I see a lot of people asking in online forums about sapphires, their prices, and if sapphires are more expensive than diamonds or not.
If you have the same question, then stick till the end, you’ll find a detailed answer to your question.
However here is a quick answer if you are in a hurry.
Most of the time, Sapphires are not more expensive than diamonds. Diamonds are generally priced higher than sapphires, but some very rare sapphires can be more valuable than diamonds. So, in general, a two-carat diamond will be more expensive than a two-carat sapphire.
Now let’s proceed towards the details.
Which is More Expensive, Sapphire or Diamond?
Well, “It depends”
I know that is a frustrating answer but I want to make it clear right in the beginning of the article. There is no one fits all size answer to this question. You’ll find a lot of reasons and factors I’ll explain which determine the worth of a sapphire.
What determines the Price of A Sapphire?
The most important factor determining the price of sapphire is its color. However, like with most gemstones, the 4 C criteria of Color, Cut, Clarity, and Carat Weight is used to determine the overall price of a sapphire.
All these are taken into account while calculating the price of sapphire, but the most important thing ‘is the color of the sapphire. I’ll discuss them one by one.
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How Color Determines the Value of a Sapphire?
Sapphires occur naturally in a variety of colors. Blue is the most well-known color of sapphires but they can also be colorless, black, pink, or gray.
There are three terms used to describe the color of a sapphire. Hue, tone and saturation.
Hue refers to the color of the sapphire. A sapphire can have a blue, orange, green yellow and pink hue.
The tone of a sapphire means how bright or intense is the hue of a sapphire. Sapphire that are too bright or too dark are generally less valuable, however, it’s a personal taste.
Saturation can in simple words be described as the ‘Purity’ of the hue. A highly saturated sapphire has a very pure color. As soon as the basic color of a sapphire is tempered by gray or black colors, the saturation decreases proportionally.
The higher the saturation, the greater is the value of a sapphire
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Which Color Sapphires are Most Expensive?
Pure Blue colored sapphires are the most expensive. Among blue sapphire, the most valuable are those with a violet-blue hue, medium tone, and vivid saturation.
As the saturation of the sapphire decreases or the color becomes too dark or too light, the price of the sapphire decreases.
Sapphires with colors other than blue are called “fancy” sapphires. Fancy sapphires exist in green, orange, yellow, and purple hues.
Among the fancy sapphires, pink sapphires are the most expensive. Pink sapphires are also called padparadscha. The pinkish hue is proportional to the amount of Chromium in the sapphire. The higher the saturation of the pink sapphires, the more expensive and valuable they are.
Sapphire which exhibits two or more colors is called particolored sapphires. These are very rare and are not used in jewelry.
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How Size/weight Effects a Sapphire’s Value
The total value of a sapphire increases exponentially with the increase in weight.
A 10-carat sapphire will cost more per carat than a 5-carat sapphire of the same quality. This is because larger sapphires are rarer than smaller ones.
How Clarity Effects the Value of a Sapphire
Clarity is affected by the number of inclusions and flaws in the sapphire. Inclusions are commonly found in most sapphire, but as the percentage of the inclusions increase, the value of the sapphire decreases proportionally.
However, at time these inclusions can create certain patterns in the color of the sapphire, that looks great. This can in turn increase the price if the sapphire.
Origin and Value of A Sapphire
Although origin has nothing to do with quality, still sapphires from certain areas of the world have a greater demand than others.
Most well-known and expensive sapphires come from Kashmir Valley. However, sapphires from regions like Sri Lanka and Burma are also good.
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Price of Treated vs Untreated Sapphire
The treatment has a significant effect on the value of a sapphire. It is done to improve the appearance of the gemstone. Treatment usually involves the filling of any fractures, irradiation, and heating under high temperature and pressure
However, as a rule of thumb, untreated sapphires are more expensive and valuable than the treated ones.
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Are Sapphires Rarer Than Diamonds
Yes, some sapphires are much rarer than diamonds. These are prices much higher than diamonds. Examples include few Kashmiri sapphires with rutile inclusions and most large sapphires.
However, most low quality and small-sized sapphire are found commonly and are less valuable than diamonds.
So, we can say that some sapphires are rarer than diamonds, but most aren’t.
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Is Blue Sapphire More Expensive Than Diamond?
No, most of the times a blue sapphire is slightly cheaper than diamond.
A high-quality blue sapphire would cost you around $800-$1200 per carat while you can get a sapphire with a decent quality for around $300-$600, while a high-quality diamond usually has a price ranging from $1500-$15000 per carat.
However, it also depends on the market demand of the sapphire at that particular time. For example, according to Wikipedia, a 12 carat Kashmiri sapphire was sold for $ 193,975 per carat 2014 in Hong Kong.
Sapphires are almost always cheaper than diamonds. The high-end sapphires cost around $2000-$3000 per carat while high-end diamonds can cost you $6000-$10000 per carat.
You might find diamond and sapphire rings to have similar price, but that’s because sapphires used in rings are much larger than diamonds.
Although sapphires are quite tough and durable, they can never reach diamonds in that regard. So the higher price for diamonds makes sense.