What determines the price of sapphires?

What determines the price of sapphires?

  • What is a sapphire?
  • What determines the price of a sapphire?
  • Why invest in sapphires?
  • Should you opt for a sapphire or a blue diamond?

 

With colour variations in numerous colours, the sapphire is undoubtedly the most remarkable gemstone. Although sapphires comes in a variety of colours, the blue sapphire is the best known. Sapphires are usually less expensive than diamonds thus making them more accessible to investors with a smaller budget. In this article, we will inform you about the factors that determine the value and prices of sapphires and explain the options for investing in sapphires.

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What is a sapphire?

Like rubies, the sapphire is a variant of the mineral corundum. Depending on the presence of other minerals during the formation process, sapphires occur in different colours. Blue sapphires are often simply called "sapphires" in the trade, while coloured sapphires are called "fancy sapphires". Sapphires score a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, making them the second hardest material after the diamond, which scores a 10 on the same hardness scale. Apart from its financial value, the sapphire has a long and rich history from royal jewellery to bridal jewellery. In addition, the blue sapphire also plays a significant role in various legends and religions.

Sapphires are mined in several countries, including Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Australia and the USA. The most valuable sapphires are the cornflower-blue Kashmir sapphires, which originate from the Himalayan mountains. In addition to their characteristic colour, Kashmir sapphires are also distinguished by their silky inclusions, which make the stones resemble velvet.
Besides the Kashmir sapphire, the Padparadscha sapphire is also a very sought-after colour variety. The exact colour of a Padparadscha sapphire is difficult to determine. The colour lies at the intersection of the sunset, peach and salmon hues and is also often described as the colour of a lotus. This unique gemstone originates from Sri Lanka and can cost up to USD 20,000 per carat.

What determines the price of a sapphire?

What does a sapphire cost? This is a question that is often asked by gemstone investors. The price of the blue sapphire depends on the value of the sapphire. Just as with diamonds, the value is determined by the 4 Cs, i. e. Carat, Clarity, Colour and Cut. While with diamonds it is primarily the clarity that determines the value and price, with a sapphire it is primarily the colour that is used to determine the value.

Although there is no official colour system for coloured gemstones, a deep colour intensity is considered the most valuable. In the case of blue sapphires, this is the typical cornflower blue colour, but the shades of blue can vary from light blue and greenish to dark blue and almost violet. A colour that is too dark sometimes has a negative effect on the clarity and brilliance of the gemstone and reduces its value.

Similarly to rubies - the red variety of the mineral corundum - sapphires usually have inclusions. Contrary to popular belief, not every inclusion diminishes the value of the stone. In fact, these inclusions are proof that it is not a synthetic stone. Certain inclusions can even lead to a special effect. An example of this is the so-called star sapphire: asterism or a star effect caused by the presence of rutile and accentuated in the cabochon cut. Inclusions that severely impair clarity and cloud the stone in turn have a negative effect on the value of the sapphire.

Unlike diamonds, where the cut plays an important role in the value, with sapphires the cut is less important. Depending on the colour and clarity, an oval, round, cushion, emerald or cabochon cut is chosen for a sapphire. In terms of carat weight, a sapphire is usually heavier than a diamond. A 1.00 carat sapphire therefore looks smaller than a diamond of the same carat weight.

Why invest in sapphires?

Sapphires can be an interesting choice as an investment, as they usually have lower prices than diamonds. Since sapphires also exist in different colours, they are often used in jewellery as an alternative to coloured diamonds. After all, they are cheaper and have a wide commercial audience. This ensures that sapphires are an accessible investment that can be resold relatively easily.

However, the extremely rare ones - such as Kashmir or Padparadscha sapphires - belong to a more expensive and specialised market. An investment in such pieces is therefore usually made with the support of an expert who knows this niche market, such as the specialists at BNT Diamonds.

Should you opt for a sapphire or a blue diamond?

The lower price of sapphires makes them an attractive investment for many investors. Although the price undoubtedly contributes to the accessibility of this type of investment, investing in sapphire also carries a risk. As with other coloured gemstones, e.g. rubies or emeralds, there is no official certificate confirming the quality of the gemstone. A so-called "Colored Stone Report" only describes the general properties.

An investment in blue diamonds can therefore be a safer alternative. Unlike sapphires, blue diamonds can be fully tested for quality and recorded in a universal diamond certificate. Furthermore, for your maximum security, BNT Diamonds only sells diamonds with a certificate. You can find out more about this in our article on investing in blue diamonds or sapphires.

It is also good to know that there are a lot of inferior sapphires on the market. These are, for example, black sapphires or gemstones that are quite cloudy. These stones are therefore not suitable as an investment. Would you rather invest in a sapphire than a blue diamond? The BNT Diamonds team will happily advise you on the choice of a quality sapphire as an investment. Get in touch with us or call our team directly on +32 3 201 24 90.

With this article, BAUNAT strives to inform you thoroughly about investing in diamonds. No investment can be guaranteed to be without risk or fully according to your expectations. That is why we recommend to research the risks and aspects of investing in diamond properly to ensure that you make the right choice for your portfolio.

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