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Old Camperm
 
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Sapphire Shopping
Quote this post and reply to it Post#1 @ 08-24-10 , 07:38 PM


I decided I want an Engagement Ring with a blue sapphire as the center stone with a diamond on each side but driving around to local independent jewler's I have found a distinct lack of selection. I am looking for a center stone on the magnitude of 3-4cts. Lots of .5-1.5ct options but very few if any quality stones in the size i want.

So they each offer to bring some better stones in but as sapphires have no easy way to quantify the differences I am having a hard time comparing them especially when they tell me a 3-4ct stones of the quality I am looking for will range from 5-15K which seems hard to correctly comparison shop against.

I was also considering possibly just ordering a stone online where they have ton's of stones compared side by side.

So if anyone has suggestions on how to best shop for this or good places to look I would appreciate input. (I live in a metro area and have plenty of options to shop around)

Speaking of which if I am dealing with a 10-15 person independent jeweler who knows I am shopping around is it still typical to haggle? They seem trustworthy but I am just curious if they would still be high balling the price figuring I would haggle.

Thanks!

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Re: Sapphire Shopping
Quote this post and reply to it Post#2 @ 08-24-10 , 09:22 PM


Quote:
Originally Posted by Camperm
They seem trustworthy but I am just curious if they would still be high balling the price figuring I would haggle.



Highballing ? What would you consider highballing ? If it's a B&M shop they typically need at least a 50% gross margin or better to continue in business. If you're looking for and pressing to get, the lowest price you may not end up with what you really want. In any case there are so many variables in sapphire pricing that it's impossible to say what a stone should cost without having it one's hand. For instance an unheated stone may cost 30% to 50% more than a heated stone of similar color. Color, by the way is what drives about 70% of the cost in sapphire with little variations having huge effects on cost. A nice heated sapphire at 4 carats can easily cost $2000 per carat and an unheated one a lot more. Do want unheated or does it matter ? What shade of blue are you after ? How much does cut quality and clarity matter to you ? What shape do you want, (oval being the most common by a long shot)?

I'd suggest getting a very good idea of what you want and then approach your local guy about it, particularly if they are willing to get the goods in for you to look at. Trying to tell what you're looking at online via pictures is really close to impossible and if you don't know and trust the sellers description, you could be looking at, and sending back, a lot of stones before you find the one you want to keep.


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Re: Sapphire Shopping
Quote this post and reply to it Post#3 @ 08-25-10 , 04:58 PM


Thanks for the reply! by Highballing I didn't mean without margin. Just trying to get a feeling for how smaller shops would typically operate. Was curious if it is assumed I am going to negotiate with them driving them to start significantly high. Obviously any small business can wiggle a few percent here or there, but more meant if it's the sort of situation they expect negotiating and throw in an extra 20% above what they need to be profitable.

I am looking at/for heated oval royal blue color that has good Clarity and Cut, I did see a smaller specimen where some cloudiness dulled the stone. I actually just got back from one place where they had a 4ct 10.9x9mm and a 3 ct 9x7 where the big one was quoted around 2400/ct and the 3ct at 1750/ct as he said it was small surface area despite the weight.

The 3 places I have checked out have only had 4 stones between them in the ballpark of what I am looking for (2 of which were brought in ahead of my visit). So far I have been underwhelmed by the variety and hesitent when they are throwing out prices for certain stones.

So it sounds like you are confirming my experience about online sites being impossible to compare against. For in person shopping, would you suggest going around to lots of different places? or just push a single place to keep bringing in stones meeting my criteria?

I live in Washington DC and have plenty of places to choose from but again so far haven't seen much selection; other than the smithsonian gem exhibit =).

Saying that, I do travel quite a bit if you think I could find better sapphire selection elsewhere?

Last edited by Camperm : 08-25-10 at 05:01 PM.
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Re: Sapphire Shopping
Quote this post and reply to it Post#4 @ 08-25-10 , 08:50 PM


The problem with buying any nice colored gem is that they are very expensive AND most jewelers focus on diamonds since that is where they have traditionally garnered their greatest income. A recent trend among the jewelers who been able to remain in business is to not hold on to any inventoried goods past a year or so. Because of this you will find that most jewelers, no matter where you go, will only have a small number, (1 or 2 at a better shop), of nice sapphires on hand and then will just order in whatever a client wants as required. This gives you the choice of travelling to an area which has a large number of jewelers in one location, (New York and L.A. come to mind), having the folks near you get pieces in for you to look at or buying on the 'net.

Travelling is fine, but I'd make some calls and see who has what prior to making a long trip. Having a local jeweler find something makes the most sense, mostly because you can go through the routine a couple of times at a lower expense. Buying on the 'net is fine, but I would suggest looking at what some of the vendors have to offer. I know Jan and Brad at DBOF and Brian Knox have shown some very nice sapphires in the past.

I'd love to help you, but I work off of the inventory of a small number of wholesalers and generally pick stones which I recut so that they look better. The downside is that there are many variables in re-cutting and I can never be 100% accurate in my estimation of how the finished result will look in terms of color. Because of the variables I have a very hard time in convincing anyone to take the risk of this up front and so usually do this a few times a years as a speculative venture on my part. The recent economic fears have also reduced my appetite for doing this and so I'm clean out of larger stones to show anyone, unless you'd like to see the lousy pictures that the suppliers send.

Oh, I do know one place that's a bit on the upper end of the price scale, but they do have great pictures and have always been spot on for me. That place is Pala Gems in California. Here's a link: Pala Gems
I just went an looked....not much there. The one shown here would be about $10K and is a bit shallow and so a bit windowed. That's why it shows the color zoning like it does. IN contrast the picture of an extremely blue oval is from a wholesaler whose stones have always been better than their images. That stone weighs a touch over 3 carats and would cost a bit over $6K. It's already well cut and probably a better deal of the two. This is just to give you an idea of what can be had. Check out Pala, great pictures !


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Last edited by Michael_E : 08-25-10 at 08:51 PM.
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Re: Sapphire Shopping
Quote this post and reply to it Post#5 @ 08-26-10 , 11:09 AM


We have some on our site as well.

http://www.finegemcollection.com /index.php?client=6

Here is an example of a 3.73 ct. oval that we have available. This one is non heated with an AGTA report.

We have quite a few others in that size range as well.


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Last edited by Jan : 08-26-10 at 11:13 AM.
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Re: Sapphire Shopping
Quote this post and reply to it Post#6 @ 08-31-10 , 02:57 AM


Hi Camperm!

Welcome!

And I think your e-ring idea is wonderful!
You can check out Buy section, "Gemstones" Category (BrianKnox got some really beautiful gemstones) or

maybe you can create your 'Dream E-ring' at

http://www.pandora.net/en-US/jewell...phire/150107PSA

or DBOF.



Cheers!

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Sapphire Shopping as well!
Quote this post and reply to it Post#7 @ 09-01-10 , 10:28 PM


Hi Jan,

I finally got through the maze with Tacori.. It didn't workout as I planned but it's OK for now.. I'm now on the quest for a 2ct yellow or medium blue sapphire..

I was thinking pear or princess... All suggestions would be appreciated.


Sherrie

P.S.
I hope I attached the photo correctly..

Last edited by smg40 : 09-01-10 at 10:36 PM.
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smg40
Quote this post and reply to it Post#8 @ 09-02-10 , 11:07 AM


Wow! gorgeous rings!
I hope you can post a pic wearing these blings! It's so pretty!

I think a pear cut, medium blue sapphire would be marvelous.
And as you know it depends on the setting, and consider the having side stones as well.

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Re: Sapphire Shopping
Quote this post and reply to it Post#9 @ 09-02-10 , 09:40 PM


Hello Camperm there apear to be many opinions on the subject of buying a sapphire. I have been an avid collector for many years now and can tell you that heated or not is no longer an issue as the only report you will recieve from any top valuation centre including the GIA Colored Gem Sector will state
"No evidence of heat treatment" for a gem that apears natural,this means in lay terms that heat can no longer be ruled in or out without visible evidence being present to make the observation from, and in most cases with top Gems there is no evidence left if the process of heat treatment is done corectly.Go with a Gem that you have held and above all makes you look into it further with intrigue and desire, as this is how a good sapphire should be viewed. This always works for me and I have never been dissapointed. Even with all the training Practical and Theoretical my emotion still takes over where all else fails. Look at a couple of my favourite Sapphires that are straight from the ground you will see what I mean about speaking for themselves even without cutting.

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Re: Sapphire Shopping
Quote this post and reply to it Post#10 @ 09-14-10 , 01:18 AM


its nice:-)


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Re: Sapphire Shopping
Quote this post and reply to it Post#11 @ 09-14-10 , 07:46 PM


Yes even at twice the price.

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