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Help me find a blue sapphire for e-ring? Under $7k?

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
All,

It would appear that I have decided not to go in blind with buying my girlfriend an engagement ring. At the same time, I don't want her to know anything about it, so I had her friend discuss her own engagement ring with my girlfriend, to solicit opinions.

Turns out, she probably doesn't want a diamond center stone. She likes stones in the generally blue color family.

So I have spent much of the past week looking into sapphire stones. I think what I would ultimately like to get is a radiant / radiant step-cut, or very very clear emerald cut, at around 2.25-2.75 carats. I am really torn on the colors, and, of course, my girlfriend really doesn't care about this kind of thing at all. I care about this much more than she does or will.

That said, she deserves a very nice ring, and so I would like to get her one. I think the Ceylon/Madagascar sapphires I've seen are really beautiful, but there are so many, and so many vendors, and it's just confusing as all get out. Like, what is "silkiness"? What is "velvety"?

So I come to the experts: I would like to get a nice, big center sapphire that is just really, really pretty for around $7k (or less, preferably!). I would like a cut that will look good with a ~.66 emerald cut diamond set on either side, so ideally I am looking for something that mirrors the proportions and angularity of emerald cut, but ideally with a little more pop. (Though I do think emerald cut stones are really good-looking in general.) So is a radiant/step-cut radiant the way to go? What is the difference between radiant and step-cut radiant, if any?

All I know is that I would like the stone to reflect a lot of light and look really vivid. It's okay if it's rich, but I would prefer something that isn't dark/opaque/drab.

Oh, and, heat treatment? Is there an issue with this? Is it anything like clarity correction in diamonds -- something to be avoided at all costs?

Thank you so much for any help you can provide!
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
I think your ideas will make for a stunning ring. Heat treatment is a generally accepted practice in sapphires and it does lower the price. What you don't want is one where the color has been drastically altered by beryllium. I immediately thought of this stone for you (scroll down to 6th row)
http://www.atggems.com/Photos_Sapphire.htm
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
Also- Here is a good discussion of what "velvety" means. It's kind of a sleepy look to the stone where tons of fine particles in the stone catch the light and make it "glow".
[URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/looking-for-velvety-sapphire.162876/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/looking-for-velvety-sapphire.162876/[/URL]

The discussion of cut is a difficult one. With colored stones cutters are constantly inventing new cuts so you'd be hard pressed to find an archetype agreed on example of what is radiant, radiant step cut (had not heard of this), or emerald cut for colored stones. In well cut stones the cutter could be following 1 of thousands of facet patterns often named by their inventor or they could be winging it. The one I directed you to is definitely a modified emerald if you are going to call it an emerald and it's quite radiant-like as well.
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
Thank you for your replies, Kelpie. The bit about velvety-ness is particularly interesting. It looks like maybe I should opt for a clear stone, though, because velvety stones are likely out of my price range for what I am trying to accomplish. Would you agree with that?

And while I think I would still prefer to not have heat treatment, ultimately, since it isn't a big black eye on the stone, it's not that big of a deal. Also, since the center stone, at least for what I have in mind, isn't necessarily the big cost component of the ring, the purity of the stone is less of an issue. (Likewise, since I think colored stones are less common in general in the e-ring arena, it's not like anyone is going to ask: hey, great stone. Color treated!?!?!? Well . . . I imagine no one would ever ask that anyway, but still.)

Also, AMAZING stone in the link! Damn. More like that?

I have done some more looking yesterday and today. Do you think it would be out of reach to manage to design the following ring for under 12k?

Center emerald/modified emerald/rectangular radiant cut sapphire, such as the one you linked me too (but lets say I can find something with a somewhat more vivid color), at around 2.5 carats, for around 4-4.5k. Does that seem right?

Find a relatively well-matched pair (stats-wise) of approximately approximately .66 carat emerald diamonds with great stats. Probably around $4k for the pair.

Setting them in a 3-stone pave configuration almost exactly like this one: http://artofplatinum.com/vault/index.php?page=shop.product_details&flypage=flypage.tpl&product_id=1397&category_id=2&option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=1

I don't care about the ring being platinum, though I would prefer palladium to white gold from what I've read. I pretty much love everything about this setting.

The idea behind doing a pave setting like this is two-fold:

(1) I know she doesn't want a big white diamond as her center stone. Okay, fine. But I know her, and even if she denies it, she does want a bit of fire; as she would (ironically) term it, "bling." I think pave is a really great way to accomplish this on a ring.

(2) If I go with a center sapphire, no matter the cut, and two emerald diamonds, this is not going to be a super fiery ring, especially under low lighting conditions like restaurants, bars, evenings outdoors in Half Moon Bay, etc. But it would still be nice to have an attention-grabbing ring, and I think pave is a way to return a lot of light as fire/scintillation in these lighting conditions. I think if I did a three-stone emerald-y setting such as this above, but with lots of pave below, it's a classier, e-ring version of a mullet: business up front, party in the back.

So what do you think? Could I get a setting like this with the remaining ~$4k?

Thanks so much for your help!
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
You're welcome. I'm certainly not an expert but I think the challenge of find the perfect stone will be not just a factor of price but largely availability. Sappires that size seem to usually be ovals or cushions to get the best yield. There is a 2.17 oval on that page I linked which has the most amaging velvety royal blue color for 3200. God, I'm tempted to get it myself! I think you can do it for under 12k but you may not find a sapp with every quality you want. You should let the jeweler making ring source the sides. I am always on a tight budget so I love finding earrings off eBay and making sides out of them but such a special ring deserves carefully sourced sides.
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
What is the advantage of the jeweler sourcing the sides? Can't I get more (and by this I mean better) diamond for the same price if I get them myself? Won't there be a significant premium on that?
 

kelpie

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 8, 2008
Messages
2,362
Well Leon Mege for instance will not touch side stones you sourced yourself. I'm sure part of that is because he makes a profit on them but also because they're tough to match and get the right proportions. If you want traps like the micropave ring, you definitely need someone who specializes in sides to help you. The jeweler I use lets me provide the sides and it's saved me a lot of money that way. The .60 CTW sides in my avatar were under $150 (ebay) and the setting was well under 1k so there can definitely be an advantage in doing it yourself.
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
I would definitely agree on unheated sapphire. Also, I would ask for photos in different lights since many stones "close" in certain lights. Weight and color notwithstanding, I bought a very nice unheated Madagascar stone from Jeff White and an excellent unheated stone from Gary Braun. The sapphires on Gary's current website are heated but perhaps it would still make sense contacting him?

Also - his stone was unheated and 3+ct and the price was excellent, but me, an idiot, asked him for a recut! So now it is under 3-ct. I was new to the concept of precision/native cuts; the reason I am mentioning it is because I have a thread somewhere about it and it is not large. It holds its color in all lights and the color is amazing!
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
kelpie|1310225956|2965479 said:
Well Leon Mege for instance will not touch side stones you sourced yourself. I'm sure part of that is because he makes a profit on them but also because they're tough to match and get the right proportions. If you want traps like the micropave ring, you definitely need someone who specializes in sides to help you. The jeweler I use lets me provide the sides and it's saved me a lot of money that way. The .60 CTW sides in my avatar were under $150 (ebay) and the setting was well under 1k so there can definitely be an advantage in doing it yourself.
Ah, gotcha. Are there any Mege-level jewelers who work with self-sourced stones? (Or, I guess I should ask, based on PS opinion: are there any other Mege-level jewelers, at all?) I mean, the stones I have in mind are small-ish, I can't imagine that there would be a huge markup on them, so that might not be a dealbreaker.
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
crasru|1310227492|2965490 said:
I would definitely agree on unheated sapphire. Also, I would ask for photos in different lights since many stones "close" in certain lights. Weight and color notwithstanding, I bought a very nice unheated Madagascar stone from Jeff White and an excellent unheated stone from Gary Braun. The sapphires on Gary's current website are heated but perhaps it would still make sense contacting him?

Also - his stone was unheated and 3+ct and the price was excellent, but me, an idiot, asked him for a recut! So now it is under 3-ct. I was new to the concept of precision/native cuts; the reason I am mentioning it is because I have a thread somewhere about it and it is not large. It holds its color in all lights and the color is amazing!
Crasru, I am afraid I am a noob to the concept of precision/native cuts as well . . .
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
congrats on your pending engagement.....and for having a girlfriend who appreciates color stones!

if you haven't done it yet, checkout this thread: [URL='https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/steveneedsaring-no-more-just-got-engaged-thanks-jw-jbeg.162978/']https://www.pricescope.com/community/threads/steveneedsaring-no-more-just-got-engaged-thanks-jw-jbeg.162978/[/URL]

and checkout his link within the thread re his search for his blue sapphire. i think your budget is less than steve's but you'll get a lot of good info out of that thread.....and your budget is not a bad one. i'd advise putting majority of the $ into the color center stone as that is what your girlfriend likes: color. while a nice setting is, well, nice, it doesn't make up for a poor center stone. with a color stone e-ring, the center stone is the star of the show.

good luck!
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
MZ,

Thank you very much! And that's funny, I've actually been reading Steve's threads. I am not a gem person, but holy cow that is a pretty center stone. Even I can appreciate it.

Thank you very much for the recommendation re: how to allocate price. Here is the thing: is there anything "in between" a real Kashmir with a velvety appearance and a clearer Madagascar/Ceylon in terms of quality? I know that my girlfriend wouldn't want a really large stone; I am thinking that I really couldn't go above, say, 65mm^2 facing up for the center stone, and I think with a typically-cut emerald stone that's going to put me under 3 carats. From the pricing I've seen, what few really beautiful emerald or rectangular radiant sapphires I have seen, I am not seeing many in my size range going for more than $4k. Even really pretty ones. So with a $12k budget, I don't want to just be overpaying for a sapphire just to get something bigger than she would probably prefer, right?

Let me show you one I really like. I've attached it to this post. The side stones are trapeze, and I guess if the jeweler will source them I would be fine with that. The center stone is a 3.67 carat, which is probably beyond my price range if I want to get a nice ring (and it's probably too big for her anyway, she's a petite girl with small hands).

Basically a ring like this, with a single center row of micropave, would be nice. I would expect millegraining and something more artful with the prongs and shanks from someone like LM, of course. I imagine the 3-sided micropave that I linked above would probably be out of my price range, although people seem loathe to talk about the price of their LM. (Which makes sense, I suppose.) I am not sure how much really nice ring with two side stones $7-8k buys.

Jewelry-Ring-Sapphire_Jewelry_Ring_Radiant_Blue_J2776.jpg
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
true confession: i'm not into diamonds at all....unless they have color.

however, i do like the ring you posted. i'm not a big LM fan. i'd prefer the ring you posted. i'm also not a milgrain person.

the ring you posted is stylish, elegant, and classy as well as classic. timeless would perhaps be a good description. it would look lovely on any finger.

checkout palagem as well as rwwise to develop an eye. you do not want to overpay for a stone but you don't want to go to inexpensive either. you'll learn a lot from steve's threads. drop into high end jewelry stores and see what they have for sapphires. DO NOT BUY! just look to help develop your eye. you will find that many behind the counter don't know more than you do but will try to sound like they do. when you're done with this project, you will know more than most behind the counter re sapphires.

decide if you are ok with heated material. for the right price i might be. i would avoid BE-treatment. there are others here more knowledgeable re sapphires than i am. unfortunately, i have an "eye" for stones but a beer budget. i do believe that an e-ring is an important piece and should not be scrimped on if it can be avoided. again, you've got a decent budget and will be able with some time and effort find what suits YOU AND YOUR GIRL.

you've got a decent budget to work with. don't be in a hurry. enjoy the processess and the "hunt". and re inclusions: many aren't visible to the naked eye and are more like "personality" rather than flaws.
 

ooo~Shiney!

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2010
Messages
1,501
movie zombie|1310241890|2965604 said:
you've got a decent budget to work with. don't be in a hurry. enjoy the processess and the "hunt". and re inclusions: many aren't visible to the naked eye and are more like "personality" rather than flaws.
Please do realize this !!!!!
As far as my stones go, the "inclusions" are those I often see only when I take
macro photos of them !!!!
It's so amazing !!!!!
It makes me wonder what's wrong with my eyesight at times.... :loopy:
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
movie zombie|1310241890|2965604 said:
true confession: i'm not into diamonds at all....unless they have color.

however, i do like the ring you posted. i'm not a big LM fan. i'd prefer the ring you posted. i'm also not a milgrain person.

the ring you posted is stylish, elegant, and classy as well as classic. timeless would perhaps be a good description. it would look lovely on any finger.

checkout palagem as well as rwwise to develop an eye. you do not want to overpay for a stone but you don't want to go to inexpensive either. you'll learn a lot from steve's threads. drop into high end jewelry stores and see what they have for sapphires. DO NOT BUY! just look to help develop your eye. you will find that many behind the counter don't know more than you do but will try to sound like they do. when you're done with this project, you will know more than most behind the counter re sapphires.

decide if you are ok with heated material. for the right price i might be. i would avoid BE-treatment. there are others here more knowledgeable re sapphires than i am. unfortunately, i have an "eye" for stones but a beer budget. i do believe that an e-ring is an important piece and should not be scrimped on if it can be avoided. again, you've got a decent budget and will be able with some time and effort find what suits YOU AND YOUR GIRL.

you've got a decent budget to work with. don't be in a hurry. enjoy the processess and the "hunt". and re inclusions: many aren't visible to the naked eye and are more like "personality" rather than flaws.
Thank you very much for all of your help, MZ. Since heating is quite common, I am not really sure why I should prefer an unheated stone other than for . . . hm . . . purity's sake? But thank you for the recommendations. I will definitely take my time and enjoy the hunt.
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
ooo~Shiney!|1310246403|2965621 said:
movie zombie|1310241890|2965604 said:
you've got a decent budget to work with. don't be in a hurry. enjoy the processess and the "hunt". and re inclusions: many aren't visible to the naked eye and are more like "personality" rather than flaws.
Please do realize this !!!!!
As far as my stones go, the "inclusions" are those I often see only when I take
macro photos of them !!!!
It's so amazing !!!!!
It makes me wonder what's wrong with my eyesight at times.... :loopy:
Right. I don't want a visually included center stone, but if it is traditionally VS1 or better, no big deal. The glowing Burmese sapphire I linked above would appear to be more than that, though . . .
 

Arkteia

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Nov 3, 2009
Messages
7,565
Honestly - good Kashmirs are expensive, but you do not need a Kashmir, nor a Burmese, you need a good stone. My advise is, since I was not awed by all stones that you have posted, to go to Pala's website and look at their stones. They are quite expensive and likely out of your league but at least you'll get an idea of what you really want. Then start looking for a stone like Pala's but less expensive. And I'd save on the setting and put more $$ into the stone because you can always upgrade the setting!

Inclusions, in fact, may be desirable (Kashmir's have inclusions). A small inclusion on the side may dramatically lower the price and yet be totally covered in a setting.
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
Crasru,

Yeah, I'm not looking for a Kashmir stone. That Kashmir blueness/velvety-ness is really nice, though.

I mean nothing on Pala is really singing to me, save maybe for this one, at least in terms of color:

http://www.palagems.com/php/db_search.php?action=gemdetail&inventory_number=19028

Obviously this will be way out of my price range. But the only other "holy cow" moment I've had looking at stones that were at all within the realm of possibility was that 1.67 ct. emerald cut I linked.
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
um, i think you should know that color stones do not have grading systems in the same way that diamonds do. a claim of VS of any # is merely subjective by the vendor. buying a color stone is so much harder than getting a diamond.
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
Yeah MZ, I should have been more specific. I just meant as a shorthand for what would otherwise be considered VS1; very small inclusions, almost loupe clean, whatever you want to call it. I know that there isn't a set grading system.
 

velouriaL

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 21, 2004
Messages
1,178
I personally love LM's work. Once I saw his prongs in person, it ruined me for all other prongs. Definitely do a search for him on here and get a sense of the full range of experiences. You might also look at Maytal Hannah and Steven Kirsch.

I, like everyone else on PS, enjoy the hunt, but recently, a friend of mine (with my help) fell in love with LM and wanted to get sapphire earrings from him. I advised her to search, but she LM mentioned that he had some on hand and getting them from him turned out to be the less expensive overall and also most beautiful option. It probably couldn't hurt to contact jewelers you're interested in working with and see what they can source for you. Of course, you never know with LM...

You don't mention asscher cut gems, but they seem like something you might be interested in... In which case, you might want to check out Jeff White.

You mention wanting a beautiful color and wanting some fire. Perhaps it might be more cost effective to go with pave but nix the side diamonds? That way you can put a little bit more money into said color and fire...

Also, you say that she doesn't want a "big" stone. Between 2-3 cts is pretty ample, by most standards. You also mention 65mm facing up, by which you assume you mean 6.5mm? Step cuts do tend to use more material than others, but I think you can probably achieve that size while staying as close 2cts as possible. You could do a cushion or roval (round oval) cut and keep it under well under 2 carats and get the same mm size, which will save money and probably be easier to find.
 

davi_el_mejor

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 8, 2010
Messages
1,947
nda|1310229008|2965503 said:
kelpie|1310225956|2965479 said:
Well Leon Mege for instance will not touch side stones you sourced yourself. I'm sure part of that is because he makes a profit on them but also because they're tough to match and get the right proportions. If you want traps like the micropave ring, you definitely need someone who specializes in sides to help you. The jeweler I use lets me provide the sides and it's saved me a lot of money that way. The .60 CTW sides in my avatar were under $150 (ebay) and the setting was well under 1k so there can definitely be an advantage in doing it yourself.
Ah, gotcha. Are there any Mege-level jewelers who work with self-sourced stones? (Or, I guess I should ask, based on PS opinion: are there any other Mege-level jewelers, at all?) I mean, the stones I have in mind are small-ish, I can't imagine that there would be a huge markup on them, so that might not be a dealbreaker.
YES!

I've seen some Leon Mege (LM) pieces owned by a few PS'ers. They're lovely, his reputation is well earned. I've also seen quite a few rings done by Diamonds By Lauren (DBL). Side by side, couldn't tell the difference between a LM piece (with claws and pavé )and the DBL with the same details. The claws were straight, delicate and sharp on both. The pavé was flush, straight and secure (as secure as pavé can be of course).

DBL is definitely worth considering when looking for a ring vendor.
 

Barrett

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 26, 2009
Messages
2,218

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
amethystguy|1310371176|2966313 said:
Was cruising ebay and found this one...didn't read anything past GRS report and lots of adjectives saying how fine this gem is.......

http://cgi.ebay.com/WORLDS-FINEST-VIVID-OUR-FINEST-BLUE-UNHEATED-SAPPHIRE-/260717364781?pt=Loose_Gemstones_1&hash=item3cb3f7462d

Then I found this one...it's about as far away from "Vivid" as you can get...LOL
http://cgi.ebay.com/2-21-Carat-Vivid-Blue-Sapphire-Burma-Unheated-/230643678073?pt=Loose_Gemstones_1&hash=item35b36f3b79
Damn. That first one looks like a really nice rock. Great find. Maybe I am a little confused on the idea of a "window" though. Seems like there is a pretty obvious one in one of the pictures?

The second stone sucks, lol.
 

movie zombie

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 20, 2005
Messages
11,879
please do not purchase this your very first color stone purchase and one for perhaps the most important ring of your girlfriend's life from ebay. almost all pictures from ebay vendors will not be accurate....not that other vendors do much better at times....and the stone listed in the same post that you described as "yuck" is going to be very very very dark irl.

i realize that there are pricescopers that do purchase from ebay vendors. but most of them have been collecting for years and have paid their dues re learning about stones. many have developed a relationship with certain vendors and the vendor knows what the buyer is expecting. you are not in that category....but may be one day if you develop a love and passion for buying your girlfriend/fiance/wife jewelry.

and i can tell you this: a $600 dollar stone while lovely will not compare to a $4000 stone. if you've really done the homework and seen a lot of stones you're going to be able to see the difference. and while we all want to save $ and not overpay for something, i would think that with your budget you'd step up to the plate and get the very best stone you can afford. the color stone is the star of this show and the diamonds if you go that route should not be of more importance than that sapphire. a low grade sapphire surrounded by higher grade diamonds shows the sapphire to even more disadvantage irl. most women who want a color stone e-ring are not doing it because they are "settling for less" or trying to save $ [although some do get the color stone until they can afford the diamond they really want]. some of us have put more into our color stone e-ring that many have into their diamond e-rings. and i don't think those of us that did so contemplate "upgrading" our e-rings the way so many do that go the diamond route. do it right the first time and she'll be wearing that same ring 30 years later.

perhaps the vendor that steve bought from would have something you'd like. it would be worth pursuing...... remember that vendors do not list their entire inventory on their website. many have vaults that have things in it they've even forgotten they have. there could be a fab stone lurking just out of your sight. calling a vendor and talking with them can be a great way to get more info. you could establish a relationship with that person who could help guide you and/or source a stone for you. or even cut one for you in the case of gene at precision gem.
 

nda

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jul 1, 2011
Messages
25
MZ,

I don't disagree. I expect to preview many, many stones in person; I live in NYC. Even if I go with an online vendor, I will go with one that PS recommends, with a good return policy. I also expect to, as I said, pay a significant amount for the stone. I would be surprised if I paid under $4000 for the center stone, but I am not above finding a bargain. Just because of the way that it would appear that pricing works for these stones, I don't anticipate paying above $7000. It would seem that, in the size I am looking for, that buys an extremely cherry stone that is nevertheless not a Kashmir stone, but can have many of those good qualities. That's what I want, and they seem to be in the 4-7k range.

I am not going to drop additional money into the center stone just to get diminishing returns or just to be able to say I paid a lot for the center stone. I recognize that it's the star of the show, but I am not going for a $10k/carat Kashmir stone; I am looking at Burmese and Ceylon stones and even the very good ones (or so I have read) don't seem to go for north of $3k/carat.
 
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