The Red, White and Blue

July 2009


The month of July always brings to mind images of fireworks and the flag. And three of the four most precious gemstones happen to be…red, white and blue.

My specialty and favorite is diamonds, but a very close second in favorites is rubies. Then again, a gorgeous sapphire that is Ceylon in origin will always make my heart skip a beat. In case you’re in the market for any or all of the three, here are some of my thoughts:


The more vibrant the red, the clearer the stone, the larger the carat weight, the better. Rubies and sapphires are actually both from the corundum family of gemstones, and so there are some pinkish rubies which fall on the cusp of being red/pink sapphires and pinkish rubies. The trick with a ruby is to find a true red stone that is clear. The right shade of red is not easy to come by, but one with exceptional clarity will bump up the price of a stone considerably. It’s easy to get a large, muddy stone that’s red. That’s the kind of ruby everyone’s used to seeing. Find a truly beautiful ruby, and many people will ask you what it is because they’ve never had the pleasure of seeing a high quality stone.


Generally speaking, the whiter, the clearer, the larger, the better. In the case of an engagement ring, unless you are buying a low color (J and below), stay away from fluorescence. The same rules that apply for an engagement ring diamond do not apply for earrings. For an engagement ring, it’s smarter to pay for clarity. People will look down directly into an engagement ring but when was the last time they were so close to your ears they could see clearly into a stone?  What they will notice is the amount of light coming off your ear, which is a reflection on the color of a stone. A good rule of thumb for earrings is to shoot for SI and above in clarity and F grade and above in color.


You have your choice of every color of the rainbow here. The most popular, of course, is blue. There is a popular misconception that the darker a sapphire is, the more valuable it is. That is absolutely not true. The most valuable sapphires are the Kashmir sapphires, which are no longer mined and only available on the secondary market. Next in line are the Ceylon sapphires. They are a bright, vibrant blue. Any sapphire worth its salt should not have any visible inclusions to the naked eye.

Whatever stones you purchase, may you have a great experience, and may all the fireworks in your life be joyful!

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