shape
carat
color
clarity

The Hunt for the Blue Sapphire: Also Vendor review and appreciation

Shimmersplendour

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
8
Hi PSers, this is my first post here but I would like to share my appreciation to this forum for "training" my eye and helping me to make the process of choosing a sapphire for my engagement ring both harder and easier. Harder = because more discerning eye, and easier = because I learnt what to look out for.
I had to go through both online and physical vendors to narrow down what I was looking out for, and which I finally chose.

Some background information: I am based in Singapore, and mostly looked at Asian vendors.
Budget was around SGD$4000 to $6000

The process:
In the beginning of my search, I did not even know what colour, or even shape of sapphire I wanted.
August 2021:
My first journey was to a private bespoke jeweller, a new business ran by two earnest young men who specialised in lab-grown diamonds. From there I learnt that I wanted a blue sapphire (not a teal, and not other gemstones), open to heated or unheated since they made little difference in stability and structure of the gem, and a white gold setting.

They did not have a suitable on hand, but tried to sourced from their suppliers.
Some promising videos were shown from overseas vendors to them, but before they could bring in the sapphires, another purchaser had wiped out the whole lot. Being very apologetic about the long wait, the jeweller advised us to go to other jewellers.
That's when I first learnt, and increasingly more so along the way: in this current situation, good blue sapphires are hard to find and will get snapped up quickly.
Review of this jeweller: Earnest service, very friendly, appeals to the millennial crowd, popular with other young men seeking affordable, ethical diamond and gemstone purchases. Some very pretty ring designs. Link: Sam and J
Picture from this jeweller:


photo6098084722975550745.jpg

When I first started out, I had tended towards the small round one (2nd from 2nd row) and the darker one (last one at the first row). While the boyfriend preferred the big, sparkly one (3rd from 2nd row).
It seems my tastes are for darker sapphires while his are for the sparkly ones. I thought the two would not meet, either sapphires are dark and not sparkly or they are too light though they sparkle more.
Learning points: Round shape, heated or unheated is fine (I think the initial me thought I wanted unheated since you know, some romantic notions of sapphires being untouched straight from the earth), white gold setting

2nd Jeweller

We went to another jeweller in Singapore, known for their sapphires, and whose pictures I've bookmarked on my Instagram. They had many sapphires indeed, but both BF and I agreed the service was a tad disappointing. The salesperson was not rude, but she was very occupied with her phone throughout. Price-wise, it looked to be a little on the high side, perhaps SGD$3000 to $4000+ for a 1 carat heated sapphire alone. We were also unable to take photos or videos, and were not given too much selection - rather we were pinpointed towards certain colours. What was good that the lady pinpointed that I seem to tend towards...royal blue, cornflower blue sapphires? First time hearing of the description for my preferred colour!
No names for those I am not able to give favourable ratings for, as some others may have very good experiences!
Learning points: Sapphires can be as pricey as diamonds! I seem to like Cornflower and Royal blue sapphires

Ling Jewellery

A friend had recommended Ling Jewellery, and BF and I went there without an appointment when we passed by the area one day.
That was the first time we realised just how customised, and personalised the bespoke process could be! One of the male owners (Andrew) served us, it was about an hour to two hours of discussion. Andrew was very affable, with a relaxed demeanour and yet an observant and attentive eye - he was able to pinpoint a common theme to the myriad designs we showed him (they were really random designs from all over, even I had trouble discerning what design it is I really want!)

They also had rows and rows of engagement rings, wedding bands, other types of jewellery, it felt like a whimsical wonderland just gazing at all their creations. I felt like Andrew seemed to know what I want, and his workmen would have the necessary craftsmanship to carry out the designs. Alas, I was not able to find a sapphire that I liked there.

Review: This is what the bespoke experience can be like. Experienced jewellers, eye for detail, fantastical, whimsical designs.
Learning points: I seem to like the 'reverse taper' sort of design, where the centre stone is the widest part of the ring, and stones to taper down. Andrew also taught me not to feel embarrassed that I like bling. "Embrace it!" So yes I am bling-tolerant.
https://www.instagram.com/gioiafinejewellery/?hl=en
Gioia Fine Jewellery

Gioia had the largest selection of sapphires I have been shown thus far! Or rather, they spare no effort to bring out trays of sapphires just so I could pick one I like. Clarence from Gioia even went back and forth, bringing us up to the top floor of the building to show us our handpicked sapphires in daylight.
Review: Very attentive and reasonable pricing, wide, wide range of sapphires (and other gemstones!).

BF was drawn to the brighter, lighter, sparklier sapphires (now I know to term them medium to medium light tone) whilst I was drawn the dark royal blues with glints of blue fire. Not black, just deep. Medium-dark in tone.
Learning point: We did not find suitable rounds, but I found out I am open to ovals that look like rounds - chubby ovals. BF likes sparkly, light sapphires, very pretty but I wanted something more mysterious - I like blue fire.
Here's the sapphire I chose out of all! (or so I thought, it was the One)
The chubs

Chubby Oval was about 1+ carat, heated, about SGD3,000ish. With settings, side diamonds etc, we were quoted about SGD4000+ for the whole ring. Very reasonable pricing for us!

1636885009931.png

Chubby is the center one. BF said if I chose the right larger one, then it'll just be a plain solitaire setting to keep within budget. since it was about SGD1K+ more. =X


LoveSignia

Having visited quite a few physical vendors, not all of whom I have named in this post, LoveSignia was one of the last few I visited. I texted their lady owner on IG, she was very friendly and offered to bring in a round vivid sapphire after I showed her what colours I was looking out for. I felt hesitant as I was afraid of wasting their time if I do not pick the sapphire. She was very accommodating and said it would be alright even if I do not pick the sapphire. I fell in love with the video they sent, a shimmering vivid, saturated blue sapphire, and it was round and only around SGD2000+!

Upon visiting their shop, I saw their round sapphire and...to my sadness, I found it was too small for me, around 5.7+mm. Not because the sapphire was no good, it actually had a very, very, lovely vivid blue colour. It had one of the best colour we have seen so far! In fact, if anyone is looking out for a round sapphire, with a lovely vivid blue colour, LoveSignia has it! (If they have not sold it yet). The round sapphire did have some silkiness to it though, so I could not see the faceting in the centre.

1636884925368.png

Seeing that I was a little disappointed with the small size, the staff immediately pulled out a few more sapphires and lo and behold! I saw one beauty!

1636885192194.png

It is about SGD4000+, around 2.22 carats. Has the face size of a 3 carats almost! I fell in love with the vivid blue..bottom. Like many ovals, it has that half and half shadowing going on. BF felt it was too dark, though I like how blue it was. It was a blue that could be seen from across the room. I actually felt the price was really reasonable for a sapphire that was around 8.68*7.38mm - very spready size indeed!

Learning points: They had lots and lots of diamonds for us to play around with the diamond combinations, very much a plus point. Attentive, patient service, reasonable prices too! Also, I thought i wanted a round, but I have come to realise the loveliness of an oval. I wanted the combination of a 8*7mm oval, not too elongated, and not too chubby.

I thought this was going to be the one! Though BF really did not quite like the darkness, he was fine with whichever I pick. I was ready to choose this...but from Pricescope, I have learnt that there are some ovals that do not have this shadow going on, and I might come to wish my sapphire has no shadowing.
Though it did not end up being the one, I compared other sapphires to this, and felt that perhaps I could live with the shadowing.

PS has also taught me not to settle and continue onwards in my journey. At this stage, I was quite tired and a little dejected from the search, we did not have much time left to choose the sapphire too - since the proposal is targeted to be by end this year (I did tell BF, perhaps he could delay the proposal until we found a sapphire? Though he rolled his eyes at me hahaha). Ok yes, we do have quite the unconventional proposal process. "Don't propose yet till I have found the One!! Neo the Sapphire I mean, the One in the Sapphire world - if you get the Matrix reference.)

Some pictures of the other sapphires I have seen, and I shall continue in the next post since this is getting quite long!

The next post would be on online IG vendors, which I am sure is more applicable to PS!

Anyway if any vendors find this post and want me to edit them out, let me know. Though I think my post is more of appreciation!

Learning Points: I do not begrudge any mark-ups from brick and mortar shops since they have to take into consideration all the time spent serving customers who may not buy in the end, pay for overhead costs, bring in gems, get reports and insurance and undertake liabilities.

For a newbie, going to B&M stores would be very convenient, safe, and informative. You get a wide array of stones to look at how they behave under different lightings, you can compare and contrast and have consultation on the design process.
I wish I had the budget to buy from all these stores, but since I have none, I can only recommend them!
 

Shimmersplendour

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
8
Yellow heart diamonds and sapphire - it was such a cute colour combi, reminds me of Beauty and the Beast! Though I guess for an engagement ring, we'll have to call with something more traditional - white diamonds to brig out the blue.


1636886446524.png

1636886482844.png

Diamonds around 0.3 carats, never knew hearts could match with ovals!

A row of sapphires under consideration from a wholesaler.
1636886558775.png

1636886653880.png

Heart sapphire on my finger, it is about 3+ carats, 9mm-ish. A little too large for me, but quite a saturated blue. SGD7000+

Another retailer, some beautiful designs on IG, more towards experimental ring designs. They had a colour-changing blue to purple sapphire - but couldn't really capture in this photo (the larger right one). Both about 1.4+ carat, SGD 4000+

1636887483943.png
 

Mrs_Strizzle

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 14, 2018
Messages
1,092
First off, congratulations to you! Such lovely sappires. I'm jealous because you got to play with such beauties, but not because how do you decide?!

In the part of the US where I live you never see sappires as engagement rings, and it's such a shame. I have a sapphire that I often trade out for my diamond just because I love the idea of something different than everyone else, and I'm really a colored stone girl at heart.
 

Shimmersplendour

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
8
Thanks @Mrs_Strizzle for your congratulations! And for reading my lost post.
It was both fun and agonising in having to peruse all these sapphires! Having that hopeful feeling in your heart but that slight drop of disappointment it is not the one, I was so tempted to just pick one and be done with it!

I don't see many sapphire engagement rings here either, but it is true the idea of having something totally different from everyone makes that ring have even more special significance to us. I also like the idea that you'll get so many different facets (of colour) to a coloured stone, pun intended. Whether it is a blue to drown in, a green to relax your eyes on, or a red to blaze up your day. Different lighting, different moods!

Thanks @chrono ! I pored over PS so much I think I read almost every sapphire thread there ever was!

I'll post more of the sapphire journeys on my online vendor shopping and unveal The One soon!
 

Ionysis

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 1, 2015
Messages
1,044
I love the one in the second picture on you. The oval shape really suits your fingers so well.
 

peacechick

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Messages
1,628
Are you offered a loupe at each jeweller to inspect the stones? Viewing the stones at 10x or 20x can make a difference in how you see the stones. I like your spready stone the best so far despite the half-and-half look. It’s made up for by how vivid and saturated the colour is.
 

Shimmersplendour

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
8
@Ionysis thank you, you've hit the nail on the head, after trying out the oval, I realised roundish ovals actually suit my finger. After months of searching for a round (which are harder to find in sapphires), I narrowed on dimensions that are closer to 8mm*7mm for a sapphire that I wanted.

@peacechick oh yes, some jewellers provided loupes when we requested them, though not all. I was really intrigued by the spready stone because the colour is beautiful- still am in fact, but preferred not to have too much light leakage.

My online search


Like many PSers I then took to searching online for gem purchases and here are some notable ones:

Astrid Sparkler Jewellery

Pretty selection of stones, most pictures and videos are true to the eye. If you are based in Singapore, you can meet her and her designer in person to look at all her selection of gems. I would liken to experience to viewing gems over high tea with a gemstone lover who gushes about her stones. She picks out her gems, so most of them have some sparkling, pretty quality to them.

She had a round 1+ carat sapphire, unheated at pricepoint of SGD2xxx, royal blue. However I decided I wanted something larger. I did buy a 3.5carat umbalite garnet from her though, for my mom, and later set it into a ring.
The garnet I chose, and the design my mom chose (0.3 carat trillion side)
1637730631153.png
1637730721420.png

1637730770107.png
 

Shimmersplendour

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
8
GemOceanLtd

With the recommendations in some of the posts of PSers here, I texted Gemocean if he had suitable sapphires.

He was very honest about the sapphires he showed me, telling me of the different properties, eg. whether there is windowing, or not the colour saturation I wanted. I could trust his "eye" so to speak. The sapphires he showed me were really gorgeous and I think I would not have regretted buying any of them.
Some heads-up: He has the most gorgeously coloured emerald-cut sapphire, very saturated and a vivid blue . It is 3 carats plus at around USD4XXX.
He also has a very beautiful oval at USD$3XXX. From what I have seen of the colours, they are lustrous and really richly blue. In diffused sunlight, they are stunning.
Unfortunately I had a time frame to make a decision and did not ultimately buy from him as the sapphires were in Germany for a gem show then and I had to buy one quickly.
If I ever needed a sapphire and have specifications, and for a reasonable pricepoint - GemOcean would be the guy.
1637746367026.png

All around 3 carats each. Wish I had the funds to buy them all!

Adamant International

I saw some listings by Ivan on LT, and went to check out his website.
He had a 1carat+ sapphire that caught my eye. He sent videos and really descriptive and in-depth analysis of the sapphire. Very prompt responses, patient and many videos in different lighting conditions, extremely helpful. Plus he accepts payment via Paypal and seemed to have a good return policy.

From what I have seen of the gems - excellent cut, true to description. High quality.

Pro-tip, his gems are at 10% off now for gems above USD1500.

For many weeks I had viewed the videos of the 1 carat sapphire over and over again, it was really, really beautiful - striking to the eyes and I am thinking even whether to just purchase it for another jewellery next time. With Adamant Gems, I feel confident to purchase the sapphires sight unseen, just base off Ivan's descriptors and his generosity in sending videos in *every* lighting condition.
1637746556452.png

This is around USD1XXX at 1+ carat. Packs an electrifying punch for its size
 

Shimmersplendour

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
8
Finally The One!

Sereenigemstones

She's an IG seller, based in Norway (?) though she accepts payment via SGD, which was really a plus point.

There is a return policy of about 48 hours to decide if you want the gem and 7 days to send it back.

There is really a whole array and variety of gems she is selling. Here is the IG post of The One - which I have hereby dub Zi Lan (meaning Violetish Blue in mandarin).
What I liked was Serene seems to deal with the miners and the cutters, and was able to share about the provenance of the gem (From Elahera) and that the gem was cut by a master lapidary(generations in the family business). In fact she was glad we even bothered to ask on the origin!


Video looks to be unreal almost, because of the crystalline quality of the sapphire. It had all the specifications I was looking for - 2.5 carat and close to 8*7mm, a light royal blue and roundish oval shape. Plus it was unheated!

Zi Lan took about 7 days to arrive in Singapore.
I saw it first at night - and well..I would say my first impression was a little uncertain, because the sapphire had looked a little darker than I thought it would be.
That was my first realisation that sapphires are really shifty creatures, performing differently in every lighting.

We took Zi Lan to our Private Jeweller who is a gemologist/jeweller/designer, man of many talents. He was able to view Zi Lan under his 200x scope - pointed out all the natural fingerprints to show that Zi Lan is indeed unheated, scintillating, vivid blue and with a very good cut. "The lapidary had cut with his heart, and not by the book", was the comment of our jeweller.

As I brought Zi Lan out for a spin in every lighting condition, I have grown to appreciate her moody beauty, sparkling brightness and shifty colours. May I present, the debut of Zi Lan the Blue Sapphire from Ceylon:


The first encounter. She is...more sparkly than I thought.
1637747683822.png

Under room light
1637747778081.png

1637747870048.png


Brought it to office, stuck blue tack underneath it and on a ring, under diffused sunlight
1637747942437.png

Under direct sunlight, it was so hot I burned
1637748016754.png

She could look really nondescript too - even *gasp* dark
1637748067318.png

Dark restaurant lighting
1637748138776.png
 

Shimmersplendour

Rough_Rock
Joined
Aug 26, 2021
Messages
8
Brought her to the jeweller, under lamp light, a favourite pic
1637748232348.png

Now to choose a ring design, I originally thought of three-stone ring, vintage setting, with detailed scrollwork and brushed shank, but my jeweller felt that it was too much when the focus should be on the sapphire =X

That's when he categorised the sapphire as an 'Important' sapphire. I had heard of the term before but wasn't sure what it meant. It turns out if a gemstone meets certain criteria - eg. colour, saturation, size and brilliance, it gets an 'important' grading? Someone correct me. But anyways I do admit it brought a thrill to my bargain-hunting heart.

1637748377714.jpeg


Currently sourcing lab grown diamonds! We might go for a five-stone setting in the end. Will a matte/brushed shank be better or a polished sheen be better for the band? And should I add detailing to the shank?

Decisions, decisions...
 

chrono

Super_Ideal_Rock
Premium
Joined
Apr 22, 2004
Messages
38,009
Wonderful reviews, descriptions and pictures. Can't get better than armchair virtual shopping from my end! I love brushed shanks but I think they also show scratches more easily?

With a 5 stone ring that spans across the finger, you might not be able to see detailing on the shank from the top view so consider it as something special for your eye only when you spin the ring around.
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
3,569
Brought her to the jeweller, under lamp light, a favourite pic
1637748232348.png

Now to choose a ring design, I originally thought of three-stone ring, vintage setting, with detailed scrollwork and brushed shank, but my jeweller felt that it was too much when the focus should be on the sapphire =X

That's when he categorised the sapphire as an 'Important' sapphire. I had heard of the term before but wasn't sure what it meant. It turns out if a gemstone meets certain criteria - eg. colour, saturation, size and brilliance, it gets an 'important' grading? Someone correct me. But anyways I do admit it brought a thrill to my bargain-hunting heart.

1637748377714.jpeg


Currently sourcing lab grown diamonds! We might go for a five-stone setting in the end. Will a matte/brushed shank be better or a polished sheen be better for the band? And should I add detailing to the shank?

Decisions, decisions...

Absolutely stunning stone. Congratulations. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about your process and journey and well done on not giving in until you found the right stone!
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
3,569
Brought her to the jeweller, under lamp light, a favourite pic
1637748232348.png

Now to choose a ring design, I originally thought of three-stone ring, vintage setting, with detailed scrollwork and brushed shank, but my jeweller felt that it was too much when the focus should be on the sapphire =X

That's when he categorised the sapphire as an 'Important' sapphire. I had heard of the term before but wasn't sure what it meant. It turns out if a gemstone meets certain criteria - eg. colour, saturation, size and brilliance, it gets an 'important' grading? Someone correct me. But anyways I do admit it brought a thrill to my bargain-hunting heart.

1637748377714.jpeg


Currently sourcing lab grown diamonds! We might go for a five-stone setting in the end. Will a matte/brushed shank be better or a polished sheen be better for the band? And should I add detailing to the shank?

Decisions, decisions...

Just an idea - what about pearl diamond side stones? I think pears look proportionally lovely to ovals if they are the right size, and would give more of an “across” the finger feel without covering all of the top of your finger
 

peacechick

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 6, 2013
Messages
1,628
Gorgeous, gorgeous stone! And also love the ring you made for your mum. I do have a question, which is whether you’re sure you want to set Zi Lan with lab grown diamonds? I do have lab grown gemstones and moissanite myself and enjoy them, but since you went to all this effort to source a rare and beautiful specimen of an earth-mined sapphire rather than a lab sapphire, why not pair it with other earth-mined side stones?

I’m sure you did put a lot of thought in this choice and have your vision on this, but just wanted to bring it up in case you’re still debating it. Oh and I definitely suggest detailing on the basket so it looks good from all angles!
 

Cerulean

Ideal_Rock
Joined
Sep 13, 2019
Messages
3,569
Just an idea - what about pearl diamond side stones? I think pears look proportionally lovely to ovals if they are the right size, and would give more of an “across” the finger feel without covering all of the top of your finger

Oh gosh I meant PEAR not pearl :rolleyes: - silly autocorrect!
 

Cinders

Shiny_Rock
Joined
Jul 30, 2021
Messages
161
Congratulations on finding an absolutely beautiful sapphire! I'm sure the finished ring will be stunning.

Your shopping experience with Astrid Sparkler sounds like the perfect day to me! :)
 

Mrs_Strizzle

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Jun 14, 2018
Messages
1,092
I am in love with your beautiful sapphire! Congrats to you for finding your forever gem!
 
Be a part of the community It's free, join today!
    December Birthstones 2021 - Zircon, Turquoise, and Tanzanite
    December Birthstones 2021 - Zircon, Turquoise, and Tanzanite - 12/01
    "Not so Fast!" says Mother Nature
    "Not so Fast!" says Mother Nature - 11/29
    Jewels of the Week: November 2021
    Jewels of the Week: November 2021 - 11/26
Top