I would hate to call him out on it if I am in the wrong.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Colour is the top priority when it comes to coloured gemstones. The one you posted does not appear to have strong saturation nor pure blue hue. Some jewellers aren't gemstone savvy; if you go with recommended gemstone jewellers posted on PS, you'll be in good hands.

As mentioned multiple times, there aren't many princess cut sapphires around. Diamonds and gemstones are cut very differently and judged on completely different criterias. Princess cuts are also prone to edge chips because the points are very thin. This is most likely another reason why many gemstones are not cut in this shape. The stone shown to you MIGHT appear rectangular once set because the prongs will be placed at the cut corners. It is certainly not square and not a princess cut stone.

Most coloured gemstones only need to be eye clean. You should be able to find eye clean sapphires easily - it sounds like maybe your jeweller isn't very knowledgeable about coloured gemstones. It is normal to find bubbles if using a loupe. If you want it loupe clean, make this known to your jeweller.Also, I presume this is a heated only stone or must it be untreated?
 

krelkor

Rough_Rock
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Mar 18, 2009
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I am not sure of the cost/benefits of Heated vs unheated vs untreated sapphires.
From what Ive read some people prefer unheated because its more "pure and rare"? Girlfriend really wont care about that as long as its pretty and free of naked eye blemishes. Shes not one to brag on how much her fiance spent on a ring(yay!). Her only criteria was princess... I would rather not get her something else square that is not a "princess" for fear of possible wrath
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Got it. In that case, I''d get a gently heated blue sapphire in a princess cut.
 

krelkor

Rough_Rock
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Mar 18, 2009
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I really appreciate the help, or even letting me talk out loud to figure stuff out :p -- Somehow I managed to be the first of my friends to go through this.

How is something like this?

http://wildfishgems.com/inc/sdetail/149

Says unheated, so maybe it is a little expensive for what it is?
 

MakingTheGrade

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I think that looks great and sounds like exactly what you're looking for! The fact that it's unheated and from Ceylon is probably why the price is a bit higher than what you might expect, but that also makes it more special :) And your gf can brag that it's an all natural sapphire :)

And price wise, I think it's pretty good on short notice (and certainly much cheaper than a white diamond of that size!)
 

azelismia

Rough_Rock
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it looks like just the ticket to me. I think unheated is better if you see the before and after pics of unheated stones later heated it's like you're getting a ugly duckling in costume!

plus if you have less than a month it's available, it's the right shape and it's very pretty. I really don't think it's very expensive for a one carat stone anyway when you look at the prices of treated stones. I think it looks much better than the other stone you put up the picture of. that vendor (with the all black background) was more expensive than this for what looked like subpar heated stones
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
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That is a good find. Very pleasant blue that isn't overly dark or light in the shape/cut you are looking for. The slight inclusions don't look too bad and the zoning probably will not be noticeable to the untrained eye. Ed is an honest guy so feel free to ask more questions. Unheated sapphires typically cost a little to a lot more than their heated counterpart. This one looks miles better than the first stone you posted.
 
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