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Sapphire owners-how did you source your stone?

Blue-Seeker

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
158
Hi, for those of you who own sapphires, how did you decide where to purchase your stone? I see so many options discussed here, such as working with Pala or other wholesalers through a vendor who brings stones in for you, through ebay, through web vendors like Simply Sapphires, and through individual cutters. What are the advantages and disadvantages of these options? And where do you recommend a new colored stone purchaser like me who is paranoid about getting ripped off start?

Thank you!
 

chloeishere

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
189
I'm a noob, but I did finally source a sapphire for my engagement ring, so maybe my two cents will be helpful.

How you source your stone, I think varies on a lot of factors-- for me, budget, and a desire for a non-ideal color were the main difficulties in finding the right stone.

I ended up doing a lot of browsing on various sites, but purchased from a precision cutter who had a piece of rough that he thought would be close to what I am looking for.

The browsing was helpful for figuring out what I like, and what I don't like, and so I can't regret it (even though it took so long to find what I was looking for).

The biggest problems I had were that I was on a very limited budget (I wanted to spend absolutely no more than $200 on the stone), and I was looking for a round cut, light blue-green or blue-lavender sapphire-- colors that are not very commercially available because they are non-ideal (I thought of it as looking for the stones that would be heated or treated to darken the color).
Generally, prices are a bit lower buying direct from the cutter-- no middle-man, after all. I spent a lot of time looking on ebay, but a good cut is very important to me, so I didn't go for any ebay stones.

I ended up asking three different precision cutters if they had anything appropriate, and it was mostly because I saw sapphires on their sites that were sort of what I was looking for (but mostly, the ones I saw had already sold or were too dark for my taste).

Jeff White said he didn't have any rough that matched what I was looking for.

Dan Stair (customgemstones.com) was an absolutely fantastic guy, and was unbelievably helpful, but ultimately he didn't have any rough that was the color I wanted. That said, he was such an amazing guy to work with, I will always consider him first for any future colored stone purchase.

Gene Flanigan (precisiongem.com) ended up listing a Montana sapphire that was much darker than what I was looking for (at the point where I was really ready to stop trying to find a stone, already), but it was similar in color, if not hue, to what I was looking for. When I contacted him, he had a piece of rough that was perfect for the color I wanted. The stone is also wonderfully cut, of course.

I'm very happy with the stone I got and the price I paid. But, I was looking for very different things than a lot of people who are shopping for a sapphire!
 

LD

Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Jun 29, 2008
Messages
9,699
I've been collecting for more than 20 years and it took me until a few years ago to find "the" perfect sapphire for me and even then I had to compromise on size! :bigsmile:

The biggest tip that I can give is shop around EVERYWHERE. Don't limit yourself. When you find one, make the sale conditional on getting a reputable lab report. This is essential with Sapphires because of the horrible levels of treatment routinely applied. The price you pay should also reflect the level of treatment i.e. no treatment = higher price.

If you get an opportunity, also see lots in real life so you can determine what hue you're looking for. Some people prefer very light sapphires, some very dark but you need to see lots to see what rocks your world!
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,517
I have enough experience and a somewhat trained eye enough to able to shop confidently for my own stones. As such, it is relatively safe for me to purchase from just about anybody and anywhere. For those who are new to this, I highly recommend sticking to trusted vendors and perhaps getting a lab memo brief (if choosing an unheated corundum), especially for colours that are commonly diffused.

First off, look around online and in the real world to see what colour you prefer. Save a picture and use that as your example/inspiration picture when shopping around. Do some research on pricing to see what size that colour will buy you. Read up on treatment as that will affect pricing and what you can afford. From there, adjust the size accordingly. If too small, then, something has to give. Once that is done, cast your search net wide and far.

Pala tends to be more expensive and you'll need a jeweller to get you pricing. Note that depending on who your jeweller is, the mark-up may vary based on your jeweller. The advantage of Pala is that they have a large inventory.

EBay isn't recommended for sapphire shopping unless you know what you are doing. Also, when it comes to sapphires, it is best to get a lab memo to be sure the stone isn't diffused.

Most lapidaries have limited funds, thus have limited inventory. On the plus side, the cutting is almost always better than most generic places. Some lapidaries charge a premium for their superior cutting while others charge very reasonable and surprisingly low rates.
 

Blue-Seeker

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
158
I really enjoyed reading these responses, thank you so much. chloeishere, I know what you mean about how time-consuming the search is, and I've only just started. I've been reading a lot of old threads and they have been useful in helping me determine how to critically examine color and cut through photos. Lovingdiamonds, I can totally understand how finding the perfect sapphire could take 20 years! Chrono, you confirmed my hunches about the tradeoffs between working with a large gem wholesaler like Pala versus smaller lapidaries.

I've definitely narrowed down my color preferences, so now I'm going to compare some stones in that color range in person. One thing I'm having a hard time with is ignoring cut and shape in order to put color first, as all of you on this forum recommend. Truthfully, it's hard for me to ignore the strange cutting style on some of these stones. But I know the pickier I am on shape and cut, the longer it will take to find the right stone.

I've asked my local vendor to bring in some stones for me to compare to the 3.15 carat sapphire I saw last week. That's the consignment stone that the vendor and I couldn't come to an agreement on price on. I'm looking at a few estate and vintage pieces, too, but not from ebay, I promise! And I'm looking at the websites of all the small lapidaries listed on the vendors page geckodani put together. So later this week I'll check in to let you know if I found a winner. Or not. And I have decided that spending the money on a report from a reputable lab is worth the money. So that's a given now.
 

iLander

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
6,731
I bought this one from Gem Rite, it's nicer than the pics. I really need to start a thread on it, but I'm lazy . . . :twirl: I like the color change, to me it's more interesting than a single color. Though there are a lot of fabulous blue ones on PS that I would gladly own! :love:

http://www.gemrite.com/cubecart/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=268

Gene buys his rough on trips, so he has some amazing stuff. You can ask him what he has on hand.

http://www.precisiongem.com/Blog/PrecisiongemBlog.html scroll down a bit, there's an amazing oval
 

Blue-Seeker

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
158
iLander|1315860990|3015990 said:
I bought this one from Gem Rite, it's nicer than the pics. I really need to start a thread on it, but I'm lazy . . . :twirl: I like the color change, to me it's more interesting than a single color. Though there are a lot of fabulous blue ones on PS that I would gladly own! :love:

http://www.gemrite.com/cubecart/index.php?act=viewProd&productId=268

Gene buys his rough on trips, so he has some amazing stuff. You can ask him what he has on hand.

http://www.precisiongem.com/Blog/PrecisiongemBlog.html scroll down a bit, there's an amazing oval
iLander, I have been considering color change stones, because I like a little purple in my sapphires. Your stone looks beautiful. Is it a true purple in certain lights? And it seems to have minimal grey in it, too. See, now I've asked you questions about it so you have to post some pictures of it!

The oval on Gene's site is -- wow! I like the unusual shape and the cutting is great. Definitely what I'm looking for in terms of cut. The color looks to be the electric blue that I'm drawn to in photos but is too harsh with my skin. I wish I could wear the super-bright colors, like the mahenge spinels I see on here. But that saves me some money because it's a stone I admire but don't need to own :lol: When I click on that oval it takes me back to the sapphires page. I wonder if it sold?

The dark blue round on the top of Gene's sapphire page is interesting. That is the color my husband likes, the deeper blues. But it's very hard to find a stone in that deep blue that isn't blackish. I saw so many deep blue-black stones at my local vendors. But they weren't as well-cut as this one, of course. It's a nice size, and for the price he's asking, it might be worth taking a look in person.
 

iLander

Ideal_Rock
Joined
May 23, 2010
Messages
6,731
Blue-Seeker said:
[iLander, I have been considering color change stones, because I like a little purple in my sapphires. Your stone looks beautiful. Is it a true purple in certain lights? And it seems to have minimal grey in it, too. See, now I've asked you questions about it so you have to post some pictures of it!

The oval on Gene's site is -- wow! I like the unusual shape and the cutting is great. Definitely what I'm looking for in terms of cut. The color looks to be the electric blue that I'm drawn to in photos but is too harsh with my skin. I wish I could wear the super-bright colors, like the mahenge spinels I see on here. But that saves me some money because it's a stone I admire but don't need to own :lol: When I click on that oval it takes me back to the sapphires page. I wonder if it sold?

The dark blue round on the top of Gene's sapphire page is interesting. That is the color my husband likes, the deeper blues. But it's very hard to find a stone in that deep blue that isn't blackish. I saw so many deep blue-black stones at my local vendors. But they weren't as well-cut as this one, of course. It's a nice size, and for the price he's asking, it might be worth taking a look in person.
It does have a completely purple hue in some lights, and a pure blue in other lights. It's quite lovely. I found it by just checking the sites of our usual guys (litnon, gemfix, gemrite, artcut, artistic colored stones, mastercut gems, precision gems, gemart services, plus all the others that I forgot) continuously for about 2 years. I always had a blue sapphire in the back of my mind, and finally jumped in when I saw one that grabbed me. I also bought and returned a bunch of other sapphires during that time. Most were very nice, but not quite to my taste. I think it's like ice cream, everyone has different flavor preferences. That is why our guys are our guys; they have great return policies and they're used to our CS goofiness. :bigsmile:

I think that particular Gene stone is sold, but I think you should ask Gene (and everyone else) what he has in the back room. Gene's pictures are very true to life and he will send you pics to review. All the guys have tons of stuff in the back of the safe!
 

Blue-Seeker

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Sep 2, 2011
Messages
158
iLander|1315866991|3016072 said:
Blue-Seeker said:
[iLander, I have been considering color change stones, because I like a little purple in my sapphires. Your stone looks beautiful. Is it a true purple in certain lights? And it seems to have minimal grey in it, too. See, now I've asked you questions about it so you have to post some pictures of it!

The oval on Gene's site is -- wow! I like the unusual shape and the cutting is great. Definitely what I'm looking for in terms of cut. The color looks to be the electric blue that I'm drawn to in photos but is too harsh with my skin. I wish I could wear the super-bright colors, like the mahenge spinels I see on here. But that saves me some money because it's a stone I admire but don't need to own :lol: When I click on that oval it takes me back to the sapphires page. I wonder if it sold?

The dark blue round on the top of Gene's sapphire page is interesting. That is the color my husband likes, the deeper blues. But it's very hard to find a stone in that deep blue that isn't blackish. I saw so many deep blue-black stones at my local vendors. But they weren't as well-cut as this one, of course. It's a nice size, and for the price he's asking, it might be worth taking a look in person.
It does have a completely purple hue in some lights, and a pure blue in other lights. It's quite lovely. I found it by just checking the sites of our usual guys (litnon, gemfix, gemrite, artcut, artistic colored stones, mastercut gems, precision gems, gemart services, plus all the others that I forgot) continuously for about 2 years.Two years!?! You certainly have more patience than I do! I always had a blue sapphire in the back of my mind, and finally jumped in when I saw one that grabbed me. I also bought and returned a bunch of other sapphires during that time. Most were very nice, but not quite to my taste. I think it's like ice cream, everyone has different flavor preferences. That is why our guys are our guys; they have great return policies and they're used to our CS goofiness. :bigsmile:

I think that particular Gene stone is sold, but I think you should ask Gene (and everyone else) what he has in the back room. Gene's pictures are very true to life and he will send you pics to review. All the guys have tons of stuff in the back of the safe!Sounds like they are gem packrats just like we are, huh? Good suggestion about asking them about their back stock, though, thanks.
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
37,517
Cut is still an important criteria which must be applied once you've narrowed down your choices. Good cutting will give you a brilliant and lively stone, bad cutting will show extinction and windowing leaving the stone dull and dark.
 
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