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Sapphire engagement ring search in the time of Coronavirus - help please!

PShank27

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
12
Hello!

First-time poster here. I am in need of help to find the perfect blue sapphire for my engagement ring. More specifically, I am looking for a royal blue or slightly purplish-blue oval or cushion cut sapphire measuring around 8.5x7 with a ratio of around 1.2-1.26. I would like to stay around $7500 or under for the whole ring, so around $6K for the stone. I have been on the hunt since around January and in the course of that time have already bought and returned two rings! :oops:

Let me give you a brief rundown of my journey so far. First, I found a setting I thought I liked on James Allen and picked a sapphire from their selection as well. When it came, I realized the basket stuck up too much and the sapphire was just kind of meh. This sapphire was about 9x7. I have small hands btw - ring size 3.75.

IMG-4148.jpg IMG-4149.jpg

Then I decided to look at Brilliant Earth. This time I focused on finding a low, simple setting and a sapphire with the right color and richness. When it came, it was pretty, but the whole ring was just too tiny. This sapphire was 8x6. It was a pretty color but definitely blacked out at different angles and in different lights.

IMG-4232.jpg
IMG-4233.jpg



After this, I found the Natural Sapphire Company which seemed to have a great selection of sapphires and I found a setting that I really liked. I also came across padparadscha sapphires for the first time and thought I should consider that color range as well, especially since I want a rose gold setting. I had a ring model made and 3 sapphires sent to me to preview. Unfortunately, I didn't love any of the sapphires. The padparadscha colors are pretty but blend into my skin too much.

IMG-4325.jpg B11724_JS851R18_01.jpg B11724_JS851R18_03.jpg


Though I have had good customer service from NSC so far, it worried me that the blue sapphire looked so different than the pictures online. Around this time is also when I discovered Pricescope and this forum. I discovered that NSC is not on the recommended vendors list and read some of the concerns about their sapphires. I looked over their blue sapphire selection again with the knowledge I gained from this forum and realized that a lot of their stones are overpriced and not well-cut.

I then made my way through the whole recommended vendor list, looking through their online selections. These are the best options I have found:

1. https://gemfix.com/gems/sapphire-blue-11-1221 Good size, but too deep.
2. https://gemfix.com/gems/sapphire-blue-11-1325 Too small, and not really oval. Really like the Portuguese cut though.
3. https://gemfix.com/gems/sapphire-blue-11-1306 Like that it's unheated and purplish. More elongated than I want and looks like it has a lot of extinction.
4. http://www.concavegems.com/detail.cfm?zNum=7330 Have never seen this cut in person and is very interesting, but not really sure how I feel about it.
5. http://www.concavegems.com/detail.cfm?zNum=7335 Ditto
6. https://deliqagems.com/Royal-Blue-Oval-Ceylon-Sapphire-Certified-Unheated-BS908/ Unheated +, window -
7. https://www.litnon.com/index.php?page=viewgem&id=11650 Great price, but that makes me question the quality.
8. https://www.primagemsusa.com/content/209-cts-natural-ceylon-blue-sapphire
9. https://www.africagems.com/sapphire-oval-2-23-20189535.html Right size and unheated, but looks too light.
10. https://www.africagems.com/sapphire-cushion-2-8-201812250.html Expensive, even with 20% off.

I also reached out to David Klass to see how much a custom setting would be. The quote he gave me was a little higher than the setting I was looking at from NSC, but I am ok with that since he is so highly recommended. He also recommended Jeff White, Gary from Finewater gems, and Precision Gems. I reached out to all of them, and the best lead I have so far is this sapphire from Jeff White.
. He plans to recut this stone and the finished product should be around the dimensions I am looking for. It will take about 6-8 weeks for the recutting and another month for the setting, so the main concern here is my impatience lol.

Since places are starting to open around me, my future fiancee and I also went to some local jewelers this weekend. There wasn't a great selection of sapphires and most of the stones were already set, which made it hard to visualize. These are probably the best 2 options. They had good prices but honestly didn't wow me.

IMG-4317 (1).jpg

Sorry for the super long post and not so great pictures, but now you know the whole story. I would greatly appreciate your advice and opinions. Thanks!
 

Attachments

Rfisher

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Oct 19, 2013
Messages
2,407
Congratulations on your engagement!
I love your write up :)

Did you happen to measure in mm how high that setting you pictured was? If you know how high is too high,
Stone #1 could be set if you go custom, at a more acceptable height to you.

The recut from Jeff White - did he give you any idea/example of how he’s going to recut it? What facet pattern what he’s expecting to gain from the recut on how it is/looks now? Are you locked into the purchase if you don’t like the outcome?

These two would be my pics if the bunch.
 

Arcadian

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Sep 17, 2008
Messages
7,138
So before I start, Hi, good to "meet" you...lol

Next this is going to be harsh...maybe. But you've done some homework, you can handle what I'm going to say next.

Friend, slow down, slow your roll...justalilbit :tongue::D . You need to temper your perfection and impatience with reality. Basically your timeline which is short, is not matching up to your expectations which are high, and that can get you into some trouble. And then you start having paralysis by analysis. Not to worry many of us have been where you are and we've had to slow down, deep breath and keep in mind what the journey is about.

So please please please give yourself time to find that perfect stone, and don't feel like you should rush through it.

Sometimes it just jumps in your lap
Sometimes you gotta go through the wringer for it.
Either way its such an educational journey and should be a very fun one, if a wee bit stressful!

JW is a great cutter, lots of confidence in his skill @Rfisher is correct that you need to think of lots more eventualities with custom cut.

Next, litnon. I've bought more than my fair share from him....lol I've also returned some too! so he's got a great policy, do talk to him and let him know what you're looking for though. Sometimes I find his images hard to read and just best to see in hand (take it you're in the US for that?)

ANYBODY that you work with, know how they work and their return policies. You do see certain names over and over for a reason. mostly good, sometimes bad...lol I think you're realized that though.

Is there a particular cut you do not like? Concaves are pretty full on modern cuts. Not everyone will like them right away and you SHOULD always see them in person if you're not sure.

Portuguese cuts give your eyes a lot of bang for the buck (but of course) And its probably one of my favorite cuts for this reason alone.

There's a traditional mixed cut which you see most often and might be called "native cut"

Then there's more precision cut stones which each cutter may have a different name for his/her cut.

Def. ask JW about how he plans to cut the stone because if you KNOW you don't like certain cuts, convey this early on because you're going to be paying a premium for a custom cut, and you pay a premium for a known name. I put this out there because you're not looking at a 1:1 in terms of price with something that's just sitting there cut versus something that is to be cut.


Next the shapes.....
If you want an oval, remember that you may not get the "perfect oval" Oval stones have their own set of crazy issues with extinction. I say this because you'll probably end up rejecting lots of ovals for this.

Rounds of course tend to not have that though you do pay premium for round, square (cushion) and rectangle stones may be a bit better on that.

Because of the cost of material you will usually find lots of rovals for sapphires I consider them to be kinda fat ovals. with the right cut they can be amazing and fat ovals if well cut and a few other things, don't always have the same extinction issues that a traditional oval does. Just something to keep in mind.

The color of your metal may also have sway to what color stone you ultimately choose. be careful to not choose too warm of a stone for a cool or greyish metal. Its more nuanced there, so just keep it in mind especially if you go with a warm metal like RG.


When you're looking at a set stone, its as dark as its going to get. In general a sapphire will darken slightly based on environment variables such as setting, lighting conditions (sunlight, LED and incandescent lighting also comes under this), and your noggin being in the way (lol). so, if you find a color of a stone that you like and its been set, then, look for up to a shade lighter unset to give you wiggle room for your own setting.
 

PShank27

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
12
Congratulations on your engagement!
I love your write up :)

Did you happen to measure in mm how high that setting you pictured was? If you know how high is too high,
Stone #1 could be set if you go custom, at a more acceptable height to you.

The recut from Jeff White - did he give you any idea/example of how he’s going to recut it? What facet pattern what he’s expecting to gain from the recut on how it is/looks now? Are you locked into the purchase if you don’t like the outcome?

These two would be my pics if the bunch.
Thank you! Unfortunately, I didn't measure how high the setting was before I returned it, but I am trying to stay under 5-5.5 mm deep. David Klass recommended I stay under 6.75 mm, so maybe I am being too picky about the depth? I guess a mm difference isn't really that much. :|

As for Jeff White, he didn't give me a facet pattern. He did send some pics of what I might expect.
before and after.jpg
According to his website, there is a 20% non-refundable deposit for commissioned pieces, but I will clarify that. Thanks again for your input!
 

PShank27

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
12
So before I start, Hi, good to "meet" you...lol

Next this is going to be harsh...maybe. But you've done some homework, you can handle what I'm going to say next.

Friend, slow down, slow your roll...justalilbit :tongue::D . You need to temper your perfection and impatience with reality. Basically your timeline which is short, is not matching up to your expectations which are high, and that can get you into some trouble. And then you start having paralysis by analysis. Not to worry many of us have been where you are and we've had to slow down, deep breath and keep in mind what the journey is about.

So please please please give yourself time to find that perfect stone, and don't feel like you should rush through it.

Sometimes it just jumps in your lap
Sometimes you gotta go through the wringer for it.
Either way its such an educational journey and should be a very fun one, if a wee bit stressful!

JW is a great cutter, lots of confidence in his skill @Rfisher is correct that you need to think of lots more eventualities with custom cut.

Next, litnon. I've bought more than my fair share from him....lol I've also returned some too! so he's got a great policy, do talk to him and let him know what you're looking for though. Sometimes I find his images hard to read and just best to see in hand (take it you're in the US for that?)

ANYBODY that you work with, know how they work and their return policies. You do see certain names over and over for a reason. mostly good, sometimes bad...lol I think you're realized that though.

Is there a particular cut you do not like? Concaves are pretty full on modern cuts. Not everyone will like them right away and you SHOULD always see them in person if you're not sure.

Portuguese cuts give your eyes a lot of bang for the buck (but of course) And its probably one of my favorite cuts for this reason alone.

There's a traditional mixed cut which you see most often and might be called "native cut"

Then there's more precision cut stones which each cutter may have a different name for his/her cut.

Def. ask JW about how he plans to cut the stone because if you KNOW you don't like certain cuts, convey this early on because you're going to be paying a premium for a custom cut, and you pay a premium for a known name. I put this out there because you're not looking at a 1:1 in terms of price with something that's just sitting there cut versus something that is to be cut.


Next the shapes.....
If you want an oval, remember that you may not get the "perfect oval" Oval stones have their own set of crazy issues with extinction. I say this because you'll probably end up rejecting lots of ovals for this.

Rounds of course tend to not have that though you do pay premium for round, square (cushion) and rectangle stones may be a bit better on that.

Because of the cost of material you will usually find lots of rovals for sapphires I consider them to be kinda fat ovals. with the right cut they can be amazing and fat ovals if well cut and a few other things, don't always have the same extinction issues that a traditional oval does. Just something to keep in mind.

The color of your metal may also have sway to what color stone you ultimately choose. be careful to not choose too warm of a stone for a cool or greyish metal. Its more nuanced there, so just keep it in mind especially if you go with a warm metal like RG.


When you're looking at a set stone, its as dark as its going to get. In general a sapphire will darken slightly based on environment variables such as setting, lighting conditions (sunlight, LED and incandescent lighting also comes under this), and your noggin being in the way (lol). so, if you find a color of a stone that you like and its been set, then, look for up to a shade lighter unset to give you wiggle room for your own setting.
Nice to meet you too! I hear you and I fully agree that my expectations are probably too high. I don't really have a timeline, but I would like to have a ring before I get married next year lol. I might just get a cheapie stand-in, for now, to hopefully quell my impatience and "slow my roll."

I don't think there is a particular cut I don't like, but I believe most of the stones I have seen in person have been "native" or commercial cut. I agree that the Portuguese cut is probably my favorite that I have seen online. I will ask Jeff White more specifically about what cut he plans to use and clarify what I do and don't like. I feel like I have an idea of his style because of the pictures on his website of his finished work - they mostly have a similar look. I have seen some of his stones with a fatter girdle (I think that's the right term), that I don't really like the look of, but I believe those were cut from rough.

I don't care about a "perfect" oval with ideal proportions. In fact, I prefer a roval/fatter oval or a rounded antique cushion cut - so if that means less extinction issues all the better! In terms of color, I think I gravitate towards the slightly purple-toned, almost tanzanite-colored stones because I feel they look better set in rose gold. I know that I want rose gold because it suits my skintone. I know most people prefer blue sapphires with white gold/platinum, but not me!

Thanks again for your advice!
 

elizat

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Mar 23, 2013
Messages
1,866
Rather than suggest particular stones, I would like to recommend you talk to Inken of Enhoerning Jewelry as well and let her know you like the look of a roval or a antique style cut, and what your general size goals are, as well as color tones you like. She specializes in sapphires and mostly unheated, but I think she's a good resource. I bet she would look for heat treated, if that is what your budget would allow for with size goals.

Also, with colored stones, ratios are great to keep in mind and general size goals, but it's all about color, first and foremost. I would focus first on color, and then general size before getting nitty gritty into ratios.

Inken will have access to a lot more than are on her site.

A little smaller in the width, but a lovely color for example:

 

kgizo

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
1,645
I‘m a fan of DK and Jeff White’s work. If you haven’t done custom before you may want to think about it more before committing. Some people have an image in mind and when it doesn’t turn out exactly as they envisioned they get disappointed, even if their vision wasn’t reasonable. Some people love the creative process and ending up with something special and unique. Your idea of getting a cheapie to try out and help you slow your roll is a good one while you navigate your options. This is an important purchase and you don’t want to rush it. I haven’t purchased from Enhoerning but do follow her on IG and she has some beautiful sapphires so @elizat’s suggestion of checking with her is a good one.
 

PShank27

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
12
Thank you for your advice @elizat and @kgizo! I sent a message to Enhoerning Jewelry. Hopefully, Inken can help me out :pray:

I understand what everyone is saying about being too nit-picky, but I was trying to give the most detailed information I could about my preferences. I will try to keep a more open mind going forward.
 

lovedogs

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 31, 2014
Messages
11,032
Agree that slowing down is important. James allen and brilliant earth dont have quality sapphires, so I am happy you returned those choices. Jeff white is super talented, so I would be really tempted by that option. Dont let impatience influence your opinion. This is a critical purchase, and you want to get it right.

I also like the litnon option, and the first one from gemfix. I know its deeper than you want, but DK could certainly make a setting for it.
 

kgizo

Brilliant_Rock
Premium
Joined
Dec 14, 2009
Messages
1,645
Thank you for your advice @elizat and @kgizo! I sent a message to Enhoerning Jewelry. Hopefully, Inken can help me out :pray:

I understand what everyone is saying about being too nit-picky, but I was trying to give the most detailed information I could about my preferences. I will try to keep a more open mind going forward.
I didn’t mean to imply you were being too nit-picky. It is good you have a well defined list of wants for this purchase. Colored stones have so many variables that one usually has to compromise on something along the way. Since you can’t compromise too much on timeframe, which is understandable since this purchase is about an important celebration for you and your partner, just wanted to give a heads up to think about other areas you could compromise on. Maybe it’s shape, budget, color, or cut; there is no right or wrong answer - it’s all about what makes you happy when you look at your ring.
 

annagene12

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
339
other PSers have given you great tips, but just wanted to chime in and say, the color on the JW stone is really lovely and luscious. I bet with a recut, it will be a knockout IMO. I think it would be worth waiting to see how this one turns out.

I also like the first Gemfix one. The setting style you returned bc it was too high...looks more like it was the fault of the style of setting IMO but I am no pro.

The local options are...bleh. I don't like the settings much either and I think the JA stone is even nicer than those and that isn't the highest bar in the world...

Get a pad or a concave cut for an RHR 8-)

Good luck on your hunt. I know it is probably hard to because it can be a bit stressful to find "the one" let alone WAIT for it during such an exciting time, but try to enjoy the process! And congratulations on your engagement!
 
Last edited:

PShank27

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
12
Agree that slowing down is important. James allen and brilliant earth dont have quality sapphires, so I am happy you returned those choices. Jeff white is super talented, so I would be really tempted by that option. Dont let impatience influence your opinion. This is a critical purchase, and you want to get it right.

I also like the litnon option, and the first one from gemfix. I know its deeper than you want, but DK could certainly make a setting for it.
Thank you for your input. I am definitely tempted by the Jeff White gem! Not knowing exactly how it will look is slightly concerning, but I trust that it will be beautiful. I may preview the JW and Litnon sapphires prior to making a decision. I love the crown of the gemfix one, but I definitely see some extinction. Is that a problem that Portuguese cuts can have? What I like about the way Jeff cuts is that it seems to minimize that issue.
 

lovedogs

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jul 31, 2014
Messages
11,032
Thank you for your input. I am definitely tempted by the Jeff White gem! Not knowing exactly how it will look is slightly concerning, but I trust that it will be beautiful. I may preview the JW and Litnon sapphires prior to making a decision. I love the crown of the gemfix one, but I definitely see some extinction. Is that a problem that Portuguese cuts can have? What I like about the way Jeff cuts is that it seems to minimize that issue.
I don't see what I would personally refer to as "extinction" in the gemfix one. I think it's just what happens when you have a deeper royal blue without any silk (which would make it more "glowy" and less "sparkly"). But I agree that the JW one looks potentially brighter (perhaps because he is making it less deep). I would likely go for the JW one (personally), because he is so freaking talented and I've never seen something he cut that wasn't beautiful.
 

PShank27

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
12
other PSers have given you great tips, but just wanted to chime in and say, the color on the JW stone is really lovely and luscious. I bet with a recut, it will be a knockout IMO. I think it would be worth waiting to see how this one turns out.

I also like the first Gemfix one. The setting style you returned bc it was too high...looks more like it was the fault of the style of setting IMO but I am no pro.

The local options are...bleh. I don't like the settings much either and I think the JA stone is even nicer than those and that isn't the highest bar in the world...

Get a pad or a concave cut for an RHR 8-)

Good luck on your hunt. I know it is probably hard to because it can be a bit stressful to find "the one" let alone WAIT for it during such an exciting time, but try to enjoy the process! And congratulations on your engagement!
Thank you so much! I think I have watched the video for the Jeff White sapphire about a hundred times and I agree it could be amazing. I also agree about that James Allen setting being part of the issue, and I'm realizing I shouldn't make a big deal about 1 mm difference in depth.

Pads and concave cuts are beautiful, but like you said, maybe later. As for a right hand ring, I think I will need a little break after this search lol. Although, when I was looking at Inken's website, I saw this toi-et-moi ring which :kiss2:. Not at all what I was looking for, but I will file it away for later...

1590523662685.png
 

PShank27

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
12
I don't see what I would personally refer to as "extinction" in the gemfix one. I think it's just what happens when you have a deeper royal blue without any silk (which would make it more "glowy" and less "sparkly"). But I agree that the JW one looks potentially brighter (perhaps because he is making it less deep). I would likely go for the JW one (personally), because he is so freaking talented and I've never seen something he cut that wasn't beautiful.
Hmmm. I guess I'm not using the terms properly. Shadowing maybe? In the video, when the stone moves and the left half appears darker. I think I read in another thread this can happen with elongated shapes. Is this just something to expect with an oval, especially in a deeper color, and I shouldn't be concerned? Just trying to learn more! Thanks :)
 

voce

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 13, 2018
Messages
3,469
Hmmm. I guess I'm not using the terms properly. Shadowing maybe? In the video, when the stone moves and the left half appears darker. I think I read in another thread this can happen with elongated shapes. Is this just something to expect with an oval, especially in a deeper color, and I shouldn't be concerned? Just trying to learn more! Thanks :)
It tends to happen more in elongated gem shapes, although concave cuts have a tendency to mitigate shadowing even in elongated shapes.
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
9,888
Did you check Gary’s website to see if he had anything in your size? Lol

Finewatergems.com

My sapphire (avatar) is from him. It’s medium blue with violet undertones.
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Feb 29, 2012
Messages
9,888
Also, my sapphire studs are from AJs but they are in Bangkok so I don’t know how hard it would be to return to them.
 

annagene12

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
339
From Gary at Finewater- I have several stones from him— blue and yellow sapphires and my aqua. Inken helped me find my emerald.
Also check diamonds by Lauren

my sapphire was glowing just now
5677CB5B-E554-4438-9ADB-F829BCB31383.jpeg 53BD1B7D-2821-4486-AF32-473719DE2368.jpeg
Soooooooooo lovely! i definitely lusted over his sapphires on my own hunt!

I will say OP - he shared with me when I inquired that he has no more large stones in his inventory beyond what is posted on his site. Because of the pandemic, supply chain in Sri Lanka is on hold and he's not making any buying trips this year and his only rough is smaller than what you want...may be worth asking anyways bc who knows, but wanted to let you know
 

PShank27

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
12
Soooooooooo lovely! i definitely lusted over his sapphires on my own hunt!

I will say OP - he shared with me when I inquired that he has no more large stones in his inventory beyond what is posted on his site. Because of the pandemic, supply chain in Sri Lanka is on hold and he's not making any buying trips this year and his only rough is smaller than what you want...may be worth asking anyways bc who knows, but wanted to let you know
Thank you @annagene12! I did reach out to Gary, about the darker color-change sapphire on the website and he was very nice and sent me some comparison pics and video. These were all a little smaller than I am looking for, but some beautiful colors - esp the middle two. I don't think I asked about the sapphire you posted because it seemed much less saturated in color that some of the others. But it is exactly the size I wanted. Maybe I will reach out to him again. He did mention that gems tend to darken when set. Thanks for reminding me!


BlueSapphires.jpg
 

PShank27

Rough_Rock
Joined
May 18, 2020
Messages
12
From Gary at Finewater- I have several stones from him— blue and yellow sapphires and my aqua. Inken helped me find my emerald.
Also check diamonds by Lauren

my sapphire was glowing just now
5677CB5B-E554-4438-9ADB-F829BCB31383.jpeg 53BD1B7D-2821-4486-AF32-473719DE2368.jpeg
Your sapphire is beautiful! Thanks for the suggestions. I will check Diamonds by Lauren and AJS.
 

annagene12

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
339
Thank you @annagene12! I did reach out to Gary, about the darker color-change sapphire on the website and he was very nice and sent me some comparison pics and video. These were all a little smaller than I am looking for, but some beautiful colors - esp the middle two. I don't think I asked about the sapphire you posted because it seemed much less saturated in color that some of the others. But it is exactly the size I wanted. Maybe I will reach out to him again. He did mention that gems tend to darken when set. Thanks for reminding me!


BlueSapphires.jpg
I’ll take one of each, please :lol:

I like all of them, but jokes aside, the color of the second from the right, wowza!
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Apr 30, 2019
Messages
4,441
Thank you for all of your input. I just wanted to let you know that I have decided to move ahead with the Jeff White sapphire. I'll come back here and post when my ring is complete. Thanks again!
so looking forward to seeing it
and congratulations on your engagement
i must say you have such beautiful long slim fingers you will rock any ring you choose
 
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