Sapphire Gemstone Buying Guide
‘Gemstone of the heavens,’ ‘Zeus’s stone,’ ‘prophetic,’ the sapphire has long been associated with divine favor. It is also a symbol of loyalty and love, for its luster will allegedly dim if its owner is unfaithful. In some cultures, the sapphire is associated with spiritual energy that enables one’s inner self to connect fully with the universe.
Choosing a stone
- Color: The word “sapphire” comes from the Latin word for ‘blue.’ Nevertheless, sapphire also occurs in other colors like orange, yellow and pink. In choosing a sapphire, look for highly saturated, medium or medium-dark tones. For blue sapphires, violet and purple undertones may add to its value while green undertones will detract from its value. For pink sapphires, the deeper the pink the better.
- Clarity: Inclusions are common in sapphires, so color trumps clarity for this type of gemstone. Complete absence of inclusions actually makes a stone suspect.
- Angara lets you choose the quality that suits your needs:
- Good (A): Dark blue and opaque
- Better (AA): Medium blue and moderately included
- Best (AAA): Medium blue; only slightly included and highly brilliant
- Heirloom (AAAA): Exceptionally rich blue, only very slightly included and highly brilliant; the top 1% of sapphires in terms of quality
- Cut: Almost all shapes and cuts work well with sapphires. Because corundum, the mineral that composes sapphire, is the second hardest after diamond. Sapphires are very durable stones that can be worn every day for generations.
- Enhancements: Sapphires are typically heated at very high temperatures for a few hours to intensify their color and enhance clarity. This is a permanent treatment that only alters a stone’s appearance, not its quality. Angara only works with treatments that have been AGTA approved.
- Today, sapphires are found in Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Australia, Burma (now Myanmar), Madagascar, the US, Brazil and Cambodia
- Sri Lanka contributes the largest proportion of the world’s sapphire supply today, including the Ceylon Sapphires
- Sri Lanka’s pink and violet sapphires are rarer than most blue sapphires
- Although Kashmiri and Burmese sapphires only contribute to a small fraction of the world’s supply, both are prized for their spectacular color
- Angara typically sources its sapphires from Sri Lanka and its offices in Bangkok, Thailand
- The famous Star of India is a 563 carat star sapphire that originated in Sri Lanka and is now on display in the American Museum of Natural History in New York City; it was stolen in 1964 and recovered from a Miami bus station
- Kate Middleton now wears Princess Diana’s 18 carat sapphire engagement ring
- Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September
- Sapphire is associated with the zodiac sign Virgo
- Sapphire is the suggested gift for fifth and forty-fifth anniversaries