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Thoughts on Burma Sapphire

Discussion in 'Colored Gemstones' started by lightbulb1, Feb 12, 2019 at 12:59 PM.

  1. lightbulb1
    Rough_Rock

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    by lightbulb1 » Feb 12, 2019 at 12:59 PM
    Long time lurker first time poster. I'm in the market for a 3-4.5 carat sapphire, preferably Burma but untreated and exceptional wherever it is from. I just got back from "education camp" at the Tucson Gem Show. Looking online as well. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on the look and price of this one:

    https://www.thenaturalsapphirecompany.com/3.48ct-burma-myanmar-cushion-blue-sapphire-b6632-/

    I've got some more pictures of gems from the AGTA show I'm interested in--what do you guys think of these?? They look a little dark in the picture unfortunately. The guy selling these has been a huge help. Without mentioning the price, what would you all think is fair? The bottom one is 3.5 carat, the middle is 4, and the top is 5.5:
    Sapphire.jpg

    So much to learn, and so much knowledge on this board. Any thoughts are greatly appreciated!
     
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  2. Bron357
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Bron357 » Feb 12, 2019 at 3:25 PM
    Lovely sapphires, I have 2 x 3 carat rounds.
    Firstly, do the ones from the Gem show all have a reputable lab report (ie GIA or AGL)? If you are paying a premium for origin and untreated status you must have supporting documentation,
    Secondly price, there isn’t like 1000 about that I’m aware of to compare prices with but the unheated Burmese do carry the 2nd highest price premium (1st being Kashmir) and price per carat increases exponentially as carat size increases (all else being equal) so the 5.5 carat will be quite a bit more per carat than the 3.5 carat one. A price between $6,000 and $8,000 a carat for 3 to 4 carat range is likely, over 5 carats the price could increase to $12,000 plus a carat.
    Of the 3 photographed, I like the middle one best. I don’t like the shape of the 5.5 carat one and it seems marginally deeper toned.
    The Natural Sapphire Company as a business is mired in a fair amount of bad press relating to the quality and treatment levels of their inventory so they aren’t a recommended vendor here however the sapphire you like has a GIA report and that is trustworthy.
    It is a significant investment of money so take time to view selected stones carefully for their performance in different lighting conditions and ensure that an appropriate high level lab report (not an “in house” report or jewellers appraisal) accompanies the gem.
     
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  3. lightbulb1
    Rough_Rock

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    by lightbulb1 » Feb 12, 2019 at 4:25 PM
    The three in the picture are certified untreated Madagascar. I wish I could find something exceptional for $6-8k per carat. Your estimates are about $5k low across the board unfortunately. The 5.5 carat seemed to be precision cut and had a lot of fire in diamond parlance--really beautiful. I'm looking at Burma sapphires certified untreated at about $10k per carat as well, which is more in line with that NSC price. Would you say that is considered rich for a top quality Burma sapphire?
     
  4. alene
    Brilliant_Rock

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  5. Bron357
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Bron357 » Feb 12, 2019 at 7:31 PM
    That’s the problem with Burmese sapphires, rare beauties, low supply, high demand = prices to make your eyes water.
    Interesting, to me at least, what you said about current carat prices. I was looking at selling one or both of mine only a little while back and was quoted $6 to $8 k a carat as retail price with an offer somewhat less, which I declined. Just as well it seems!
    If origin isn’t crucial, definitely look at more Madagascar sapphires, I’ve read that they rival Burmese for colour and vividness.
     
  6. qubitasaurus
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by qubitasaurus » Feb 12, 2019 at 8:28 PM
    They are really dark in that picture. That is a lot of money to pay for a stone; you should be checking whether they black out in any lighting. And looking for comparisons -- wilde's global minerals, mayer and watt and nomads may be possible places to start. I think Bron is right, finding burmese stones to compare against may be hard. But I would rather buy a ceylon sapphire with good colour in all lighting than a burmese stone which was extremely dark and either blacked out or only threw off glints of blue at night. Whats more, I think it would be possible to find quite nice ceylon sapphires arround the 30 k mark.
     
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  7. arkieb1
    Ideal_Rock

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    by arkieb1 » Feb 13, 2019 at 1:59 AM
    I'm going to give my thoughts on blue sapphires generally. Buy what you love. Forget about origin and about heating. Provided a stone is fully disclosed as heat only, and the price you pay is appropriate for it, if it's a "wow" colour what does it matter if it's heated? IMHO it will cost you less and it will retain it's value provided you buy in an excellent to outstanding colour range.

    I have owned heated and unheated blue sapphires from all origins, I have a tiny Kashmir, that isn't the best coloured of what I have, I've owned and sold Burmese stones, I currently have a number of heated and non heated Sri Lanka and Madagascar stones.

    Colour is king. Out of the 3 favourite stones I own (and I have a decent size collection of blue sapphires) two of them are heated Sri Lanka origin and they kick the butt colourwise of the Kashmir I own, and the 3rd is an unheated Madagascan stone. I've sold most if not all my Burma stones because the ones I have now were better colourwise.

    Buy for colour not for origin!!!

    Heat only 4 + carat Sri Lanka oval;

    Heated Sri Lanka Oval.JPG

    Heat only Sri Lanka Emerald cut 3.36 carats;

    Heat only Sri Lanka EC.JPG
     
  8. lightbulb1
    Rough_Rock

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    by lightbulb1 » Feb 13, 2019 at 3:00 AM
    Amazing rocks! I really must say the three Madagascar stones in my original picture were amazing color. As with most Veblen goods, though, there is such a strong impulse to "one up" yourself. Probably worse for diamonds but through out this search I've consistently tweaked my expectations (and budget) toward what I thought was marginally better. From Madagascar to Ceylon to Burma to Kashmir than back to my senses to Burma, from no preference to untreated, and then the infinite nuances of color and saturation. At the end of the day, I want something aspirational. Sounds crazy I guess? Keep the advice coming please!
     
  9. Bron357
    Ideal_Rock

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    by Bron357 » Feb 13, 2019 at 3:42 AM
    Maybe you just need to keep on searching for the “one” that makes your heart sing.
    If colour is King, don’t focus on origin and certainly heat only should also be considered.
    If rarity is King, you will need to search out an outstanding Kashmir or Burmese but you will need very deep pockets because for the best there are still lots of buyers.
     
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  10. pwsg07
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    by pwsg07 » Feb 13, 2019 at 12:13 PM
    May I ask how to get into the AGTA show?
     
  11. 2Neezers
    Brilliant_Rock

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    by 2Neezers » Feb 13, 2019 at 12:54 PM
    If you scroll down in this link it shows the different options. It looks like the only way for non-trade to get in is to be someone’s guest. It want to go someday and need to make friends with a member who will let me be their guest :lol:!
    https://agta.org/agta-gem-fair-tucson-2/attend/
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2019 at 1:01 PM
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  12. prs
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    by prs » Feb 13, 2019 at 1:42 PM
    DW and I have the advantage of being able to travel to LA to go to auction previews. We have looked at numerous sapphires in person and have learned some valuable lessons 1) At the high end, slight differences in color "vividness" and clarity have a big impact on price. 2) You can not see these differences in photos. 3) Asking price is not always related to quality, often it depends upon what the consignor paid for their piece, rather than what it's actually worth. 4) you have to see a lot of sapphires before you can determine a "really great" stone from one that's just "good".

    If I was contemplating paying around $30K for a sapphire, I would want to make sure I had done enough homework to have the confidence to make sure I was getting good value for the money spent.

    Also I fully agree with everything @arkieb1 said in her very informative post.
     
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  13. Rad_Fan
    Shiny_Rock

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    by Rad_Fan » Feb 13, 2019 at 1:58 PM
    @prs, would you mind sharing how you find local auction previews? TIA
     
  14. pwsg07
    Shiny_Rock

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    by pwsg07 » Feb 13, 2019 at 2:25 PM
    Thanks. I am not good at making friends. :(2
     
  15. prs
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    by prs » Feb 13, 2019 at 4:21 PM
    In LA I like Bonhams and Heritage because they know how to run auctions and most often they advise their consignors to obtain the appropriate certs. Also their on-line bidding platforms are first rate.

    Bonhams have frequent jewelry and gemstone auctions at their Sunset Blvd location and are always open for preview viewings for a week or so before the auction date. They also sometimes hold preview viewings of pieces that will be physically auctioned at their New York location.

    Heritage are based in Dallas but they preview all their jewelry auctions at their LA location in Beverly Hills, and also at their other locations throughout the USA.

    I find that Sotheby's and Christie's tend to deal in pieces that are priced out of our comfort zone, and whilst I know they sometimes have auction previews in LA, finding that info on their websites is darned near impossible!

    One tip for the previews is to look at the biographies of the ladies at your location and pick out the one with the most jewelry experience. Seek her out at the preview and ask for her comments on the various pieces you are interested in. You can, for example, in one afternoon, get a lifetime's experience describing the qualities of each sapphire in the auction, and pointing out things you yourself would never notice. We find the younger ladies, with much less experience, are always very personable and helpful, but often lack the confidence or knowledge to come right out and tell you what they really think!
     
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  16. Rad_Fan
    Shiny_Rock

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    by Rad_Fan » Feb 13, 2019 at 7:09 PM
    @prs, thank you for your insight. Appreciate it. :wavey:
     

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