Blue Sapphire Gemstones
Read This Report On Blue Sapphires Before You Buy
Sapphires and rubies belong to the same mineral group. Blue sapphire is quite common compared to sapphires in other colors. A blue sapphire ring can be had at varying prices depending on the quality, size and origin of the blue sapphire gem stone in the ring. One thing that is common to all sapphires is their impressive hardness . In gemological jargon, the hardness of a gem is measured on the Mohs scale. Gems are rated from a 1 to 10 in hardness, lower the hardness reading softer the gem stone. The hardest stone to be used in jewelry is the diamond, this stone has a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale. If you had to use the diamond as a benchmark to measure the hardness of a blue sapphire stone, the sapphire would line up very near the diamond. Sapphires measure a hefty 9 on the Mohs scale. It is very important to explain and understand this issue because, the hardness of a gem directly affects it's durability.
When you talk about blue sapphire or any other gem for that matter, the description of quality is an important subject. If you had to dream up an ideal blue sapphire gem stone you would want it to have a vivid blue color, contain no visible inclusions and have a well distributed color throughout the gem. It would ofcourse be even better if this was a huge sapphire.Now that is the dream, back to reality and you will need to tame your expectations a bit. Let us first get some estimate of what is a big blue sapphire gem stone. You can comfortably presume that this gem with a size that exceeds 3 carats is big. Vivid blue sapphires are expensive, such gems have a rich blue color and this is visible even in normal daylight conditions. Such a sapphire would not need a bright light to show off it's sheer splendor. So for color expect to get a blue sapphire that has a fairly deep blue color but, does not appear black in normal daylight. A much brighter blue color can be had if you had to select a Ceylon blue sapphire but, more about that later. Visible inclusions will almost always be present especially if you needed a blue sapphire that weighs 2 carats or more. We are ofcourse presuming that you will not spend a lavishly extravagant amount for your gem.
Uniformity of color is also something that influences the quality and price of a sapphire stone. Once again a 2 carat up blue sapphire with good color will rarely have the same color throughout the gem. If you had to cut just the best portion of a rough sapphire and throw the rest, the cost of the final cut piece would be huge. This is because, the cost of the rough sapphire that is thrown away would be added to the cost of the final piece. If uniformity of color is so hard to find in blue sapphires, why do you often come across sapphire rings that seem to have uniformly colored sapphires. There is an interesting reason for this, a bit technical but we will keep it as simple as possible. When an expert gem cutter gets hold of a rough blue sapphire gem, he turns it in every direction and carefully observes the inclusions, color spread through the stone and other details. His main objective is to cut the rough with as little gem loss as possible. The level of expertise can be judged by the angle and orientation that the cutter cuts the gem. The gem should look it's best when seen directly from above, this is the angle that most people would observe a blue sapphire after it is mounted in a jewel. So the stone that looks gorgeous is not without flaws, inclusions and even non-uniformity in color can all be covered up or made to have less visibility if the gem is cut the right way.
The origin of a blue sapphire gem is also of interest to a buyer. Ceylon blue sapphires have been the preferred choice for many decades. These gems have a brighter blue color and good lustre too but, there is more that you should know. You will end up paying a premium price for ceylon sapphires, this is even for quite average quality stones. Another truth is that almost all the ceylon blue sapphire gems that you see today will have a color that is not uniform through the stone. Color streaks are quite common in ceylon sapphires too. So if you want a sapphire from Ceylon because of the importance attached to stones from this origin, then getting one will be a good choice. On the other hand if you are expecting to have a gorgeous gem with good color spread and no visible color streaks, it might be better to look for other options like Madagascar blue sapphires. You will also end up saving some money by doing this.
Thailand is another source for blue sapphire gemstones. The gems do not compare with the color of Ceylon sapphires but, good budget blue sapphire stones can be had from this origin. Blue sapphires from Thailand are quite deep blue in color, but once again good cutting can help enhance the appearance of these sapphires. Heavily included Thai blue sapphires can appear almost black as very little light passes through these gems. Jewelers refer to such gems as 'midnight' blue sapphires though, you could more correctly refer to them as black sapphires. There is one more thing about sapphires from this part of the world, some of the blue sapphires can show a greenish color hue. This should ideally reduce the price of the gem stone so make sure that, you do a thorough inspection before making a purchase.
Australian blue sapphires are quite common too, the features of sapphires from Australia are quite similar to Thai blue sapphires. The greenish hue of Thai sapphires can often be found in Australian blue sapphire gems too. If you are being sold an Australian blue sapphire at a price that is way higher than what a similar Thai sapphire gem stone would cost you, then try to get a similar looking Thai sapphire instead.
Another source for good blue sapphires is Madagascar, the gems have good blue color and the price is a little cheaper than Ceylon blue sapphire gemstones. These sapphires do not have the bright blue color of Ceylon sapphires but many buyers love them for their more pronounced blue color. It is not very often that the Thai sapphire mines through up gems that compare with the color of blue sapphires. But when you do get one of these, it would be much cheaper than it's counterpart from Madagascar.
Let us now come to issue of natural blue sapphires and fake blue sapphires. Firstly like all gemstones, you have natural gems that are dug from the earth and artificial look alikes that are produced in a factory. If you needed a stone that looks like a gorgeous high grade blue sapphire but, do not care about it being a genuine sapphire, go for a factory made imitation. Buying a natural or factory made gem is a personal choice, just make sure that you get what you pay for. A very ordinary natural blue sapphire in the 10x8 oval size could cost around 200 to 300 U.S$. But if this had to be a factory made imitation, the same stone with a much more flashy appearance should cost around 10 U.S$ to 50 U.S$.
Now something about the treatment done to blue sapphire gem stones. It is well known and accepted by even gemological experts that blue sapphires are heat treated. The heating increases the clarity of the gem and also enhances it's color. You could therefore say that in general, a blue sapphire would look better after it is heated. However this does not mean that a blue sapphire can be heated multiple times and acquire more beauty. The heating done for blue sapphires is a specialized process and cannot be done by the buyer. It is the rough stone that is heated before being cut and faceted. In recent years, another process referred to as the diffusion process has been introduced. You need to be aware and also fully understand this process before buying diffused blue sapphire gemstones, so more explanation is provided in the next paragraph.
The diffusion process is used to treat pale or patchy colored blue sapphires. In this process natural blue sapphires of low quality are heated along with specific chemicals. This causes the surface of the sapphire to get a gorgeous blue color. To an untrained eye, such diffused blue sapphires appear like very expensive high end blue sapphires. Such gems are rightly priced at around 80% to 90% less than blue sapphires that naturally exhibit such color and color uniformity. The downside to this type of blue sapphire gems is that, the color is present only on the surface of the gem stone. A scratch, chip, repolish or recut of such blue sapphire gems will cause the top layer to lose color and expose a drab and low grade sapphire inside. While the attractive prices do make such gems look good, make sure that you pay the lower price that should go with these diffused blue sapphire stones. Jewelry and gem providers do sometimes push this gem as a high quality sapphire with premium price tags, so make sure that you find a gem provider that is reliable.
The sapphire is mentioned in birth stone charts as the birthstone for the month of September. However no specific mention of the sapphire color is made when it comes to using the stone as a birthstone. So you could choose from yellow sapphire, blue sapphire, pink sapphire, green sapphire and ofcourse even white sapphires as your September birthstone. Since sapphires are available in various grades, consider the possibility of gold or silver sapphire jewelry. Just keep in mind that quality of craftsmanship need not be compromised when buying or producing sterling silver jewelry.
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