Sapphires 101

Brooke Friedman

Next to the ruby and emerald, the sapphire is one of the top 3 most popular colored gemstone. Sapphires can be found in many countries around the world – from Australia to Madagascar, and even the United States.  Sapphires come in a wide range of colors, and each color has its own quality variations. Throughout history, the sapphire has always been associated with the color blue. Its name comes from the Greek word sappheiros, which most likely referred to lapis lazuli.

With so many incredible sapphires in our upcoming May 12th auction, I sat down with resident jewelry experts Jenny Putnam (AJP, RGA) & Selden Morgan (GIA Graduate Jeweler Gemologist and GIA Certified Appraiser), to learn a little more about the coveted gems.

Expert Tip 1:  The importance of color.

“When shopping for a sapphire, color is key.” Morgan explained, “Clarity is less important with sapphires. It’s all about the hue, the rich, vibrant color creates the most valuable stones.” She continued to explain that sapphires come in a variety of colors ranging from a deep blue, known as a Kashmir sapphire, to a pinkish-orange sapphire called a Padparadscha. Favored sapphires have strong to vivid color saturation regardless of hue.

Expert Tip 2:  Be Aware of Gem Treatments
There are a number of processes and treatments used to alter or improve the durability and color of the gems. “The buyer should always ask for details about the sapphire, such as, is the sapphire heat treated or synthetic?” Putnam asserted.  Some stones have synthetic counterparts that have similar chemical and physical properties, but are made in a lab.

What do you love about sapphires?
Putnam: “The rich color of sapphires transports me to the ocean; they almost appear to be lit from within.”

Morgan: “I love the contrast in color of a deep sapphire against the crisp white of a diamond, in a classic three-stone ring. That will always be one of my favorite pieces of jewelry.” (Like this beautiful sapphire ring from our March 2016 auction).

lot 41 from March2016


Check out some of the fabulous sapphire pieces from our upcoming May 12th, 2016 auction!


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