Sapphire Grading Systems – Tips to Chose the Right Gemstone
People wear sapphire for many reasons. It is treasured for its natural beauty and the various spiritual and emotional benefits it is believed to offer. The precious stone is believed to help soothe your mind and enables you to focus. It is considered to help in the release of energies associated with mental and emotional stress, giving you clarity of thought. Sapphire helps in encouraging the opening of the mind, healing you gain wisdom and feel joyous. You can wear it on your Engagement ring or necklace or any other jewelry. But there are different grading systems used for calibrating the quality of this precious stone.
Under this system, sapphires are graded according to ranks – AAA, AA, and A.
This grade comprises of the top 10 percent of natural sapphires. They will typically have intermediate blue color, and are used for making fine jewelry.
This grade forms the top 20 to 30 percent of natural sapphires. These stones are known for their mid-level blue color. The gemstones are commonly used for making fine jewelry.
These types of stones form over 50 percent of natural sapphires. They are recognized by their dark blue, opaque hues.
Sapphires can have inclusions and if you can easily notice them, this reduces their value. If the stone is clear and you can’t see anything in it, it is a rare very sapphire and will cost more. Blue sapphires will usually have some kind of inclusions. Despite that they will usually have better clarity compared to rubies. If your budget allows it, look for blue sapphires with high level of clarity. They are very rare and are expensive. The following are the common terms related to the clarity of sapphires:
- Concaves – These are natural marks on the surface of the stone, which form when the crystal is being formed. Usually, they form on the girdle and don't interfere with the brilliance of the stone.
- Eye Grade – This is an evaluation of the clarity of sapphire, when they are viewed without any magnification.
- Loupe Grade – This is another form of evaluation of sapphire where the clarity is checked under 10 times magnification.
- Transparency – This is the relative ability of the sapphire in transmitting light.
Types of Inclusions
Sapphires can have different types of inclusions. Needles are long and thin mineral depositions. These inclusions are referred to as silk when they are very fine. Some of the other clarity elements in this gemstone include mineral crystals and partly healed breaks that seem to be fingerprints, color banding or color zoning.
Silk inclusions are long and thin and form intersections within sapphire. They are also known to form the star effect. Keep in mind that the price of the stone can drop if there are more inclusions. This is because higher amount of inclusions affect the stability of the stone. On the other hand, some form of inclusions can even increase the value of a sapphire. Especially, the inclusions that provide a velvet appearance are valued more because they cause light scattering without causing any effect on the transparency of the stone. The star effect is also referred to as asterism. It occurs when light reflects from the fine needles! So keep these points in mind when you want to choose the right sapphire for your jewelry.