Sapphires remain America’s #1 selling colored gem. While not as expensive as rubies, the price for a fine quality sapphire can be higher than that of a diamond. First a few things about sapphires. Not all sapphires are the same and buyers should be aware that the quality of any gemstone (sapphire or otherwise) should equal its value. What should you look for when buying a sapphire? Color!
Sapphires are identical in every way to a ruby, except for color. Found in a wide variety of colors – the main true color that we are all familiar with is the Blue sapphire.
However, sapphires are also available in pink, yellow, green and purple. These sapphires are aptly named “Fancy Sapphires”. In addition there are other sapphires, which are extremely rare and collectible termed as Padparadscha Sapphires.
Colors of blue sapphires can range from a light blue to the darkest of blue (we call it black/blue). However, the middle of the road in the sapphire gem group appears to be the most expensive (and the most sought after gem). Good rule of thumb to follow is that light colored and very dark colored sapphires will cost less and the mid range in color sapphires will cost more. Then again, never shop by price but, by the color and the color of sapphire, which appeals to you the most. Many sapphire buyers love a light colored gem and many others prefer a midnight (almost black/blue in color) sapphire.
If you can find 2 carat sapphire, which is light color and that color appeals to you - then that may be the gem for you!
Back to Padparadscha Sapphires. This sapphire combines three colors – purple, pink and orange! A sapphire displaying these colors is known as Padparadscha Sapphire and the cost of such a gem can costs thousands of dollars per carat!
Pink Sapphires – are a highly prized gem by many collector’s and consumers. Pink sapphires can resemble that of a ruby (so be careful as you can’t go by color – only by description). Again, Pink Sapphires can go from light pink to a very dark pink termed “hot pink”. Can't afford a pink sapphire? Search around for a Pink Topaz! They're reasonably priced (usually flawless) and come in a range from light pink to a "Hot Pink".
Yellow Sapphires – can be had at a very reasonable price, as they are found in extremely large crystal formations. They range in color from a very light yellow (canary yellow) to a dark yellow. Looking for a Canary Yellow Diamond but, can't afford the price? Buy a Canary Yellow Sapphire, set it into a white gold setting (get the platinum look with a white gold setting!) and many will ask if the gem is a canary diamond! Keep the gem size down (under 2 carats), as Canary Yellow Diamonds of high quality are very expensive and anything over 2 carats might not be believable!
Green Sapphires – Another bargain hunter’s find is the Green Sapphire as they the least desirable of all sapphires and range in color from a very light green (like Peridot) to that of the darkest green.
Purple Sapphires - Of all the sapphires purple sapphires stand out as what we term a “middle of the road gem” with a great price and a nice color range.
Star Sapphires – This is a gem you either like so much you buy every one you can find or this gem is just not your cup of tea. They come in various shades of blue. The outstanding feature of this gem is the six or twelve ray star effect, which seems to dazzle it buyers. This gem is not that expensive and can be had for less then many of the sapphires in the group mentioned above.
Color Change Sapphires – For those who love the color change effect of Alexandrite but don’t like the price. A color change sapphire is your best buy! The gem will change color in various lighting.
Buy your sapphires carefully. Expect to pay more for larger size gems and remember that the ideal sapphire should be clear from fractures and inclusions. Expect all gems in this group to be heated. If anyone claims the gem is unheated, the gem will come at a high price and proof that the gem was NOT heated.
Other guides relating to jewelry and gemstone buying which you may find helpful are as follows: