пятница, 20 мая 2011 г.

Blue Sapphire Prices - Some Facts

Blue sapphire is one of the classic colored gemstones, combining vivid color with excellent hardness. Due to its timeless appeal and limited supply, blue corundum commands a premium price in the market. Now that sapphire has also become popular for engagement rings, demand and prices have continued to rise.

If you're shopping for blue sapphires, you'll discover a wide range of prices from different gem dealers. The price variations can be bewildering at first, particularly since sapphires, unlike diamonds, are not graded according to an internationally recognized system. However, the price of a sapphire should be in direct relationship to the rarity and quality of the stone you are buying. So its important to know how gem dealers price their blue sapphires.

The four "C's" -- color, cut, clarity and carat weight -- apply to sapphires, just as they do to diamonds, though the grading is done in quite a different way for sapphires. There are also other considerations that bear on sapphire prices such as treatment and origin.

The easiest way to understand sapphire pricing is to start with some basic grading distinctions: synthetics, cabochons, diffusion treated stones, heated stones and unheated stones. These different categories form a hierarchy, ranging from least expensive to most expensive.

Synthetic sapphires have been created in a laboratory, using a method such as flame fusion. These lab-created stones can be created very cheaply and are used mainly in inexpensive commercial jewelry. Synthetic sapphires are not usually offered for sale by jewelry stores or gemstone dealers focused on high quality natural gemstones.

Higher quality sapphires are routinely heated to improve the color and clarity. However, blue sapphires that have been heated with chemicals such as beryllium should be avoided, since these diffusion treated stones have a much lower value in the market. Most reputable dealers will not deal in these diffused sapphires, but if a dealer is offering a diffused blue sapphire for sale it is critical that the treatment be properly disclosed. The treatment should be labelled as "diffusion treated" or "lattice diffusion" or "beryllium heated."

Unheated sapphires can be found in the market, but unheated blue sapphires with top color and clarity are very rare indeed. Prices on these rare unheated stones range from about $2,000 to more than $10,000 per carat. The record auction price paid for a 22 carat blue Kashmir sapphire was about $135,000 per carat in 2007.

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