Yellow sapphire had been under the shadow of the world-acclaimed blue sapphires for a long time. It grabbed the attention of gem lovers and jewelry enthusiasts only recently as it can effectively work as a natural alternative for expensive yellow diamonds. A best quality yellow sapphire can closely match the characteristics of a yellow diamond without a doubt.
The newfound fame of the yellow sapphire is particularly attributable to the celebrity showoffs of their precious yellow diamond engagement rings. A much expensive, but quite magnificent stone, is not usually affordable for everyone. A vivid yellow diamond will cost more than 10,000 dollars per carat. Whereas a top-quality vivid yellow sapphire is at the range of 500 to 1,000 dollars per carat.
There is also a popular eastern astrological belief that wearing a yellow sapphire will bring in personal wellbeing. It is believed to enhance prosperity, enable happy marriage, and bring about strength and protection. So there’s no doubt why we are so hyped. Let’s see what we need to look for when finding the best quality yellow sapphire.
1. Look for Vivid Yellow
As with many gemstones, the color is the prime selection criteria that decides the price and perceived quality. Yellow sapphire belongs to the corundum family and pure corundum is always colorless. Iron impurities give the yellow shades to the corundum.
The yellow can range from very light to gold. Much darker and brownish shades are not the best color. The most favorable is the vivid yellow. Even the lighter stones tend to be highly-priced depending on the other factors described below.
2. Clarity and Cleanliness
Yellow sapphire rough has a comparatively high tendency for inclusions. Small bubble inclusions are quite common. At times these are visible to the naked eye even without flashing light. A standard jewelers loupe can identify the clouts and bubbles clearly when the stone is cut.
Gem cutters usually try to avoid getting the inclusions into the cut stone. However, f the inclusions happen to be somewhere close to the center of the stone, there’s no way to avoid it. Clear, clean, and transparent gemstones are always priced better. However, the inclusions are usually a telltale of a natural, untreated sapphire. Some of us like those inclusions to be on their ring stone that displays the flaws of nature.
3. Cut of the Yellow Sapphire
Yellow sapphires particularly must be cut to precision. Anything less than a perfect cut can give it a neutral and somewhat dull look. This is an inherent nature. Yellow sapphires are usually found in larger roughs therefore the cutters try to get the perfect cut which can potentially compromise the carat weight of the stone.
A buyer should particularly mindful of the light leaking or potential windowing effect due to a too shallow or a too deep cut. The brilliance and lively nature entirely depend on how precise the cut is.
Brilliant and cushion cuts are quite common for yellow sapphire. Bigger stones can potentially accommodate any fine cut as long as it accommodates the required depth and girdle angles. Therefore it is entirely up to your personal taste.
4. Carat Weight
As mentioned the yellows are frequently found in bigger rough sizes allowing the final product to be in higher carat weight. However, if and when the inclusions come in the way, the resulting stone can be of a lesser weight than it originally intended to be.
There is no hard and fast rule for the carat weight and it depends on your requirement. A ring setting can work perfectly with a fine 1-carat yellow sapphire. What’s important is the color, clarity, and brilliance resulted by the cut.
5. Origin of Yellow Sapphire
Sri Lanka is the biggest source of natural and unaltered yellow sapphire. They are also found in Madagascar, Tanzania, and Australia. Ceylon sapphires range from a very light color to golden yellow. Even the light color yellows can look awesome when the stone is transparent. Lighter colors yellow sapphires are abundant in Sri Lankan local rough market and usually sold at a lower price point than the vivid yellow.
Ceylon sapphires are usually highly sought after and with the pace, they are being found, most of the yellow sapphires in the international market are of Sri Lankan origin. However, this is not a necessity and it is mostly about the perceived value that comes with the origin that is always synonymous with quality gemstones.
6. Avoid Treated Yellow Sapphire When Possible
Historically the heat treatment was first commercially used by Thai gem dealers. Lighter and abundantly found cheaper yellows can be heat treated to enhance the color. Some of them are exposed to radium to intensify the color, these also known as irradiated yellows. Heat treatment is however to a greater extent now accepted in the international gem market when declared upfront.
However, some of the treated yellow sapphires are known to be having an unstable color center that can fade when exposed to natural light and warmth. Therefore it is good to avoid treated sapphires when possible.
7. Beware of the Synthetics
One might think the yellow synthetics are none existent when the natural form is abundantly found. Which is not true. There are many synthetic glass-filled and color diffused yellows in the market. Maybe not so much as blue sapphires or rubies, but you cannot entirely rule out the fact.
Originally colorless synthetic sapphire can be diffused to create the apparent yellow color. Such color diffused sapphire will exhibit its color only on its surface and the center will still be colorless. Very cheap yellows with cavities and fractures are also glass filled to perfection. You should look for the telltale signs of fake sapphires to find a real stone. You can also rely on an independent certificate that validates the authenticity.
The above criteria can decide on the best quality yellow sapphire to a greater extent. Some of the apparent qualities like color and clarity can be adjusted to personal liking. However, if you plan to resell in the future, it is always better to buy what’s recommended.
When you find a good one, this unique and rare stone can look good on any setting and material. If you believe in astrology, wearing a yellow sapphire will bring in confidence and strength to your life. Another reason to go and find the best quality yellow sapphire.
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