How do you judge the quality of sapphire?

Want to buy sapphire jewelry but aren’t sure how to pick the right piece? Here’s how to judge the quality of sapphire?

Accurately assessing the quality of sapphire jewelry is important for anyone who is thinking about buying a piece but does not want to pay over the odds or get lumbered with a sub-par product.

To give you the best chance of gauging sapphire quality, here are a few key things to look for in your search.

Consider color

The color of a sapphire is what gives it the lion’s share of its appeal to enthusiasts, so this should be at the top of the agenda when scrutinizing the quality.

The Swiss Gemmological Institute sets out standards for both the hue and saturation of sapphires, ranging from medium to strong for the most desirable color, royal blue.

The closer the color and saturation of a stone adhere to these standards, the higher the quality. Of course the best way to get the best color tone is to buy from a reputable source. Diamondere have been in business since 1890, browse their sapphire ring catalog to get an idea of what real quality looks like so that you can use this as a template for your own assessment efforts.

Examine clarity

All gemstones need to be assessed for clarity, but in the case of colored stones like sapphires, inclusions are inevitable and are factored into the way they are analyzed and valued.

For the uninitiated, inclusions are basically the other pieces of material that were trapped in the surrounding stone during its formation deep beneath the Earth’s surface. They can be seen as imperfections, although in reality they also help to indicate that a sapphire is the genuine article, rather than a synthetic copy made in a lab.

If the inclusions are small enough to be imperceptible to the eye from around 10 inches away, otherwise known as ‘eye clean’, then the sapphire will be of a particularly high quality.

Inclusions that are conspicuous from a distance will have a detrimental impact on value, although this may not put you off making a purchase if the price is right and you are on a budget; it is all about personal preference.

Check the cut

While sapphires can be beautiful and alluring the moment they are ripped from the rock, to make them suitable for jewelry they need to be cut, creating facets which will bolster their allure and interact with the light in amazing ways.

It takes a lot of skill and training to create suitable facets on gemstones, as it is not just about cutting cleanly but also about achieving the ideal angles.

Identifying problems with the cut is possible if you turn the sapphire in the light and see a particular area of darkness, dimness or general inconsistency with the way that the beams are reflected and refracted. These so-called ‘dead spots’ can spoil the look and again should lead to a lower price.

If in doubt, get an independent expert involved to check sapphire jewelry for quality to avoid being stung.