Get a break down on all the factors that impact the value of the sapphire in your ring, necklace, or earrings.
If you are looking to sell a sapphire ring or other item of sapphire jewelry, the first question on your mind is likely, “How much is my sapphire worth?” There are various factors which impact the value of a sapphire, and we will cover each one in this article on appraising the value of a sapphire gemstone.
Sapphires are a gem variety of the element corundum, and while commonly thought of as blue, they actually occur in almost all the colors of the rainbow, with one notable exception — red. Any corundum with a majority red hue is valued as a ruby.
As with most gemstones, a number of factors can affect a sapphire’s value, and the criteria for judging them is similar to the way diamonds are judged: the classic “4 Cs” of color, clarity, cut, and carat weight. Though all of these factors have an impact on the ultimate value of the sapphire, color is the most important characteristic, and the one with the greatest variations.
How Sapphire Color Affects Value
Although the traditional color for sapphires is blue, they naturally occur in a wide variety of colors, and each has its own variations in quality. Generally speaking, the more intense and consistent the color is throughout the gemstone, the more valuable it will be, but because color in sapphires is so widely varied, there is no one “standard” against which color is judged. Determining ideal color in sapphires is generally left to the eye of the beholder.
Color in all gemstones is usually talked about in three terms: hue, saturation, and tone. Hue refers to the stone’s basic color, and saturation is the extent to which the hue is tempered by brown or gray. Highly saturated colors reflect a very narrow set of wavelengths, whereas low saturations are sometimes called weak, brownish, or grayish. Tone refers to the depth of color in the stone, ranging from very light to very dark. The most valuable gemstones are those that exhibit the most pure colors. Among blue sapphires, the most coveted stones are violet-blue, with medium to medium dark tones and vivid color saturation.
Sapphires other than blue are considered “fancy colored,” and include pink, orange, purple, yellow, green, and Padparadscha. Each category of color has its own range and market value. As with all colored gemstones, strong to vivid color saturation is considered more valuable than weak saturations, as long as it doesn’t darken the color and compromise brightness. While blue sapphires are consistently more expensive than fancy colored ones, the Padparadscha color from Sri Lanka, often described as pink-orange or salmon, is very rare and sometimes valuable as well.
How Sapphire Clarity Affects Value
Blue sapphires almost always exhibit some kind of inclusions, though they are not quite so heavily included as their red cousins, rubies. Fine inclusions of the mineral rutile, called needles, are often present in sapphires, and when they occur in intersecting groups, they produce a kind of haze known as silk. While inclusions are quite common, blue sapphires of extremely high clarity do exist, and their rarity makes them extremely valuable.
Other inclusions in sapphires include differing mineral crystals, small fractures, color banding, and color zoning. Because most all sapphires have some kind of inclusions, treatments have evolved to enhance their clarity. The most common is heat treatment, which can improve the overall clarity of the stone. This kind of simple treatment is considered permanent and stable, and is widely accepted in the industry when disclosed. The value of a heat treated sapphire is generally not adversely affected, though untreated stones of high clarity are always more valuable. Other treatments, like the filling of fractures with lead glass or epoxy resins are not widely accepted and will result in a $20 sapphire.
Generally speaking, inclusions make sapphires less valuable, especially fractures that may threaten the stone’s integrity, but some inclusions can actually increase the value of the gemstone. Asterism is a phenomenon responsible for the appearance of a star on the surface of some sapphires, the result of properly aligned rutile inclusions. These so-called “star sapphires” can occur with four, six, or twelve rays, and when the rays are of uniform strength and contrast strongly with the background color of the stone, they can be quite valuable.
How Sapphire Cut Affects Value
The shape of a sapphire in the rough will always affect the cut chosen for the stone, and because most rough sapphire crystal is found in a hexagonal pyramid, finished sapphires are often deep. As color is the most important factor in sapphires, cutters focus on factors that can affect color zoning, and the lightness or darkness of the gem. Star sapphires will always be cut as a cabochon to display the asterism.
How Sapphire Carat Weight Affects Value
Sapphires range in size from quite small (a few points) to hundreds of carats, though most readily available sapphires weigh less than 5 carats. Higher quality stones increase in value with size more rapidly than lower quality ones.
A fine 5 carat sapphire might sell for five times more per carat than a similarly judged 1 carat stone, whereas a lower quality 5 carat stone might only be worth twice as much per carat as a 1 carat gem of the same quality.
Get a Free Sapphire Appraisal
Contact Diamond Estate Jewelry Buyers today for a free verbal appraisal of your sapphire ring, necklace, brooch, earrings, or loose sapphire gemstone. You can also get the process started online by telling us about the sapphire jewelry you wish to sell.
Selling an Expensive Sapphire Ring – Who to Believe?
There are times when a person selling their sapphire ring is receiving conflicting information. The person that sold them their ring said that the sapphire was of very high quality. However, now that they are trying to sell their sapphire ring, they are being told that it’s of low quality. Who to believe?
The gem and jewelry industry is like any other industry. Most jewelers are honest, transparent people who work hard to make a living. However, there will always be a few who will fall into the temptation of making a quick buck by misleading people. Telling a customer that a sapphire is an A grade stone (for example) and charging an A grade price, while the stone is really a D grade stone falls into the “misleading” category.
If you’ve taken your sapphire ring to two or three legitimate jewelry buyers, and they are basically telling you the same thing and you’re still not convinced, it would behoove you to acquire a laboratory report by a reputable laboratory like GIA or AGL. You’re going to want to factor the cost of the report with the potential gain and investment you’ve made. You don’t want to pay $300 for a report on a $500 stone, for example.
With your laboratory report in hand you can verify the facts. Compare what both the retailer and your estate jewelry buyer have told you and perhaps get an offer from a second jewelry buyer.
Then you can decide who to believe. If you have already received a quote from a jewelry buyer and are looking for a second opinion, or are ready to get the selling process started now with an initial market appraisal of your sapphire ring or gemstone, contact Diamond Estate now.
Why is There So Little Reliable Information Available About Sapphire Prices Online?
People selling sapphire jewelry online have greater trouble finding reliable pricing information compared to those who want to sell a diamond ring online. This is because sapphires, and colored gems in general, have more factors to consider than diamonds.
For example, a white diamond color is graded by how “colorless” the stone appears, which varies from perfectly white to varying shades of light yellow, with each shade assigned a letter grade.
You can compare certificates to other diamonds online by going to one of the big online diamond sellers, like Blue Nile or James Allen, where you’ll have access to thousands of certificates with prices. You can compare the 4 Cs’: cut, clarity, color, and cut plus the existence or absence of fluorescence.
Most diamonds with GIA certificates even have the certificate number laser-engraved into the diamond for reference and that information is available online for anyone to see.
The type of readily available and abundant data you see in the diamond marketplace doesn’t exist in the colored stone market.
Sure, most high-quality colored stones will be accompanied by a certificate, but there are no large online retailers with ample inventories one can browse through and compare with the stone they are considering to purchase. If one is willing to do the work, you can go to sites like Polygon.com, browse through their colored stones and request to contact a vendor. After filling out a contact form the vendor will contact you and you can view pictures and a copy of the certificate.
Even with a picture and copy of the certificate, it would still be nearly impossible to really know about the stone’s beauty without seeing it in person, because how do you describe color tone, saturation, or hue on a piece of paper or screen? When it comes to pictures, have you ever tried to buy matching paint for your walls at the hardware store without a color sample and just a picture? It never matches. This makes it challenging to match your stone and certificate up to a similar one online and make a conclusive price determination.
When buying a fine watch, it is usually easy to get information because every high-end watch has a model number, serial number date of manufacture. Just a few clicks on your laptop and you can know what the retail is for that model and even what they’re selling for used online. You can also read reviews about it without much effort.
Sapphire Characteristics Have Infinite Combinations
Try to imagine how many possible shade and hue combinations of blue there are? Dark, Navy, Midnight, pale, neon, greenish, purplish, greyish….you get the point. The variables are limitless and we’re only talking about the tone and hue combination of blue.
That’s not even including the different levels of transparency, brilliance, saturation, depth of color, origin, inclusion types…the list goes on.
When a seller explains they didn’t really know much about the stone when they bought it besides what the salesperson told them it’s understandable. There is a lot to navigate when making any colored stone purchase and it’s natural for a buyer to take the advice of a jewelry store salesperson. Most of the time the advice is professional, educational and will help the consumer make an educated purchase decision. However, there are exceptions.
If Sapphire Price is Difficult to Determine Without Seeing the Gem in Person, How Do You Do It?
It’s difficult. But our 25 years of experience in buying sapphires aids us in making an educated rough determination from a picture and/or a laboratory report.
This way you will have a price range of what price your sapphire would sell for. With that information you can decide whether or not you would like to pursue the next step in finalizing a transaction by visiting our office or shipping your stone to us through our free, no obligation, fully insured shipping program. Get started now.
Would you like to learn even more about sapphires and sapphire jewelry? Read our additional article: Selling My Sapphire Jewelry Guide?