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Large cushion cut burmese sapphire ring

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Chris1

Rough_Rock
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Apr 6, 2003
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I saw a 7+ carat burmese sapphire with 2 small trilliant diamonds on either sides on a platinum setting at a well known jeweler (don''t want to name names) in Beverly Hills for about $49,000. The color is a beautiful, vibrant, medium blue with tiny hints of purple. The stone seems to have a lot of sparks, and still look blue under different lighting, althoug it looks the most vibrant under the sun light. However, there is an inclusion (like a short, thick piece of fiber) on the underside of the stone that is visible to the naked eye, if you look at it closely.

I also saw another sapphire ring (also from a big name jeweler) that is 6 carat with a beautiful antique pave setting. It costs about 15K more. The sapphire was of darker blue, have a lot of sparks, looks nice and clean, and it also looks best under flourescent light.

I thought when it comes to color stone, it''s the color that command the price. Can any sapphire experts out there explain to me why the 6ct would cost more than the 7ct sapphire with the better color? Both jewelers are big names with signed jewelry pieces.
 

Hest88

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,357
Without knowing anything more, the possible answer to your question is simply because they come from two different jewelers, both with the big name to charge pretty much whatever the heck they want and have the local Beverly Hills moguls pay it.
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
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Sep 25, 2002
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4,924
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Can any sapphire experts out there explain to me why the 6ct would
cost more than the 7ct sapphire with the better color? Both jewelers
are big names with signed jewelry pieces.
-----------

Hiya Chris. A lot of things can come into play here. One of the first and foremost that comes to mind is, as Hest states, the difference in markup between jewelers. One guy may have a higher cost of operation than the other, hence a higher markup.

One store may consider itself a more "excellent" store, which can command a higher price than another.

Were both the sapphires Burmese? Different countries of origin can command different premiums.

Who created the "signed" pieces? Different origins of creation can command different premiums. Some designers, both old and new, command more than others.

Are you sure that the 7 carat had what is considered "better color" than the 6 carat? The reason I ask that is because different consumers have different tastes, which sometimes run contrary to the "trade" opinion on beauty. For example, I've had many consumers tell me they prefer the color of a Thai ruby over that of a Burma ruby. The Burma commands a much higher price, but some people don't think it's as pretty. Are they "wrong"? No. That's just their personal preference, which runs contrary to traditional thought and pricing structure.

You mention the 6 carat was in a "beautiful antique pave setting". Perhaps there was the factor of antiquity value coming into play on the 6 carat. That can be a significant factor in value. A fine antique piece by a popular past master can bring significantly more money than a contemporary piece of the same quality be a lesser established modern master.

Diamond pricing is easy compared to colored stone pricing. There seems to be a larger component of "art" involved in colored stone appreciation, with diamonds having a larger component of "technical precision".
 

greta2002

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 17, 2002
Messages
22
I have recently begun a search for a larger (5+ ct.) sapphire, but find myself completely lost! There is no information about quality of cut on the stones I have seen- cut seems to be only a description of the shape. Also, clarity seems to be described as eye clean or loupe clean. How can one find a good quality stone? Do you have to rely almost exclusively on your own eyes? Rich mentioned that stones from different origins command different premiums. Rich, can you elaborate on this? Is it a personal preference or a genuine difference in quality of the stones? Thank you all for your responses.
 

Richard Sherwood

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 25, 2002
Messages
4,924
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There is no information about quality of cut on the stones I have seen- cut seems to be only a description of the shape.
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Although a better cut stone will command more money than an equivalent stone with a poorer cut, cut does not carry as high a priority with colored stones as it does with diamonds.

The reason is because the main "C" of a colored stone is color, color, color. Everything else takes a back seat to color, as long as none of them (the other C's) are way out of whack. Cutters often have to perform "tricks" to bring out the color on a certain stone, like positioning an off-center culet on a Ceylon sapphire to catch the area of heaviest color concentration, which then reflects throughout the interior of the stone, making it a far finer stone than if he had kept the cut within traditional boundaries.

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Also, clarity seems to be described as eye clean or loupe clean.
-----------

There definitely is not the penalty on clarity with most colored stones as there is with diamonds. The clarity grading standards on colored stones are more "relaxed" than those with diamonds. The GIA has even created different clarity grading standards according to the "type" of colored stones. Type 1 category stones usually crystallize eyeclean (like aquamarine), Type 2 category stones usually crystallize with slightly eye visible inclusions (like ruby and sapphire), and Type 3 category stone usually crystallize with noticeably eye visible inclusions (like emerald).

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How can one find a good quality stone? Do you have to rely almost
exclusively on your own eyes?
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A good book to buy is "The Ruby & Sapphire Buying Guide", which is available at Barnes & Noble or through the internet. I can't remember if it's Antoinette Matlins that wrote it or Renee Newman. One of the two. It's an easy read, and when you finish it you will have considerably more confidence in your decision making abilities regarding ruby-sapphire.

Then I would search out a couple jewelers/dealers that are known for their colored stone expertise. Most jewelers are diamond savvy, and colored stone ignorant. You need to find someone that is passionate about color, and has spent considerable time learning about them.

In the end though, your eyes are the final word in determing beauty and value. Trust them. They and your brain are the most awesome instruments of color perception in the known Universe. Did you know that the average woman can distinguish between 1100 shades of gray? It's hard for me to get this out, but the average man is purported to be able to distinguish only 800 shades of gray...

Thank God I'm not average.

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Rich mentioned that stones from different origins command different
premiums. Rich, can you elaborate on this? Is it a personal
preference or a genuine difference in quality of the stones?
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There's definitely a value difference because of country of origin. It becomes more noticeable the finer, larger, and more important a stone is. There are various aspects of tradition interwoven with the differences, but the bottom line is that rubies and sapphires from some mines and countries just look better than others, for one reason or another. The buying guide book will go into detail regarding this. You can also find a lot of information at Pala Internationals site:

http://www.palagems.com/home.htm

Their "buyer's guides" on the individual stones are outstanding.

The order of importance on country of origin for ruby and sapphire usually runs like this, although a fine stone from one category may surpass an average stone from another category:

Kashmir (very rare, very expensive. mine played out in the early 1900's)
Burma
Sri Lanka.....Madagascar.....Vietnam.....Montana
Thailand
Nigeria
Australia.....North Carolina

Another thing that has a big effect on value is heat treated stones versus non-heat treated. The majority of rubies and sapphires are routinely heat treated to bring out their best color, and this is fine. If you run across a fine color, non-heat treated stone though, it will command a premium. In Burma stones for example, non-heat treated stones usually command a 40-50% premium.

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Thank you all for your responses.
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You're welcome. Remember to make any purchase contingent upon the sapphire apraising out to your satisfaction with the independent appraiser of your choice. It's a reasonable request, which most vendors will go along with.
 

greta2002

Rough_Rock
Joined
Dec 17, 2002
Messages
22
Rich,

WOW! Thank you so much for sharing your wealth of knowledge- it is greatly appreciated!
 

Chris1

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 6, 2003
Messages
15
Hi Rich,

Thank you for your inputs. The sapphires from both rings come from Burma, one has GIA cert. and the other has Gubelin cert.

The 7 carats has a better blue color (medium blue vs. the medium/dark blue) for my personal taste. You're right, when it comes to color stone, it's color, color, color, and color.

Are we allowed to give out jeweler's names on this discussion board?
 

Hest88

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jan 22, 2003
Messages
4,357
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On 4/7/2003 4:40:14 PM Chris1 wrote:

Are we allowed to give out jeweler's names on this discussion board?

----------------
Jewelers aren't allowed to promote their goods, but consumers name names all the time!
 

sdaspin

Rough_Rock
Joined
Oct 6, 2003
Messages
2
There are many reasons why a stone could be a different price. Color is very important.The first stone you mentioned had hints of purple. That doesn't sound like a Burmese stone. The second stone you didn't mentioned origin. The origin of the stone also commands price. The cut of the stone commands price. Also weather or not the stone was heat treated. This is extremely important when it comes to price. Everyone has their own personal preference. It is really important what you like in a stone. Some people like lighter blues. These would be Ceylon or Madagascar. Darker blues come from Burma. And the corn flower blue that people talk about are Kashmir stones. Inclusions are ok. You want your stone to look blue even without light. Or in extreme light you want your stone to look blue. In these extreme lighting scenarios a lot of stones look black.

Prices these days can definitely vary from source to source. It could also have to do with the jeweler. Good luck.
 

valeria101

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Aug 29, 2003
Messages
15,809
Hi!

Both pieces are of the sort one would not expect to find two on the same shelf (well, at almost any jeweler, probably also including those two, good as they are). Are the stones treated? The difference seems too small to indicate that one stone might be untreated and the other heat-treated, but, however I still am curious...
 
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