How to Choose Quality Sapphires


Throughout time, sapphires have captivated people with their brilliant color and rich history.
Each sapphire is unique with a special color, birthplace, and a specific story. Traditionally,
sapphire symbolizes nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness. It has decorated the robes of
royalty and clergy members for centuries. Its extraordinary color is the standard against which
other blue gems, from topaz to tanzanite, are compared. One of the most precious stones in the
world, sapphires are one of the three colored jewelry gemstones, along with the rubies and emeralds.

A Brief History of the Sapphire

Rulers of ancient Persia believed the sky was painted blue by the reflection of sapphires. The
Sinhalese in Northern India believed that the star sapphire served as protection and a guard
against witchcraft. In some religions, the blue color of sapphires represented the heavens.

In the 12th century, the sapphire gemstone adorned ecclesiastical rings to signify hierarchy and
status. During the 18th century, sapphires were believed to test female loyalty, changing color if
the woman had been unfaithful. Throughout history, sapphires have been used as talismans for
protection, warding off diseases, and to bring peace, happiness, and superior intelligence.

For many of us, hearing the word sapphire makes us envision a stunning blue gemstone because
the word “sapphire” is the Greek word for blue. For centuries, the sapphire has been referred to
as the ultimate blue gemstone.

Since ancient times the blue sapphire represented a promise of honesty, loyalty, purity, and trust.
It may surprise you to learn that sapphires are not always blue. They come in almost every color
of the rainbow: pink, yellow, orange, peach, and violet colors.


One of the most desired sapphires is the rare and beautiful Padparadscha: a pink-orange corundum with a distinctive salmon color reminiscent of a tropical sunset. These ultra-rare, ultra-expensive stones are among the most coveted gems in the world.

Sapphire is found in many parts of the world, but the most prized sapphires are from Myanmar
(Burma), Kashmir, and Sri Lanka. Sapphires with highly saturated violet-blue color and
“velvety” or “sleepy” transparency are more rare. The purer the blue of the sapphire, the greater
the price. However, many people find that the darker hues of sapphire can be just as appealing.


Sapphires are part of the mineral corundum family and carry traces of aluminum oxide. Although
they come in different colors, the most famous and sought after are blue sapphires that carry
hints of titanium. Besides their brilliance, sapphires are extremely resilient, placing them second
only to diamonds on the Mohs Hardness Scale. Some of the most famous jewelry in the world
use this exquisite gemstone as the main focal point. The value of sapphires is determined by their
color, purity, reflection and size.

Now that you’re informed about this gorgeous gemstone, it’s time to dive into how to choose a
quality sapphire. We’ll guide you through 6 steps to help you choose the cerulean gemstone of
your dreams. Once you’re ready to shop, please seek out a reputable dealer like Beads ofCambay to find sapphires of top quality and fair market prices.

Color: Not all Sapphires Are Blue

Sapphires come in a wide range of colors, and each color has its own quality variations. In
general, the more intense the color with a minimum of distracting zones, the more valuable the
stone. Since sapphires come in so many colors, the first step is often choosing a color. A blue
sapphire’s value is determined by its color.

The most highly valued blue sapphires are velvety blue to violet blue, with medium to medium
dark tones. Preferred sapphires also have vivid color saturation. The saturation should be as
strong as possible without darkening the color and compromising brightness. Sapphires with
these qualities command the highest prices per carat.

Blue sapphires range in color from Sweden princess blue to dark navy or black. The most
coveted―and most expensive―is royal blue, right in the middle of the blue spectrum. If you’re
drawn to the royal blue sapphire but deterred by the price tag, camelot or commodore blue―one
shade lighter and darker than royal blue, respectively―make fine substitutes.

Another highly desired sapphire is an extraordinary orange/pink gem called padparadscha.
Padparadscha takes its name from the Sanskrit word padgma raga, meaning lotus flower.
Padparadscha sapphires are mainly found in Sri Lanka, as well as Madagascar and Tanzania.


Some experts insist that true padparadscha sapphires can originate only from Sri Lanka, which
for centuries was the only source of this coveted stone. Naturally produced padparadscha are one
of the rarest gems in the world, so elusive that collectors buy them as soon as they appear on the

Additionally, another fascinating corundum is the remarkable color-changing sapphire. The color
of this stone changes color based on the light source. Referred to as the chameleon of sapphires,
the stone will appear blue or violet under fluorescent light. In incandescent light, the color ranges
from violet purple to strongly reddish purple. Some rare color-change sapphires change from
green in daylight to reddish brown in incandescent light.

Another sapphire to consider is the pink sapphire. Ranging in color from medium pink to dark
purple, these gems bring a delightful pop of color and are well suited for romantic gestures.

Considered to be purest form of corundum is the white sapphire, also known as the colorless
sapphire. The closer corundum comes to having no color, the more valuable it is as a colorless
sapphire. Traces of extremely light gray, yellow, brown, and blue commonly occur, but they also
result in a reduction of value. Additionally, colorless sapphires are used as small accent stones in

Another sapphire to consider is the pink or purple sapphire. Ranging in color from medium pink
to dark purple, these gems bring a delightful pop of color and are well suited for romantic
gestures. Green sapphires provide an eye-catching option for jewelry that makes a statement.
Sapphires also come in yellow and orange hues, ranging from soft to vibrant color saturation.

Hue: Keep It Close with Color


Simply put, hue refers to the graduation or variety of the gemstone’s color. Gemstones are
usually referred to by their primary color, but most stones also contain a secondary layer of color
that affects its appearance. The most valuable sapphires are pure blue, with sapphires with a
slight purple tint as the next desired.

The most valuable gemstones are those that exhibit a pure color and only "slight" hues of other
colors in addition to their primary color, like the Blue Nile gemstones For example, Blue Nile
sapphires range in hue from "slightly purplish-blue" to "slightly greenish-blue.” Pink sapphires
usually range from "pink" to "slightly purplish-pink," and rubies range from "slightly orange-
red" to "slightly purple-red.” With the exception of opals, variation in a gemstone's hue will be
listed in the gemstone details on the product detail page.

If you envision the classic color wheel, the position of color runs from red, orange, yellow,
green, blue, and violet. White and black are considered achromatic, or without color. Generally,
people favor gems with blue, green, and red hues; hence our attraction to rubies, emeralds, and

Transparency: Let in the Light


The transparency of sapphires directly correlates to their brilliance. Fully transparent sapphires
allow the maximum light to pass through the gem, but they are also the most expensive option.
Semi-transparent stones have a very nice appearance, and they are a great option for those
operating on a budget. In contrast, opaque and semi-opaque gems allow no to little light to pass
through, rendering them an undesirable option.

Cut: Consider It Your Style Statement


Cut refers to the shape of the gemstone. Like all jewels, sapphires are cut to reveal their inherent
beauty and to maximize beauty. Since there are so many options, the choices in this category
depend on personal preference more than anything else. Each gemstone is unique, so a quality
gem cutter will shape each individual stone to best highlight its brilliance.

When choosing the preferred cut, it’s important to consider five factors: shape, cutting style,
proportion, synergy, and finish. Shape refers to the stone’s face-up shape, known professionally
as the girdle outline. Examples of this include familiar terms like round, oval, cushion, emerald,
and heart. The shape of the gems directly correlates to the shape of the gemstone in its original
shape. Desirable shapes for sapphires are oval and cushion. Round or emerald cut sapphires are
the most rare and can be quite expensive.

Cutting styles refer to the facet pattern, which is a matter of personal preference. For gems, the
term proportion refers to how the faceted cut reveals the brilliance and sparkle of the stone in a
proportionate way. Faceted stones have two components, the crown and pavilion. As the top part,
the crown is designed to capture the light for maximum sparkle. The pavilion also assists with
scintillation as well as the stone’s brilliance.

Well-cut sapphires will also contain correct and pleasing proportion, known as symmetry.
Sapphires that lack symmetry will reveal an obvious lack of attention and skill. Lastly, the finish
is the final polish that makes the gemstone look its vibrant best.

Origin and Price: A Lasting Value

It’s true that where a sapphire originates can affect the price, but there are many affordable
options for this lasting investment. Sapphires are found in many countries around the world, so a
sapphire based on where it originates is akin to buying a brand name. Sapphires mined in
Kashmir, Mogok, Burma, and Ceylon are usually top quality, and therefore the most expensive.

Luckily, sapphires from Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Australia, Malawi, and the United States provide great options for people with a budget in mind.


Sapphires present unrivaled value and quality in precious gemstones. They are very durable and ideal for everyday wear, much like diamonds. Gemstones are rated on their ability to withstand surface scratching using the Mohs Scale of Hardness. The Mohs Scale rates minerals specifically on their ability to withstand scratching and abrasions by other minerals.

A diamond, as the hardest mineral known, receives a 10. According to the Mohs Scale, sapphires
are a 9, indicating excellent hardness. In fact, the only natural gemstone that can scratch a
sapphire is a diamond. Sapphires are more affordable than diamonds and offer an infinite array
of style options.

Because sapphires offer so much variety, they are perfect for all kinds of jewelry. You can save
by buying loose, wholesale sapphires to create unique jewelry just for you.. Retailers have to
increase their prices tremendously to cover their overhead. A quality online store like Beads of
Cambay offers high quality, hand‐selected gemstone beads from trusted sources worldwide.

Where to Purchase: How to Choose a Reputable Dealer and Make a Friend for Life

It is important to work only with reputable jewelry dealers. Regardless of where you decide to shop (online, major retail chains, or local jewelry shops), make sure that you ask to see the official certification of any sapphire you consider buying. A legitimate jeweler will be able to present you with certification from the GIA or other official gemstone societies.

As any smart shopper known, a well-priced sapphire should be a reflection the quality of the
gemstone and the level of service offered by the retailer. By investing a little time, you’ll find the
right company that offers an array of vibrant gemstones with unparalleled customer experience.
The well-trained staff at Beads of Cambay has a deep knowledge of every product in their
inventory, and they provide graduate gemologists to answer any questions you may have.


Sapphires have captivated us for many centuries with their dazzling beauty and lustrous color.
They are extremely versatile and durable, making them the perfect choice for both investment
pieces and casual jewelry. No matter how you decide to wear them, you’ll be glad to have this
beauty in your collection.