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Gemsny reputable / sapphire recommendation?

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,268
olegsomphane|1307296663|2938410 said:
I am looking for a dark blue, translucent sapphire and I think I found one at http://www.gemsny.com/sapphires/1.59-Carat-Round-Sapphire-S116RD/... Before I bite the bullet, I wanted to seek out some advice from more knowledgeable people... Can anyone tell me whether this stone or retailer is a good choice? I also welcome recommendations for other sapphire shops.
I would only deal with a sapphire dealer that sends the gems off to the AGL (American Gemological Lab). I don't care for the UGL at all, and I don't think they tell you about diffusion in sapphires, but they do over inflate appraisals.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
Joined
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9,613
TL|1307296904|2938413 said:
olegsomphane|1307296663|2938410 said:
I am looking for a dark blue, translucent sapphire and I think I found one at http://www.gemsny.com/sapphires/1.59-Carat-Round-Sapphire-S116RD/..... Before I bite the bullet, I wanted to seek out some advice from more knowledgeable people... Can anyone tell me whether this stone or retailer is a good choice? I also welcome recommendations for other sapphire shops.
I would only deal with a sapphire dealer that sends the gems off to the AGL (American Gemological Lab). I don't care for the UGL at all, and I don't think they tell you about diffusion in sapphires, but they do over inflate appraisals.
Did you mean translucent or transparent? This stone is transparent...

It has quite a lot of colour zoning but is a very pretty colour if it is as the picture shows. I have no experience of this company.

For coloured stones, I would like a report from AGL, SSEF or Gubelin.

UGL seems to do appraisals not lab tests looking at the report they have on their website (and if they value a 10ct brownish-orange garnet at $30k then I won't be going near them with a barge pole). They state they only use x10 loupe, microscope, UV and a ruler so I wouldn't exactly class them as a gem lab...
 

Trigon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
15
TL & Pandora, are you 2 in the trade or are you consumers? You give advice as if you are in the trade, so I was wondering why you don't have the trade Icon in you profile? When I read posts from people who have the trade Icon, they don't tend to disparage a place, whereas you 2 don't hesitate. AGL doesn't always give you all the info on gems either. You get what you pay for. If you pay more money for their better reports, you get more info. So I don't see the purpose in you telling someone a particular lab doesn't give info. Do you work there?
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
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23,268
Trigon|1307476189|2940052 said:
TL & Pandora, are you 2 in the trade or are you consumers? You give advice as if you are in the trade, so I was wondering why you don't have the trade Icon in you profile? When I read posts from people who have the trade Icon, they don't tend to disparage a place, whereas you 2 don't hesitate. AGL doesn't always give you all the info on gems either. You get what you pay for. If you pay more money for their better reports, you get more info. So I don't see the purpose in you telling someone a particular lab doesn't give info. Do you work there?
No, I am not in the trade at all. I'm a gem collector for the last 20+ years. I don't think you have to be in the trade to be an educated consumer. The UGL lab report listed on the site gives absolutely no information about diffusion, which is a common procedure in heated corundum. AGL is the premier lab for colored gems as many in the trade, and not in the trade, will tend to agree. I do agree you get what you pay for with the AGL prestige report, which is a great deal more information on the quality of the colored gem than the UGL report listed.
 

VapidLapid

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Feb 18, 2010
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4,267
And sadly, one doesn't need to be an educated consumer to be in the trade. That is one reason why it is so important to have consumer forums like this.
 

colorluvr

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2010
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1,683
I am not in the trade and I am not an expert, but I did get a UGL report with a stone I won on ebay, and while the price I paid was within what I consider "a reasonable range" for the gem, the UGL report was ridiculously inflated, like about 4 times what the gem was worth and what I paid.

GIA and AGL are the only two labs in the US that can tell for sure if a sapphire has been BE heated.

I can't comment on that specific vendor, as I have no experience with them, but as a consumer who has purchased sapphires in the $1000 to $2500 range (recently) I know I would not pay that kind of money for that sapphire unless the vendor agreed to let me send the stone off to AGL and allow a return/refund if it came back with any treatments other than traditional heat.

That's exactly what I am doing with a sapphire I just purchased from a different vendor - sending it off to AGL to make sure it only has been heated w/no other treatments. If it has, I will send it back for a refund (as was agreed with the vendor). The price I paid for the sapphire was such that I felt it was worth my time and money to do this.

I am choosing AGL because their gemstone brief report is the most economical to find out about treatments. If it comes back as heat only/no treatments, I may decide to pay the extra for a prestige report - I have already discussed this option with AGL.
 

Pandora II

Ideal_Rock
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Aug 3, 2006
Messages
9,613
I don't currently make my living through jewellery or gemstones, but I used to work in the trade years ago as a stone buyer and jewellery designer.

I'm also a gemmologist and a collector for over 10 years.

I feel I'm more than qualified to say that the example that UGL have put on their own website of their coloured stone report is not what I would want to get to help me feel confident about the stone I was buying. The equipment THEY state they are using isn't sufficient to ID a stone with any kind of authority let alone comment on treatments or otherwise. Where is their polariscope, spectroscope, dichroscope and the rest of the BASIC pieces of kit any gemmologist uses as a matter of course?

I also have enough experience as a collector of garnets to know that $30k is a ludicrous price for a garnet of the sort in their picture.

Sorry you feel I am being disparaging. I don't have any 'interest' in any gem labs anywhere. I do have a major issue with people who issue pieces of paper that make people feel they have bought something more valuable than they have and that are of no real use.

Just wondering... do you work for an appraiser or a lab? Just I noticed that nearly all your posts are to do with gem labs and/or insurance appraisals.
 

MontageCreations

Rough_Rock
Trade
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Apr 17, 2011
Messages
69
I also have a real aggravation for any lab that renders an appraisal of value. They are distinct and separate processes, often doing this leads the laboratory into the slippery slope of charging more for a service for which they really don't have appropriate authority. This duality has been challenged repeatedly in court actions and the lab usually takes a huge hit in credibility not only for the appraisal but also for their lab work as well.

You will notice the labs most highly regarded and accredited in the industry, don't provide measures of value, they leave that to the appraisers.

Yes, I am in the trade and I have no interest in any lab or appraisal service.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
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Trigon|1307476189|2940052 said:
TL & Pandora, are you 2 in the trade or are you consumers? You give advice as if you are in the trade, so I was wondering why you don't have the trade Icon in you profile? When I read posts from people who have the trade Icon, they don't tend to disparage a place, whereas you 2 don't hesitate. AGL doesn't always give you all the info on gems either. You get what you pay for. If you pay more money for their better reports, you get more info. So I don't see the purpose in you telling someone a particular lab doesn't give info. Do you work there?
I do not think it is a fair posting. I view it as an attempt to distract opinion from obviously flawed certificate to personalities of two wonderful PS-ers.

Pandora is very knowledgeable and I would welcome her opinion at any time.

There are few people here who are never afraid to give their honest opinions about the stones, irregardless of vendors and names, and TL is the leader. If she will stop giving her very honest and direct opinion about stones and vendors, PS will become a dull place.
 

minousbijoux

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Pandora and TL, thanks for your openminded, even-keeled responses. :wavey: Frankly, I had to go back and re-read it, as it seemed to me that you were making factual statements with no disparaging. Of course, that is exactly what it is - your experience and knowledge trying to offer someone sound advice in order to help them buy the best quality for a good price. As usual. :appl: :appl:
 

olegsomphane

Rough_Rock
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Jun 5, 2011
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2
Thanks for the responses everyone, it definitely made me a bit more informed than I otherwise would be. I do have a couple more questions, though:
1) I cannot see any gray in that sapphire's picture, am I blind? Also, do you expect the sapphire to look very different from the picture shown - either be very light blue or dull, non-transparent?
2) What are the downsides of BE heat treatment? I saw a couple of posts about it, but have not found any discussing negatives aside from possibly value...
3) colorluvr, you said you bought similar sapphires - do you mind sharing where you bought them from?
 

Trigon

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 22, 2009
Messages
15
O.K., I agree that the best labs do not not offer appraisals, and that is a great reason to use those labs and rely on their reports. But then, on the flip side, how come some qualified appraisers, some probably advertised on this forum, are allowed to "buy and sell", as long as it is disclosed? Appraisers are allowed to do both, and they are supposedly allowed to have 2 separate mindsets, one while doinf the appraisal and being "unbiased" and then flip a switch and become a buyer. I see advertisements on websites and yellowpages, that some ASA & ISA appraisers so this kind of work. How much different is it for the appraisers versus the "labs". I'm not defending either, just looking for opinions from others.
 

MontageCreations

Rough_Rock
Trade
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Apr 17, 2011
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69
Trigon said:
O.K., I agree that the best labs do not not offer appraisals, and that is a great reason to use those labs and rely on their reports. But then, on the flip side, how come some qualified appraisers, some probably advertised on this forum, are allowed to "buy and sell", as long as it is disclosed? Appraisers are allowed to do both, and they are supposedly allowed to have 2 separate mindsets, one while doinf the appraisal and being "unbiased" and then flip a switch and become a buyer. I see advertisements on websites and yellowpages, that some ASA & ISA appraisers so this kind of work. How much different is it for the appraisers versus the "labs". I'm not defending either, just looking for opinions from others.
you should probably start your own thread with these questions... there not the OP's concern
 

colorluvr

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Apr 18, 2010
Messages
1,683
olegsomphane|1307587351|2941289 said:
Thanks for the responses everyone, it definitely made me a bit more informed than I otherwise would be. I do have a couple more questions, though:
1) I cannot see any gray in that sapphire's picture, am I blind? Also, do you expect the sapphire to look very different from the picture shown - either be very light blue or dull, non-transparent?
2) What are the downsides of BE heat treatment? I saw a couple of posts about it, but have not found any discussing negatives aside from possibly value...
3) colorluvr, you said you bought similar sapphires - do you mind sharing where you bought them from?
First off, I'm very sorry that your original post got lost in a string of responses to a less than polite comment from another poster.

1) I'm not the one to ask about modifiers, so I'll defer to those who do a better job of determining them than me. I'm more of a "if I like the way it looks" I'm ok with it type of person, but I do appreciate others' comments because the presence of modifiers often affects the value of a stone.

As far as the photos, it is sometimes tough to discern whether or a not a specific photo has been altered or how true to life they are... there have been many threads on CS dedicated to that subject. Sometimes the alterations are obvious and sometimes vendors who have been accused of altering photos, swear that they have not. CSers who have purchased many stones often go back to vendors they are familiar with because they trust their photos. Properly photographing a colored gemstone is an art in itself.. some vendors (and CSers) do a wonderful job and some do not.

2) In my opinion, the main downside of BE heating is that it often isn't disclosed and vendors use terms like "earth-mined", "natural" and "no lab or synthetic stones" like the vendor you linked, but still don't disclose that the stone could very well be BE heated, which makes it much less valuable and actually changes the chemical composition of the sapphire. If you know that, and are ok with it, and don't pay much for the stone (BE stones should be substantially less than a heat only stone), then there isn't anything "wrong" with the stone, just like there isn't anything "wrong" with a lab created sapphire, as long as your know what you are buying. As some vendors on this forum have stated, BE heated sapphires are an inexpensive way for someone on a budget to get a nice looking stone, as long as the consumer knows what they are buying.

3) I don't think I said I've purchased a similar stone to the one you linked (RB cut blue sapphire), but rather stated I've recently purchased some sapphires within a specific price range. I did, however, recently purchase a blue Montana sapphire from Jim Rentfrow (saw a picture of the rough before he faceted it for me).. Here is the thread: [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/from-rough-to-me-new-jim-rentfrow-montana-sapphire.159069/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/from-rough-to-me-new-jim-rentfrow-montana-sapphire.159069/[/URL]

I also recently bought a sapphire from Gary Braun - here is a link to the sapphires that he still has for sale. I believe all of the larger ones come with an AGL cert (as did mine) http://www.finewatergems.com/sapphire.html

The sapphires that I have recently purchased that do not yet have an AGL cert came from a different vendor (he doesn't sell on ebay or have a website) and I'm not comfortable disclosing that source until I get the stones back from AGL.

I hope that helps. There are a lot of CSers that are a lot more knowledgable than I am and I hope they chime in. Welcome to the CS forum!
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Joined
Sep 20, 2008
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23,268
colorluvr|1307646450|2941852 said:
1) I cannot see any gray in that sapphire's picture, am I blind? Also, do you expect the sapphire to look very different from the picture shown - either be very light blue or dull, non-transparent?
2) What are the downsides of BE heat treatment? I saw a couple of posts about it, but have not found any discussing negatives aside from possibly value...
No you are not blind. You are just not familiar with seeing a myriad of fine sapphire out there. If you are new to buying gemstones, many stones look very saturated (lacking in modifiers) until you see some really saturated gems. That's why the best experience as a gem collector, or just a regular consumer, is to go look at very fine examples of some gems, and then trust me, you will see the grey.

As for BE treatment, I think colorluvr explained it well. It's a pretty invasive treatment, so these stones are just not valuable at all, but many dealers do not disclose the treatment and sell it for much more.
 
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