The Rise of Sapphires
Over the past several years, sapphires and other coloured gemstones have become increasingly popular in many circles. British royalty has shown an increasing appreciation for coloured gemstones, including Princess Eugenie’s gorgeous sapphire ring. Of course, as in many cases, the general population followed suit: an increasing number of coloured sapphire engagement rings have found a place on the market, gradually creating a place for themselves in a market once dominated by diamonds.
Sapphires make amazing engagement rings with a lower price tag than a traditional diamond, offering a unique look that helps set that special piece of jewellery apart from others in the crowd. Some of the world’s most notable pieces of jewellery include stunning coloured stones–and sapphires create a gorgeous look for many custom pieces of jewellery.
What Makes Sapphires so Special in Jewellery and to Investors?
Sapphires are more than just gorgeous gemstones with a beautiful colour that you can’t help but fall in love with. They also have a number of unique properties that make them particularly appealing when mounted as jewellery and to investors.
Blue sapphires are the second most popular coloured stone when it comes to investing.
According to auction house results, blue sapphires are the second most popular stone for investment (coming in just behind rubies, which are the #1). You can read how the price of these gems has reached some eye-watering results at auction.
Sapphires are the third hardest mineral.
One of the reasons diamonds are so popular is, simply put, their durability: they are incredibly difficult to break or destroy, which makes them the perfect option for jewellery that will be worn on a regular basis–especially in items like engagement rings, which are often worn every day. Sapphires aren’t quite as hard as diamonds, but they do rank third on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, coming in at a whopping 9.0. (For comparison, diamonds rank at 10, and moissanite, the second hardest mineral, ranks 9.5.)
Sapphires can be heat treated to transform their appearance.
It is commonplace for sapphires to go through a heat-treating process that enhances their natural colour and makes them even more desirable to buyers. Heat treating even less valuable gems can enhance their natural beauty, making a gorgeous piece that is stunning to look at even when that might not previously have been the case. During the heating process, sapphires are covered in a flux material that can penetrate any cracks in the stone, creating a stronger piece that is less likely to break (usually with lower-grade stones). When this process is used, jewellers must reveal that the sapphire was heat-treated and treated an additional material to potential buyers. Note that the heating of sapphires is a very common practice. Untreated stones account for only about the top 1% of production. An untreated sapphire is one that has come out of the ground looking so spectacular, that all it needs doing to it is cutting and polishing to enhance its brilliance. These stones are significantly more valuable, by comparison than any gem that has undergone treatment and makes an even better investment opportunity.
Sapphires are safe to use in jewellery dips and cleaners.
Unlike some other, softer gemstones, sapphires can be treated using ultrasonic cleaners (commonly used by jewellers). That makes them an ideal stone for both those who want to create these stunning pieces of artwork and those who want to enjoy them for years to come.
Sapphires can occur in all colours of the rainbow.
Typically, when you think about sapphires, you are imagining the rich blue that typically takes its place as September’s birthstone. Sapphires, however, are more than just blue. They can come in many colours: yellow, green, purple, and more. They do not, however, come in red: red ‘sapphires’ are generally classified as rubies, instead. Sapphires also occur in a wide range of hues. A single gem can have areas of brilliant colour combined with lighter colours or even a clear area, which adds to the unique nature of the stone. Many of these variations, however, are not visible to the naked eye and can be seen only through a jeweller’s loupe.
Folklore has it that Sapphires are instilling wisdom, loyalty, and nobility.
With such a stunning representation, it’s little wonder that sapphires have become one of the latest styles in engagement rings. Who wouldn’t want a ring that represents the loyalty of that commitment? In medieval times, sapphires also symbolized heaven and were thought to bring down divine favour.
How to Buy the Best Sapphires Online
When you buy stone in a store, you can examine it yourself, hold it in your hand and look over it for any flaws. In some cases, you may even choose to take your stone to a trusted jeweller to evaluate it before making a purchase. When you buy online, on the other hand, it can be harder to be sure that you’re getting the best possible stone. Are you thinking of buying your sapphire online? Make sure you follow these steps to ensure that you get the deal you’re looking for.
Step One: Know How You Can Be Scammed
There are many scams common on the gemstone market. When it comes to sapphires, you’ll usually find the same common scams: gems that have been treated without disclosure, gems that have been exchanged for other types of gemstones or replicas, and gems that have been registered at one-carat weight but actually are much smaller. Once you know how to identify those potential scams, you can be on the lookout for them, which makes it easier for you to avoid them.
If you buy online, take some time to look around the web to see if what you’re looking at is in line with other stones elsewhere. Also, feel free to ask the online shop to send you more details. If there isn’t one, you can ask for a video. Look for pictures of the stone being measured so you can compare it to the certificate.
Step Two: Check the Shop’s Reputation
Before you even begin shopping online–and long before you fall in love with a specific ring or other pieces of jewellery–take the time to research the shop. Check their reputation. A new shop can offer some great deals, especially as the jeweller attempts to establish himself, but if you want to be sure that you’re getting a true deal–and a real piece of jewellery–make sure you take the time to check into the shop’s credentials. Try some of these strategies:
- Check reviews. Evaluate the reviews on the shop’s page, then check their social media page and Google My Business listing. By learning what others have to say about them, you can get a better feel for what type of service the shop will offer you. Checking reviews is particularly important if you’re choosing a bespoke design, since you want to be sure you will get a piece like the one you have described, in a timely manner.
- Look for certifications. Does the shop have reputable certifications, both for their payment system and for their jewellery certifications?
- Evaluate the quality of the items in the shop. Compare them to other shops with similar gems. Check the prices to ensure that they are similar to others of the same quality.
- Are they a member of a local or international industry body? In the UK the National Association of Jewellers is the main body for the industry.
- Will the online shop let you see the stone if you want? They might not send it to you, but may allow you to visit their premises to look at it.
Step Three: Protect Yourself
When you choose to buy online, make sure you take the right steps to protect yourself. Use a credit card or payment system like PayPal that will allow you to get your money back if you suffer fraud. You should also check the seller’s return policy: will they allow you to easily return a piece that doesn’t fit your needs or isn’t to your exact specifications? This protection is particularly important to understand if you have your gem set into a bespoke piece.
Step Four: Check the Details
Whether you’re dealing with a jeweller in person or online, take the time to check the details of the piece. You want to know the carat weight, the clarity and any processes or enhancements that have been performed on the gem you’re considering. Equally importantly, you want to know that you’re getting a quality, certified piece. Read the information sheet on the sapphire before you buy it. Take the time to look over all the important details, including whether the sapphire has already been treated and any enhancements that have been made to the piece.
Step Five: Have Your Stones Independently Evaluated
If you’re buying the stone from someone you don’t know online or offline for the first time, take the time to have your new stone independently certified, especially if you are unsure of the integrity of the paperwork you are receiving. During the evaluation, you will receive information about the stone’s cut, clarity, carat, and overall worth. This can help you ensure that you have received a sapphire that meets your expectations, rather than discovering well down the road that you made a mistake in your purchase. This independent evaluation can also provide extreme peace of mind for both you and the recipient of your jewellery.
Are you ready to start your jewellery buying journey? Do you want your jewel to be custom made from the gem up? At Haruni Fine Jewels, we can take you through the process, from selecting a sapphire to having your own customised ring made. Contact us today to learn more.