Yellow Sapphire Grading
How are Yellow Sapphires Graded?
Unlike diamonds, sapphires don't have a standardized grading system. However, they do have certain aspects that jewelers and gem graders will assess. As holds true for other "fancy sapphires," which are stones in any color other than blue, yellow sapphires are graded on the four C's with particular attention to color and clarity.
When choosing a yellow sapphire, color is often the most critical aspect. Unlike diamonds, the gem's price isn't strongly linked to carat weight. Instead, you should look for a stone that possesses a rich canary-yellow color. Sapphires with undesirable tones, such as too dark to too pale, can be less valuable.
This is especially true if they also possess different hues or other colors. Commonly, yellow sapphire can have shades of orange or green, and these specimens are often avoided. Finally, when considering a yellow sapphire, pay attention to saturation. Saturation refers to how intense the coloring is. Pure yellow sapphires with saturation that makes them appear vivid and bright are the most sought-after. Many sapphires are heat treated to enhance their color. Finding a natural, non-treated canary-yellow sapphire is quite rare.
Almost all yellow sapphires have some sort of inclusion. Most commonly, you'll see rutile needles. These are long, thin tubes created by another mineral forming inside the sapphire. The most important consideration for clarity is whether or not the stone is eye-clean. An eye-clean gem will show no inclusions when viewed without magnification. You typically only want to choose an eye-clean gem for fine jewelry. Under magnification, a natural yellow sapphire should have some inclusions; without them, authenticity becomes questionable. Standard inclusions aside from rutile needles include.
- Feathers: an internal crack
- Pinpoint: an extremely tiny cluster of mineral crystals trapped inside
- Negative crystals: small dots of foreign material trapped inside the stone
Yellow sapphires are unlike diamonds in that there are no standardized cuts that affect value. These stones come in many cuts and shapes. The end result is often a product of the gem cutter choosing the best shape and cutting for the particular stone's color while eliminating apparent inclusions. The most popular shapes for yellow sapphire are round, oval, cushion, and emerald.
Sapphires are interesting because they're a little denser than diamonds. Meaning that a one-carat yellow sapphire will be a bit smaller than a one-carat diamond. As a result, you may want to pay closer attention to the dimensions of the stone than the carat weight. Yellow sapphires come in various sizes, and the price isn't strongly correlated to carat weight. Of course, the larger the stone, the more the price tends to increase. However, a low-quality sapphire of a high-carat weight can cost just as much as a smaller-carat weight stone of stunning quality.
Yellow Sapphire Grading Chart
Yellow sapphire grading isn't as straightforward as diamonds because there is no standardization for clarity, cut, and color. Instead, sapphires are given the following quality grades based on their characteristics.
- Good: darker yellow color caused by a more opaque stone that blocks light from passing through. Entry level to be set in fine jewelry.
- Better: a more vibrant yellow but still with slight gray undertones, allowing more light to pass through, but still a limited amount. Not eye-clean, possessing small natural inclusions.
- Best: rich yellow with very few minor inclusions. Cut for excellent brilliance, allowing light to pass through. Amazing value for the quality.
- Heirloom: Well-saturated, vivid yellow. High brilliance in all light environments. Eye-clean and cut exceptionally well to optimize color and brilliance.
Yellow Sapphire Pricing
Depending on the grade given, yellow sapphires can range from under $50 per carat to over $500. However, in general, they are quite affordable and certainly less expensive than yellow diamonds. Natural, canary yellow sapphires that have not been heat treated command the highest price.
Why Pick a Yellow Sapphire?
If you're looking for a lovely yellow stone, a yellow sapphire can't be beaten. They're similar to yellow diamonds but for a much more affordable price. Additionally, they're still relatively strong and durable, ranking at a 9 on the Mohs scale. Their toughness makes them a great choice for everyday jewelry, like an engagement ring. These gems also are associated with knowledge, power, and wealth, making them an auspicious stone for spiritual wearers of yellow sapphire. Overall, a yellow sapphire would make a bright and lively addition to your jewelry!
Yellow sapphire is not an expensive gem, costing much less than yellow diamonds.
Look for a medium, vibrant canary yellow gem if you want the best yellow sapphire color.
Yellow sapphire ranks a 9 on the Mohs scale compared to a diamond's 10, making it a durable gem.