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Please help me choose a sapphire for my ering!

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mrsinaugust

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
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18
Love this forum, and have learned SO much from your posts! It’s really helped me narrow down what I want (and don’t want).

I’m choosing my engagement ring. I want something that both my BF and I love. He love sapphires, and I love color, so a sapphire it is! He hasn’t given me a budget, and has just said to pick whatever I want. Very sweet, but I really want to stay within $7-8K. If I can get a beautiful ring for less, even better! He’s in Iraq until August ☹, so we’re doing a lot of this online. I think I’m ready to order some sapphires, but would like some opinions from experienced eyes (it seems like Tourmaline Lover can spot a window 1,000 miles away!!) before ordering thousands of dollars of stones.

What I’m looking for:
Color: I love the electric blue, sleepy Kashmir looking sapphires. I prefer an unheated stone, but I’m not completely turned off by the thought of a heated stone. However, I do not want a stone that’s been treated in any other way. I read some literature on NSC that sapphires from Madagascar can have a Kashmiresque look, and are often heated at a much lower temperature, which leaves most of the natural structure intact. For this reason, I’ve been a little partial to sapphires from Madagascar (does anyone know if this is true?).

Shape: Squarish cushion cut, but also looking at slightly ovaled circles

Size: ~8mm, perhaps up to 9mm

Setting: I want vintage-looking, platinum, bezel set, with a very small halo, and as low profile as possible. I’ve been looking at Knox, LM…

Sapphire #1
Love the color, a little more rectangular than what I want, but seems like a good price
http://www.cherrypicked.com/Gallery/Score.aspx?ItemID=1029

Sapphire #2
Would it be too dark in a bezel?
http://www.thenaturalsapphirecompany.com/Sapphires/Blue/B3143/Cushion/stoneid=B3143

Sapphire #3
I’m a little worried about buying from Thailand, only because I fear the return might be complicated. Has anyone ordered sapphires this site?
http://www.ajsgems.com/gemstones/Sapphire/Blue-Sapphire-2049211091-2046340410.html

Sapphire #4
http://www.ajsgems.com/gemstones/Sapphire/Blue-Sapphire-2049211946-2046340410.html

I’ve also seen lots of sapphires on palagems, but I’m not sure who I can ask to source them for me.

Any other recommendations?

Lastly, can someone help me understand what extinction means??
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,511
My top pick is Cherrypicked: top colour, good cut and excellent soft velvety quality.
My second pick is NSC. Above average colour, decent cut and also has that Kashmir look.
AJS: I have purchased from them and they are honest and reliable. Good customer service. Returns are also easy because they have a US office that you can ship to. That said, the 2 you posted from AJS are nice but nowhere close to Cherrypicked and NSC. They do not have the silky soft look and the cutting isn't as good either. Both have small windows. Since you have a healthy budget, I'd get the best quality (colour, cut and unheated) as I can get.

You can get your local jeweller to contact Palagems for pricing. Wink Jones is another vendor I highly recommend. He has access to Pala pricing and is able to get you a Richard Homer sapphire cut in the traditional flat faceting style. Try www.winkjones.com You can see several pricescoper's wonderful blue sapphires here in the Coloured Gemstone forum.
 

yingh

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jan 14, 2004
Messages
1,420
I''ll ditto on the cherrypicked. If it were me, I won''t hesitate for a second. I''ve learned that cherrypicked uses a very reliable rating system and their pictures are on the contrary, not the best shots of the gems.

I am a little bothered by the cut for the NSC one. Something about the slightly uneven ''belly''.
 

RubyCharm

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
364
Date: 3/22/2009 4:47:50 PM
Author:mrsinaugust
Love this forum, and have learned SO much from your posts! It’s really helped me narrow down what I want (and don’t want).


I’m choosing my engagement ring. I want something that both my BF and I love. He love sapphires, and I love color, so a sapphire it is! He hasn’t given me a budget, and has just said to pick whatever I want. Very sweet, but I really want to stay within $7-8K. If I can get a beautiful ring for less, even better! He’s in Iraq until August ☹, so we’re doing a lot of this online. I think I’m ready to order some sapphires, but would like some opinions from experienced eyes (it seems like Tourmaline Lover can spot a window 1,000 miles away!!) before ordering thousands of dollars of stones.


What I’m looking for:

Color: I love the electric blue, sleepy Kashmir looking sapphires. I prefer an unheated stone, but I’m not completely turned off by the thought of a heated stone. However, I do not want a stone that’s been treated in any other way. I read some literature on NSC that sapphires from Madagascar can have a Kashmiresque look, and are often heated at a much lower temperature, which leaves most of the natural structure intact. For this reason, I’ve been a little partial to sapphires from Madagascar (does anyone know if this is true?).


Shape: Squarish cushion cut, but also looking at slightly ovaled circles


Size: ~8mm, perhaps up to 9mm


Setting: I want vintage-looking, platinum, bezel set, with a very small halo, and as low profile as possible. I’ve been looking at Knox, LM…


Sapphire #1

Love the color, a little more rectangular than what I want, but seems like a good price

http://www.cherrypicked.com/Gallery/Score.aspx?ItemID=1029


Sapphire #2

Would it be too dark in a bezel?

http://www.thenaturalsapphirecompany.com/Sapphires/Blue/B3143/Cushion/stoneid=B3143


Sapphire #3

I’m a little worried about buying from Thailand, only because I fear the return might be complicated. Has anyone ordered sapphires this site?

http://www.ajsgems.com/gemstones/Sapphire/Blue-Sapphire-2049211091-2046340410.html


Sapphire #4

http://www.ajsgems.com/gemstones/Sapphire/Blue-Sapphire-2049211946-2046340410.html


I’ve also seen lots of sapphires on palagems, but I’m not sure who I can ask to source them for me.


Any other recommendations?


Lastly, can someone help me understand what extinction means??

I think you might also want to check out Richard Wise''s website which has a nice collection of both heat enhanced and untreated sapphires. Another PS member recommended it to me when I was looking for a ruby for my e-ring, and I found his gem grade reports very helpful.

If you want to learn a little bit more about extinction, I would suggest that you read the following article by Richard Hughes, a gemstone expert: Brilliance, Windows and Extinction in Gemstones

Palagems is a reputable source for quality gems. A few weeks ago, when my BF and I were still searching the Internet for the perfect center stone for my e-ring, we found a gorgeous star ruby on palagems.com and got a number of price quotes for this particular gem from both local jewelry stones and online vendors. Needless to say, there was a
SIGNIFICANT
difference between the price quotes from brick & mortar stores and those from online vendors. If you decide to get a sapphire from Palagems, I would strongly suggest that you get price quotes from both types of retailers before making a purchase decision. And, by the way, the NSC can contact Palagems on your behalf and get a price quote for you. Dear BF and I actually purchased our star ruby this way (the NSC had the star ruby shipped to our home for inspection together with other gems from their own inventory). Their price quote was very reasonable
(just to give you an idea, one B&M store gave us a price for the loose ruby that would have been equivalent to what my BF ended up spending on both the star ruby and a customized Van Craeynest setting
).
 

RubyCharm

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 10, 2009
Messages
364
One more thing, if you want a unique antique setting, I highly recommend Van Craeynest. Check out their online catalog. Their rings are die-struck and simply breathtaking
and their customer service is exceptional.
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 20, 2008
Messages
23,283
Date: 3/22/2009 4:53:49 PM
Author: Chrono
My top pick is Cherrypicked: top colour, good cut and excellent soft velvety quality.
My second pick is NSC. Above average colour, decent cut and also has that Kashmir look.
AJS: I have purchased from them and they are honest and reliable. Good customer service. Returns are also easy because they have a US office that you can ship to. That said, the 2 you posted from AJS are nice but nowhere close to Cherrypicked and NSC. They do not have the silky soft look and the cutting isn''t as good either. Both have small windows. Since you have a healthy budget, I''d get the best quality (colour, cut and unheated) as I can get.

You can get your local jeweller to contact Palagems for pricing. Wink Jones is another vendor I highly recommend. He has access to Pala pricing and is able to get you a Richard Homer sapphire cut in the traditional flat faceting style. Try www.winkjones.com You can see several pricescoper''s wonderful blue sapphires here in the Coloured Gemstone forum.
Ditto!!
 

DiamanteBlu

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Jul 12, 2005
Messages
2,501
Both the Cherrypicked and the NSC stones look very nice. I prefer the shape of the NSC stone but they are both gorgeous.

ETA The NSC stone does not look to dark for a bezel to me. You might want to call them about it.
 

mrsinaugust

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Messages
18
Thank you everyone!!! This is all very helpful.

For the Cherry Picked sapphire, would you not be concerned that it comes without a certificate? The description does say that it''s heated, but can be confident (because of the good reputation of the vendor) that it hasn''t been treated in any other way? I don''t really want to fly a gem around the country to get certified.


Here are the sapphires I was looking at from Palagems, and two more I found while procrastinating on schoolwork:


Sapphire #5 (Twin Diamonds--has anyone heard of them?)

Sapphire #6 (Richard Wise)

Sapphire #7 (Palagems-probably out of my pricerange)

Sapphire #8 (Palagems-again, probably out of my pricerange)

Sapphire #9 (DEFINITELY exponentially out of my price range, but it''s so beautiful I had to post it!)

I''m leaning towards ordering both the CherryPicked and NSC stones to see them in person.

As far as settings, I have a few designs in mind, hopefully within my budget. I love Edwardian & Art Deco rings, especially the ornate detailing on the underside. I also love micro pave, but worry about how it stands up to daily wear.. Do any of you wear your micro pave rings on a daily basis? I don''t plan on gardening in it, but I want to wear it everyday without constantly worrying about it.

One design I''m considering is something like this style, but with a much smaller halo: SETTING #1 but with something like this design design on the underside.

I''m also thinking about an octagon halo, like this: SETTING #2. But do you think the dimensions would be off (octagon/cushion) with a colored stone?

I also love this one: SETTING #3. Although I can''t conceptualize how the square under the stone will look when worn-- What do you think?

RubyCharm, the Van Craeynest settings are gorgeous! Thank you for the recommendation! I was actually looking at rings with this type of carving. I found a picture of a gorgeous ring posted by Upgradeable a couple of years ago on another forum. Does anyone know who designed it (I don''t know how to contact individual members). Of the trusted designers that PSers use, do any of them specialize in this kind of work? I would prefer a bit of a lower profile, like THIS ring. I''ll also contact Van Craeynest.

Thanks again for all of your advice. The posters on this forum have some of the most stunning colored gemstone rings I''ve seen, so I really appreciate all of your opinions and suggestions!
 

marcy

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 27, 2007
Messages
24,088
I like the Cherrypicked and NSC ones; nice colors. As for settings I like # 2 and the one you posted by upgradeable. What a fun project.
 

ma re

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
2,698
First to comment on the four stones from your original post; the rest coming up later.

Stone #4 is probably too dark to bazel.
Color on the stone #3 seems a bit washed out.
Stone #1 looks very nice, but I''m not sure how much brilliance and scintillation you can expect from it. I''d also want to make sure the color looks like in the photo.
Stone #2 would be my choice; nice color, cut, outline and proportions. It''s not perfect, but it''s getting there.

Another thing - NEVER buy a multi-thousand dollar gemstone (or a thousand dollar one, for that matter) without a certificate. It is a MUST! And never forget the golden rule - if something seems too good to be true, it most probably is not.
 

ma re

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 10, 2008
Messages
2,698
OK, here''s part 2.

Of the rest of the sapphire bunch, I don''t think neither is the one. Numbers 6, 7 and 9 are probably too dark to bezel (although wonderful stones), #5 has a huge window (something I wouldn''t tolerate in this price range), and #8 has some obvious color zoning and a washed out color (zoning is recognized by the pale patches in the upper and lower left).

Regarding your settings;

- the first one is interesting (and it would be even more with the ornate underside), but you''re right about your ring needing a smaller halo, simply because the stone itself will be substantial (a halo proportionately large as this, around your stone, would result in something rather huge)
- the second one is my favorite, as I think the octagon halo actually balances out the cusion''s curves (with straight lines and angles)
- the third one is quite contemporary, although it might look very classic from above; intersting details on the underside, but not my thing
- the low profile on the fourth one results from the ring having layers of accent stones arranged in several halos; but I don''t believe something like that would be easy to do with a large stone as you''d need a lot of finger real estate.

You''ll have to be careful with trying to achieve a low profile, cause the depth of the stone will probably be in the 5-6 mm range, so you can''t go below that.
Size of the halo is something to which you have to pay even more attention. If you end up with a 9mm stone, diamonds of less than 2mm would probably be too small for it. And if they are too small, ring lacks balance and their brilliance becomes hard to notice. People often make a very thin halo around a very large stone, which really doesen''t end up looking nice and balanced (the same applies to side stones). So if you want a halo around a 9mm stone, keep in mind that you could end up with a 13mm arrangement. Things like width of the shank, size and shape of your hands and fingers, and future plans of wearing a wedding band together with the e-ring all have to be taken into account.

BTW, micro pave (or any kind of pave) is not advisable for something that would be worn daily.

Hope this helps.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,511
Stone 5 is horrible in all ways - a definite no. A giant window and a gray mask
Stone 6 while lovely is a little dark
Stone 7 is also dark but doesn't appear to show much brilliance
Stone 8 is a lovely bright colour but the cut is so terrible it makes the stone unattractive
Stone 9 is beautiful but on the dark side

With synthetics so prevalent with sapphires and extremely well done, and since you are spending a good chunk of $$$, I would insist on a AGTA cert.
 

mrsinaugust

Rough_Rock
Joined
Mar 22, 2009
Messages
18
Wow.

Seriously, you guys have an incredible talent for reading a sapphire. I''m going to take your comments on each stone and go back and study. I''m almost embarrassed to admit this now, but I spent many, many hours selecting these stones, and I didn''t see ANY of the details you all picked out!

And thank you for all of your comments on the settings. I never considered that too large a stone and too small a halo would look wacktastic. I also don''t want a ring that appears too flashy because we''ll be living in conservative countries for the next several years (at least). Does anyone know if there is a "Show me your halo" thread? I did a search in the "Show me your ring" thread with marginal success.

Lastly, a couple of questions about etiquette:
1. When do you start inquiring to jewelry makers about designing a ring? I''ve been reluctant to do so because I don''t want to waste their time with scattered ideas. Do you wait until you have a very firm idea of what you want?

2. Is it OK (and is it possible) to contact members directly with questions about their rings?

Thanks again for all of your help. I tried to enlist my sisters'' assistance, and their feedback has essentially dissolved into "Uhhh, this one looks blue, too."

They have no idea.
 

Kismet

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 6, 2005
Messages
2,991
Date: 3/24/2009 12:46:01 AM
Author: mrsinaugust

Lastly, a couple of questions about etiquette:

1. When do you start inquiring to jewelry makers about designing a ring? I''ve been reluctant to do so because I don''t want to waste their time with scattered ideas. Do you wait until you have a very firm idea of what you want?


2. Is it OK (and is it possible) to contact members directly with questions about their rings?


Thanks again for all of your help. I tried to enlist my sisters'' assistance, and their feedback has essentially dissolved into ''Uhhh, this one looks blue, too.''


They have no idea.
1. I usually have a pretty good idea of what I want before talking to a jeweler; not necessarily all the details nailed down but at least the basics. I don''t think, however, a jeweler would be offended if you said "I have this stone for an engagement ring. What can you do with it?" and then give them some basic parameters.

2. There''s no private messaging system here so you''d have to start a thread with that person''s name and just ask your question.
 

secondhandnews

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2007
Messages
147
It is difficult to judge sapphires from photos. It takes a lot of time and patience to locate THE ONE. I agree that the cherrypicked stone has promise. The Richard Wise stone looks dark but it may be the photo. The NSC stone is worth a look but from my experience, their sapphires are somewhat darker in person than the photos.
Any of the trusted vendors will ship a sapphire to you for viewing in person. I would not purchase a sapphire and have it set without viewing it in person. Searching for a sapphire involves lots of time asking questions of vendors. Another option is find a vendor that you trust and feel comfortable working with and let them source stones for you to view.
I would stay away from Twin Diamonds. I ran across their website during my search. They have shanged their photo style since then but I''m still leary of them. When I looked at their site last year, they were using the same photo for the different sapphires in 3 different sizes!!!
 

TravelingGal

Super_Ideal_Rock
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Messages
17,193

E B

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Aug 31, 2005
Messages
9,488
mrsinaugust,

I apologize if someone's already suggested this (I skimmed but didn't see it), but what about a Jeff White custom-cut sapphire? Here's a link to his website, where you can view examples of the amazing work he does.

J. L. White Fine Gemstones

The Sapphires
 

secondhandnews

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Mar 13, 2007
Messages
147
DUH! I forgot about Jeff White. Great advice Ebree! Jeff sourced and cut Lost Sapphire''s beautiful sapphire. It is one of my all time favorites!!
 
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