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Sapphires
Sapphires

-Mined in Thailand , Australia , Burma , Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Kashmir , Cambodia , Madagascar , China , Columbia , Malawi , Vietnam , Tanzania , Kenya , Brazil , Nigeria , Tanzania and the U.S (Montana).

Sapphires are the blue variety of the corundum family, the red being rubies. They share the same rating on the Moh scale- 9 out of 10 hardness, so they just as durable and strong.

Sapphires come in several shades of blue, from the palest, creamiest baby-blues to the richest tones of black-blue. Most gem-dealers agree that violet undertones are more desirable than green undertones and green will reduce value in a sapphire. A good-grade 1-carat sapphire of solid blue color with weak undertones can cost as little as $1500 per carat today. The usual price range for strong hued blues with strong undertones is about $200-$2500 per carat for half carat and 1 carat stones. For 1 and 2 carat sapphires it's about $450-$8700 per carat and for 3 and 4 carat gems it's about $1000-$10,000 per carat.

In addition to the red rubies of the family, sapphires also come in other fancy shades; today you can find pink and yellow Madagascar sapphires in the market or even green sapphires and orange colors. Yellow sapphires have a price range of about $200-$1700 per carat for anything smaller than a 5 carat stone. Most are heat-treated and the larger stones are usually of poor quality, with smaller yellow stones found in abundance with very few inclusions. Buying large yellow sapphire is therefore not recommended without having it currently appraised by a gemologist, not only for authenticity but also for exact quality grading. Yellow sapphires over 5 carat weights will cost about $550-$2200 per carat if they are of reasonable quality. Green sapphires cost about $90-$800 per carat for anything less than 3 carats and about $250-$1000 per carat for 3, 4 and 5 carat weights. Pink sapphires are sometimes presented as weakly colored rubies and they may cost in the range of $750-$2500 per carat for 1 and 2 carat weights and about $1000-$3000 per carat for 2 and 3 carat weight gems. Green, purple, yellow and orange sapphires are also found in Thailand , Montana , Sri Lanka and Tanzania . Orange is the second most-valued of the fancy colors, after it are the yellow and purple gems and lastly are the green, Australian sapphires that cost the least of this group. The most expensive fancy sapphire is an extremely rare variety that is both pink and orange simultaneously called ‘padparadscha', though it is unlikely you will encounter it, as it is very expensive. This is a medium-toned sapphire found in Sri Lanka and it is so rare it may cost about $30,000 per carat weight.

Unlike rubies, which don't respond well to high-temperature treatments, sapphires usually benefit from the procedure, and they are frequently heated to give better results on clarity-gradings. Withstanding heat relatively well, sapphires are leached for inclusions are their prices sometimes even go up 10% to 25% after heating. However, they are now also being diffused, and as this kind of treatment doesn't actually enhance real color, but only deepens the topmost layer of the gem, this is something to look out for when buying a sapphire. All treatments should be stated on the bill of sale and if you are buying a sapphire claimed to be untreated, have the store note and sign that on the original bill of sale. Assume that any large and flawless sapphires you see are not natural, but lab-grown synthetics. Both sapphires and rubies are normally found with inclusions, especially in the larger sizes, so if something seems ‘too perfect to be real'- it probably isn't real. .Though sapphires were never popular choices for doublet, this too has now become a widespread 1phenomenon, and in general you should be wary of buying a sapphire unmounted and untested.

Origin is a very important factor in buying gems. Gems may be mined in several countries, all producing different shades and quality grades of stones- and all affecting price and market value. Origin is therefore noted on the bill of sale-(and if it isn't- beware!), so check this first before even considering a purchase. Australia and Thailand both produce good-grade emeralds, though they are generally less expensive the emeralds from other origins. Australian gems often have beautiful, deeply dark blue tints with greenish undertones that deepen them further. However, they don't have the quality found in Burmese or Kashmirian kinds. A top-quality Kashmir sapphire can cost about

$25,000 per carat. Brazil , Africa and Tanzania also produce acceptable quality grade gems with lovely color, and as these are not relatively expensive, these are all options to look out for on your search. The American sapphires from Montana are a novelty, as they are rarely treated, not very expensive and come in a prodigious array of colors.

Lighter sapphires are normally called ‘Ceylon-colored' sapphires because sapphires mined in Sri Lanka are usually pale pastel tints of blue, and offer a wide variety of pale shades. Note that anything called ‘sapphire-colored' is not a sapphire, and that if the gem was mined in Ceylon , is should be called a ‘ Ceylon ' sapphire. The finest pale gems are Burmese sapphires that display clean, clear color evenly distributed. Burma produces fine, brilliant gems that cost quite a bit per carat. The Kashmirian gems are deeper in color and are usually worth even more per carat weight, as they retain color in all types of lighting. They are a pure, spectral blue, deeply colored and very lovely. There is also a colorless variety of sapphires called ‘White sapphires' and they are the most affordable variety. White, colorless sapphires will cost about $50-$150 per carat for stones weighing less than a whole carat. For colorless gems over 1 carat the price range is $80-$250 per carat weight.

The usual undertones of blue sapphires are either green or violet, and many gems will literally change color in front of your eyes if you move them from one kind of light to another. In broad daylight most sapphires are deeply blue, as sunlight is basically yellow light and impacts a blue stone by intensifying and enhancing its bluish tones. Fluorescent lights have this same influence, though to a lesser degree, as fluorescent lights are basically blue-white, and they will also be beneficial to the gems sparkle. Other types of light- candles or chandelier light, which is termed ‘incandescent', may change the sapphires color completely. Some stones will turn dark purple (depending on the relative darkness of the tonality); many will turn pale lavender or even greenish. Some misrepresentations of real sapphire names are: “Water sapphires” (made of iolite), “Meru sapphire” (tanzanite), “Oriental sapphire” (chrysoberyl), “Spinel sapphire” (spinel), “Lux sapphires” (also iolite), “Brazilian sapphire” (blue tourmaline) and “ Chatham sapphire (a synthetic).
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