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How to Buy Sapphire


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Sapphires make stunning gifts for anyone born in September or celebrating a 5th or 45th wedding anniversary. Whatever your reason for buying sapphire, you can’t go wrong with this brilliant gemstone—whether you’re seeking classical blue or another shade of the sapphire rainbow.

Like diamonds, sapphires are assessed by the 4Cs—color, clarity, cut and carat size—in addition to country of origin. Any AGS jeweler can help you select the perfect sapphire.

Color is the key indicator of a sapphire’s price. The highest valued sapphires are vivid blue, sometimes with a violet hue. Secondary hues of green or gray detract from sapphire’s value.

Sapphires come in almost any color—except red, which is classified as ruby. Pinkish orange varieties are known as padparadscha, and these typically have higher per-carat values than other colors of fancy sapphire.

Some sapphires even exhibit color change, shifting from blue in daylight or fluorescent light to reddish purple under incandescent light—much like the color-changing alexandrite.

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Blue sapphires typically have better clarity than rubies, though they often have long, thin rutile inclusions called “silk.” Inclusions generally make gems less valuable, but they can actually increase the value of sapphires that exhibit asterism.

Blue sapphires can range in size from a few points to hundreds of carats. Most commercial-quality blue sapphires weigh less than five carats. Large blue sapphires, while rare, are more readily available than large rubies.

The 423-carat Logan Sapphire in the National Museum of Natural History is one of the largest faceted gem-quality blue sapphires ever found. The Star of Adam is the largest blue star sapphire, weighing 1404.49 carats.

Sapphires are often treated with heat to improve color and clarity. Untreated natural gems are somewhat rare and incredibly valuable.

Find an AGS jeweler in your area or learn more about other birthstones.