WHAT MAKES SAPPHIRES VALUABLE?
Sapphires make up for one of the most elite brands of gemtones. While their value is frequently compared to that of diamond, there are a number of reasons why, in a number of cases, a beautifully cut natural sapphire will outweigh the price of a diamond.
To understand why sapphires have been appreciated for many millennia, it is important to consider a number of factors regarding them. Following this article, one can truly understand the importance of investing in wholesale sapphires.
Natural sapphires, although found all over the world are mined only in selected areas firstly because of the poor quality in most. If the mines are deemed unprofitable enough, the venture will be shut down. Secondly, most mines are located in conflict areas where legal mining will be avoided.
Therefore mining sapphire roughs of high quality is extremely limited and most of the historic mines like those in Kashmir, Ceylon and Burma are almost exhausted. The most valuable cornflower blue sapphire comes from Kashmir where it can be mined for only a few months in a year due to the harsh cold and also because it falls in a conflict area. However, genuine Kashmir cornflower blue sapphires are quite rare now. Another valuable sapphire type is the orange colored Padparadscha sapphire mined exclusively in artisanal mines in Sri Lanka. Therefore limited availability, minute quantities of highly saturated colors and presence of inclusions and impurities make both single stones and loose sapphires rare and valuable. Natural untreated sapphires are always a safe and valuable long term investment.
While most people instinctively associate sapphires with the blue color, sapphires actually come in a rainbow range of colors because corundum in any other color than red is classified as sapphires . Not just that, even within the blue spectrum, no two stones are alike and have a distinct grading system based on 3 factors:hue, saturation and tone; the best of which is the Kashmir sapphire which is termed as that with vivid saturation, velvet blue or royal blue color (due to fine silk or rutile needles), with a medium tone.
The color changing sapphire is another popular variety in the wholesale sapphire genre. One variety shows a change from blue color in natural light to violet color in artificial light. The Australian teal blue green sapphire is another color changing sapphire exhibiting peacock blue and green colors in different lights. From demure pastel pink to hot pinks, from the exotic orange pink Padparadshcha sapphire to the ultra modern space color, sapphires present a myriad of variety in terms of color.
Hardness and durability:
Just second in line after diamonds, sapphires are from the corundum family which make up for the second hardest natural substance on earth. With a 9 on the Moh Scale, sapphire is hard enough to be used as glass on watches as they are scratch resistant. By an extension of the same reasoning, sapphires do not tend to scratch or wear easily even when used daily. This is what makes them eternal and their value doesn’t decrease even after decades.
Another unique property exhibited by some sapphires is asterism. Also called the “cat’s eye effect” or the “star effect”, some of history’s most famous sapphires, exhibit this effect (Read more about it on our articles about “the history of sapphires.”) This star effect is due to the rutile inclusions in the hexagonal crystal matrix, which when properly arranged and dense enough can be cut into a cabochon displaying 5 to 12 rayed stars. Star sapphires are extremely popular due to their unique appearance and wholesale sapphire cabochons displaying this phenomenon always make for a great investment.
Synthetic v/s Natural:
Gemstone experts broke down the science of treating sapphires back in the 1900s. While most natural sapphires undergo a certain degree of enhancements, a perfectly natural sapphire without any defects is rare. Therefore if a sapphire looks too perfect, it might be synthetic!
Due to these reasons, we always recommend buying from reputed sellers, who can easily make the differentiation between artificial and natural sapphire. We also recommend getting your rough wholesale sapphire stock evaluated from such sources before purchase.
It is important to note that these points stand true not just while buying wholesale sapphires, but should also be kept in mind while buying any gemstone in general. A genuine gemstone retailer bases the value of the gemstone on not just the size, shape and carat but also on other discerning factors like area of origin, rarity, physical properties and more.