Sapphire is a “precious stone.”
It is a variety of the mineral species corundum. Sapphire, the celestial gemstone, has long symbolized truth, sincerity, and faithfulness.
Sapphire is the birthstone for September, the month when the most babies are born.
Sapphire is classified among the most valuable of gems and is perhaps the toughest and most durable gemstone available on the market. With a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, sapphire is harder than any other gem but diamond!
Sapphires and rubies are commonly enhanced with a process called “heat treatment.” This process is permanent and safe and happens to approximately 80-90% of the stones on the market. If a stone is “unheated” it does not necessarily command more money.
Sapphire is found in all the colors of the rainbow: from midnight blue to fiery reddish-orange to violet. The best sapphires hold the brightness of their color under all different types of lighting. The most valuable blue sapphires have a medium intense, vivid blue color. Any black, gray, or green overtones mixed in with the blue will reduce a stone’s value. In addition to blue, sapphires are available in every color but red simply because a red sapphire would be called a ruby. Pink shades of corundum are known either as pink ruby or pink sapphire. Sapphire in colors other than blue is often referred to as Fancy sapphire.
Blue sapphires are found chiefly in Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar and also in Australia and in the United States (in Montana). The most famous sources for sapphire are Kashmir and Burma. Kashmir sapphires are of a beautiful cornflower blue and are highly valued. Most fine sapphire on the market today comes from Sri Lanka.
Sri Lankan Sapphires
As beautiful as their country of origin, Sri Lankan sapphires are generally paler in color, have a wide range of beautiful blues from delicate sky blue colors to rich saturated hues.
1 carat = $2,000-$4,500
2 carats = $5,000 to $20,000
Better known as “Yogo” sapphires (from the Yogo Gulch in Montana.) These American beauties have a more metallic luster with lighter tones that are free of color zoning and heat treatments. These sapphires are “cleaner” and are more brilliant than Australian sapphires. Yogo sapphires are found embedded in hard rock, making mining difficult and expensive.
1carat = $900-$3,000
2 carats = $1,800 to $7,500
Australian sapphires are knick-named the “bread and butter blue.” These sapphires are more common, easier to mine and are generally of a dark blue shade approaching black. Heat treatments are common to enhance their blue colors and minimize their green undertones.
1 carat = $600-$2,000
2 carats = $1,600 to $4,000
Like rubies of similar structure, some sapphires display a six-pointed star when cut to a cabochon (round-topped) shape and exposed to direct sunlight. Such star sapphires are usually obtained from Sri Lanka.
Price Per carat = $75.00 – 1,500
Sapphire is often considered to be synonymous with the color blue, however, sapphire is beautiful beyond blue, in every color but red, because red is called ruby.
1 carat = $60-$1,400
2 carats = $200 to $3,000
The other colors of sapphire can be just as beautiful and rare – or even rarer – than the blue but they are usually priced less. Yellow, orange, lavender, and other pastel shades are especially affordable. The most valuable other fancy sapphire is an orange-pink or pinkish-orange called “padparadscha” after the lotus blossom.
Are very rare and the exact definition has always been a matter of debate: different dealers and different laboratories around the world disagree on the exact color described by this term. Some dealers even argue that the term should not be limited to the pastel shades of Sri Lankan sapphires but should also include the more firey shades of reddish-orange from the Umba Valley in Tanzania. Padparadscha sapphires sell at a premium, nearing the price for a fine blue sapphire.
Although the exact description is debated, the beauty of these rare gemstones is not, with their delicate blended shades the color of fresh salmon and sunsets.
Below 1 carat = $300-$800
1carat = $1,200 to $3,500
2 carats = $2,000 to $7,000
Other very popular shades of fancy sapphires are yellows, bright oranges, lavender and purples, and a bluish green color.
Generally, the more vivid the color, the more valuable the fancy sapphire. If the color is in the pastel range, the clarity should be good: because in lighter tones inclusions are more noticeable, the trade usually prefers the gemstones to be cleaner with fewer visible inclusions. In a lighter colored gemstone, the cut is also more important: it should reflect light back evenly across the face of the stone, making it lively and brilliant. With darker more intense colors, the cut is not as critical because the color creates its own impact.
As with all gemstones, sapphires that are “clean” and have few visible inclusions or tiny flaws are the most valuable.