A sapphire engagement ring is no longer considered as nontraditional and strange. Many people are searching for alternatives to a diamond for their engagement ring. While each has his own reason for doing this, common reasons include the controversy surrounding the conflict diamonds, the hefty price of a diamond and the desire to stand out from the crowd.
Buying a sapphire may solve all of the issues one could have with a diamond purchase.
How Sapphire Engagement Rings Gained Popularity
It is not known who was the first to choose a sapphire as an alternative to a diamond engagement ring. However, it is known who was the most significant in the modern time. In her book, The Queen’s Jewels: The Personal Collection of Queen Elizabeth II, Leslie Field states that the Royal family has a history of giving sapphire for engagement rings. The latest being Prince Charles who “gave Lady Diana Spencer a large oval sapphire chosen from a tray of rings. (According to reports, Lady Diana said it was not the largest in the selection.)” While Rubies are said to be the King of stones, Sapphires are known as stones of Kings.
Sapphires come in many colors, including blue or Royal Blue. The color of best Sapphires is referred to as Kashmir; which is sometimes called cornflower blue, it is medium in tone and intense in saturation. When saying Sapphire one refers to blue sapphire, Ruby is a red sapphire, Padparadscha is pink with orange overtones and all other colors are referred to as “color” sapphire.
Where Do Sapphires Come From?
Sapphires are found in many places. The most valuable are from Kashmir, which is up in the Himalayan Mountains in the region disputed between India and Pakistan. Other producers are the USA, Sri Lanka or Ceylon, Madagascar, Africa (Tanzania), Thailand and Cambodia. Ceylon sapphires are popular because of the lighter colors which where produced and sold in the USA in the early 1900.
The Sapphire’s Value
According to Gary Roskin’s article called “Sapphire” in JCKonline, part of the world’s finest sapphires are found in the United States. Mines in Montana produce near-equivalents of Kashmir’s cornflower blues.
They are known as Yogo sapphires, named after the mine where they are mined. The value of Kashmir and Yogo sapphires can be as much as three times that of other sapphires according to Roskin. He recommends viewing the stone before purchase as some stones labeled “Kashmir” will not posses the cornflower blue color which gives sapphire its value.
It is stated that 99% of sapphires are treated, most are heated. When pricing sapphires The Guide, which is a price guide published each year for diamonds and color stones, assumes that sapphires have been treated. If the color is natural, the price is much higher.
Those interested may find the latest prices at JCKonline.com. Sapphires can range in price due to the quality and place of origin. One can expect to pay from as little as $500 per carat to as much as $5000 per carat for finer qualities. For a good quality stone one can expect to pay $2500 per carat, which is still less then half of what an average diamond costs.