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Ceylon Sapphire Information

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Origin

Sapphires are found in many places around the world. The origin of a sapphire, is as important to a gem collector, as is knowing the pedigree and breed of an animal to a dog breeder. The most revered sapphires in the world come from Sri Lanka (also known by the old English name Ceylon). Another location of top caliber sapphire is the Kashmir region, which has long since been exhausted of sapphires. Sapphires also come from Australia, Thailand, Madagascar, other locations in Africa, and even Montana, USA. Rio Gems carries only sapphires from Sri Lanka which are known as Ceylon Sapphires. Occassionally, people will wrongly describe sapphires from other origins as being ceylon because the ceylon blue is the most sought after color in sapphire.

Why Sapphire?

Sapphire is the most popular color gemstone in the world, second in all gemstones to diamond. Sapphire has been in family collections and estates of royalty, and other wealthy families, a most sought after gem for thousands of years. When, Lady Di received a sapphire engagement ring from Prince Charles, the demand grew even more. Sapphire is the second-hardest gemstone (second to diamond) on the MOHS scale of hardness, making it very very durable. Sapphires, when cut to the proper proportions, will sparkle and "dance" in the light.

What Color?

The mineral name for sapphire is corundum, and corundum comes in all colors. When it is red, it is called Ruby. All other colors are called sapphire. Most people think Sapphires are all blue, but they actually come in the whole rainbow of colors. The most sought after sapphire color is a cornflower blue color. Personal preference dictates a lighter cornflower to a richer royal blue cornflower. In blue colors, the price is generally highest for the cornflower, and reduces both as it gets either lighter or darker. Sapphire comes in other colors, and is sometimes called fancy color sapphire, including pink, orange, yellow, white, green, and purple. Collectors may have heard of the padparadcha sapphire, which exhibits the colors of a sunset (from orange to pink to red). A padparadcha is the most expensive color of sapphire. Due to current popular trends and supply, pink is in high demand, and prices have gone up in pink to surpass that of the blue. Now you should have a fairly good idea of what color sapphire you are seeking.

Sapphire Treatments - the good and the bad

Some sapphire treatments are permanent and stable, while others are controversial and should be avoided. And some are not treated at all (find out if this is really true). How do you know if your sapphire was treated and what treatments are okay and what treatments are unacceptable? This is easy - there is only one acceptable treatment of sapphires, which dates back over 2,000 years: heating in an oven. Sapphires are heated at high temperatures to improve their clarity, intensify their colors, and make them more valuable. Weak sapphires will break in the process, leaving only the survival of the fittest. This has been practiced for milleniums, and is important to note it is a completely stable and permanent treatment. Once a sapphire is heated, it cannot be undone, and it impacts the whole sapphire (not just the outside layer). This is important to note, because it differs from many of the other controversial techniques that only impact the outside layer of the sapphire, including one called beryllium diffusion. Other treatments to watch out for include filling of cracks. The treatment to be most wary of is a stone that is untreated. Over 99% of sapphires are heated, and there is no surefire way to tell if a sapphire has been heated. Sometimes there are indications that it hasn't been heated though - some types of impurities and silk that you would expect heat to clear up. If those are present, a gem lab might be able to determine that it is "likely" a sapphire was not heated. Because of this, we steer all of our customers away from claims of unheated stones, and only accept an unheated finding from a top gem lab such as the AGTA.

Pricing of Sapphires

The price of sapphire will depend on these factors: origin, color, weight, clarity, cut, and treatment. Generally, sapphires from Sri Lanka (Ceylon) cost more than those from other places. Price will be highest for nice crisp vibrant colors (padparadsha, pink, blue, orange, yellow, etc…). As weight increases the price increases exponentially. A 2ct sapphire does not cost two times the price of a 1ct sapphire, but likely can be four times the price. Sapphires are similar to diamonds, and many other gemstones in that regard. Sapphires generally have a lower clarity than other gemstones. It is ideal to have on free of inclusions, but there are many types of imperfections in sapphires. Sapphires may have pinpoint/bubble-like inclusions. Sapphires may also have color banding or zoning, which is visibility in the way the crystal grew and color was formed in the stone. Sapphires will have some form of banding under high magnification, but generally should have limited visiblity to the naked eye. Most of the Rio Gems sapphires have eye clean clarity or better. The cut and proportions of the cut will impact the life of the gemstone. Many sapphires are cut to maximize weight, which is a "miners" short-sited approach to extracting as much value as they can from their find. We cut or have to re-cut most of our sapphires to maximize the beauty of the stone and give it proper proportions. The final factor in determining the value of a sapphire is the treatment. Most all (99%+) sapphires are conventionally heated. We take that as the baseline for valuation. Any sapphire that is diffused will be worth approximately 75% less than the conventionally heated counterpart. An unheated sapphire with an AGTA certificate can fetch a premium (after all, the certificate could cost $100 or more to get) of up to two times the price. An unheated sapphire without an AGTA certificate will fetch a minimal premium, if any, by a seasoned gem collector, because unless the stone is certified it is assumed to be heated. So where does that leave us for pricing?

For a top 1ct blue ceylon sapphire, you can expect to spend over $1,200. However, for just a small concession in color and clarity, the price can come down substantially - all the way down to $800 for almost perfect. Another baby step down, and you can be at $400. You can keep taking baby steps down, and still have a nice 1ct blue Ceylon Sapphire for $250. This shows you the premium that is placed on the top top qualities, and the according pricing. At Rio Gems, we carry many of these top qualities and have hundreds of ceylon sapphires to choose from. We can match sapphires for you, as you need, for example if you need matching for sidestones on a ring or for earrings. We have thousands of ceylon sapphires in stock, with most at our manufacturing facility. If you have a special need that isn't on our website, we may have it at our manufacturing facility, so please inquire.

Ceylon Sapphire Gemstone

1.25ct Blue Ceylon Sapphire Pear Shape

September birthstone. Beautiful Ceylon Sapphire
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Our Price: $312.5

Ceylon Sapphire Gemstone

0.96ct Blue Green Ceylon Sapphire Oval

September birthstone. Beautiful Ceylon Sapphire
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Our Price: $240

Ceylon Sapphire Gemstone

0.66ct Blue Ceylon Sapphire Round

September birthstone. Beautiful Ceylon Sapphire
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Our Price: $165