Gold Sheen Sapphire Price Update – 2019

Prices for gold sheen sapphire have remained relatively constant over the last 12 months. The 2019 price chart and price reporting has been updated to bring it into line with the gold sheen sapphire grading system developed by T.M. Malik and S. Waddington.  The most notable change is the inclusion of the “commercial” grade to meet a market price point under $100 per carat.

The first half of the year saw prices ease, most likely as a result of general market conditions. However prices recovered somewhat in the latter half, sales from September shows (Bangkok and Hong Kong) reported as good, despite very unfavourable conditions in Hong Kong.

New cuttings of “exceptional” grade material were premiered at the September Bangkok Gem and Jewelry show and were readily sought by Japanese, Chinese, and European buyers.

Gold Sheen Sapphire carat price 2019
Gold Sheen Sapphire carat price 2019

Observed prices for Commercial grade stones were seen to range from $35 to $75 per carat. Good to Very Good Grade sales were reported ranging from $85 to $200, while Fine and Very Fine grade showed a wide variation with prices negotiated from $235 to $600 per carat for single, very fine grade collectors pieces.

The most marked variation was for Exceptional grade stones ranging from $800 to “over $1,500” reported in one case.

gold sheen sapphire exceptional colours
Exceptional grade Gold Sheen Sapphire displaying translucency and colour variations. Photo T.K. Malik 2019.

For more information on Gold Sheen Sapphire, see my information page here: https://sjwgems.com/gold-sheen-sapphire/

The Difference Between Gold Sheen Sapphire and other Corundum Varieties

What is Gold Sheen Sapphire, and why is it different from other varieties of corundum?

This is an important question because gold sheen sapphire can sell for $1,000 per carat or more, yet a Google search can reveal gems claimed to be gold sheen for under $10 per carat. Like separating any natural gem from its simulants, price is the first indicator that lets the buyer know the seller might be less than honestly describing the product.

Gold sheen sapphire is an industry recognised unique variety of corundum that came to prominence with an report in the Journal of Gemmology in 2015[1] and subsequent additional investigation by other gemological labs, including the Gemological Institute of America[2].  Major gem labs have independently tested gold sheen sapphire, and reached similar conditions. These include some of the most prestigious gemological laboratories, and the most respected gemologists in the world – no less than the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand[3], Lotus Gemology[4], Gem Research Swisslab[5], the Asian Gem Laboratory[6], the Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences[7], and the Gemological Institute of America[8].

T. N. Bui et al of Gem-A[1], T. Thanapong et al of the Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand[9], and W. Soonthorntanikul et al of the GIA[10], in independently assessing gold sheen sapphire differentiate it from other corundum varieties due to “… the golden sheen (set II) stones seemed to contain much higher amounts of platelets and needles intersecting in three crystallographic directions than those in the non-sheen (I) set”[11]. Which is to say, gold sheen sapphire is unique due to high amounts of microscopic platelets and needles that are not present in that quantity in other varieties of corundum. Therefore, as with identifying many types of gemstone, microscopic inspection is key to differentiating gold sheen sapphire from other varieties. However, since the abundant microscopic inclusions are responsible for the overall visual effect, the result is to produce a schiller or sheen that is obvious to the naked eye.

T. Thanapong et al also write “…  the combination of plentiful occurrence of exsolved reddish brown platelets plus short needles in three crystallographic directions in the basal pinacoid of sapphire is responsible for golden sheen star effects found in the set II samples”[11]. Meaning that all gold sheen sapphire should exhibit asterism in the form of a ‘golden star’.  This can easily be checked with any cabochon cut stone, and also for any faceted stone using the ‘water drop’ method to reveal its potential asterism.

The photo below illustrates the asterism and to some degree the sheen effect in gold sheen sapphire. Evident also are colour variations and translucency that further separate the variety and increase its value with buyers.

asterisim and colour variation in gold sheen sapphire - photo by TK Malik 2019
Asterisim and colour variation in gold sheen sapphire – photo by TK Malik 2019

In conclusion, both observation of an obvious sheen or schiller in the gem, combined with golden star asterism will enable the separation of gold sheen sapphire from other varieties.

References:

[1]  Bui T.N., T.N.; Deliousi, K.; Malik T.K., T.K.; De Corte, K. (2015). “From exsolution to ‘gold sheen’: A new variety of corundum” (https://gem-a.com/education/resources/application-and-downloads/syllabus/3250- from-exsolution-to-gold-sheen-a-new-variety-of-corundum-journal-of-gemmology-34-8-678-691/). Journal of Gemmology. 34 (8): 678–691.
[2] Update on Spectroscopy of “Gold Sheen” Sapphires Wasura Soonthorntantikul, Ungkhana Atikarnsakul, and Vararut Weeramonkhonlert https://www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/winter-2016-labnotes-update-spectroscopy-gold-sheen-sapphires
[3] GIT Gem Identification Report 150128130002
[4] Lotus GEMology reports No. 3350-0421, 3649-6150, 1317-8984
[5] GRS Gemstone Report No. GIRS2015-016808
[6] AGL Laboratory Report No. 0009471
[7] AIGS Gemstone Identification Report No. GF17092148
[8] GIA Gemological Reports 6222086838, 5223094814, 1229094877, 3225094890
[9] Nalin Narudeesombat, Saengthip Saengbuangamlam, Thanapong Lhuaamporn and Thanong Leelawatanasuk (2016). “Golden Sheen and Non-Sheen Sapphires from Kenya” (PDF). The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (Public Organization), Bangkok, 10500, Thailand. July–August 2016: 283–284
[10] Update on Spectroscopy of “Gold Sheen” Sapphires Wasura Soonthorntantikul, Ungkhana Atikarnsakul, and Vararut Weeramonkhonlert https://www.gia.edu/gems-gemology/winter-2016-labnotes-update-spectroscopy-gold-sheen-sapphires
[11] Nalin Narudeesombat, Saengthip Saengbuangamlam, Thanapong Lhuaamporn and Thanong Leelawatanasuk (2016). “Golden Sheen and Non-Sheen Sapphires from Kenya” (PDF). The Gem and Jewelry Institute of Thailand (Public Organization), Bangkok, 10500, Thailand. July–August 2016: p. 284

Gold Sheen Sapphire Price Update April 2018

This update for Gold Sheen Sapphire pricing uses sales price point data from Tucson, Hong Kong and Bangkok exhibitions, as well as shop front sales from January to April 2018.

Gold Sheen Sapphire Price History 1st Half 2018

Prices have increased for all grades, most notably for grade 1 and 2. Increased pricing was a result of strong interest from Japanese buyers, which flowed over to grade 2 pricing as well. Grade three pricing was a more general result of broad buyer interest.  Most notably highest quality pieces reached $1,000 per carat – a significant milestone for Gold Sheen Sapphire.

If you would like information about how to invest in Gold Sheen Sapphire you can visit our wholesale page: https://sjwgems.com/wholesale/ or email gss@sjwgems.com.

 

FIG Recognises Gold Sheen Sapphire

The Federated International GemLab SA in association with the International Colored Gemstone Association now recognises Gold Sheen Sapphire as a unique variety of corundum.

Six certificates were issued by the FIG Bangkok office on 20th November.

Gold Sheen Sapphire Certificate
Gold Sheen Sapphire FIG Certificate No. 2114612414
Gold Sheen Sapphire FIG Certificate No. 8918910210
Gold Sheen Sapphire FIG Certificate No. 8918910210
Gold Sheen Sapphire FIG Certificate No. 1281405425
Gold Sheen Sapphire FIG Certificate No. 1281405425
Gold Sheen Sapphire FIG Certificate No. 2071339944
Gold Sheen Sapphire FIG Certificate No. 2071339944
Gold Sheen Sapphire FIG Certificate No. 1022212017
Gold Sheen Sapphire FIG Certificate No. 1022212017

 

Gold Sheen Sapphire Price Update 2nd Half 2017

This is the price update for Gold Sheen Sapphire for the 2nd half of 2017. It covers the reported sale prices from the September Hong Kong and Bangkok Gem and Jewelry Trade Fairs.

I have made the following changes to the chart layout:

  • Removed ‘Sell’ and ‘Buy’ prices 
  • ‘Street’ is now ‘Trade Price’
  • Reporting periods are now half yearly, not quarterly. 
  • Added ‘5 Point Moving Average’ price

Since price data comes principally from major trade fairs, ‘Trade Price’ of pieces sold is a more reliable indicator of current price. There are enough data points now to give a meaningful moving average, this should provide a good trend indicator for the future price.

Gold Sheen Sapphire price 2nd half 17
Gold Sheen Sapphire price 2nd half 2017

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New Diamond Cut Gold Sheen Sapphire

New Gold Sheen Sapphire ‘diamond cut’ direct from the factory from carefully selected highest grade rough.

Diamond Cut Gold Sheen Sapphire
Diamond Cut Gold Sheen Sapphire

After careful selection of the rough, about 10% of material is suitable for this high grade faceting. Once faceted, only one or two pieces in 10 make this selection. Most pieces show colour change from metallic copper/gold in incandescent light to blue/green in natural light.

Translucent Gold Sheen Sapphire diamond cut
Translucent Gold Sheen Sapphire diamond cut

While most pieces come opaque, typical of Gold Sheen Sapphire, about 20% come as translucent with yellow, green/yellow and gold hues.

All are available in all calibrated sizes from 3mm to 10mm, or can be cut to order.

Movement in Gold Sheen Sapphire Price

The first and second quarter of 2017 have seen some interesting movement on the price of gold sheen sapphire.

Gold Sheen Sapphire Carat Price Q2 2017 Update
Gold Sheen Sapphire Carat Price Q2 2017 Update

The price for top grade stones has increased slightly in Q1 and remains stable though Q2. Meanwhile prices for all other grades took a dip in Q1 and remain constant in Q2, with the exception of the street price of grade 2 stones which improved in Q2.

It seems clear that the market is becoming more discerning, reflected in the willingness to pay for best quality material. The trend has been for increasing sales from repeat buyers, which have exceeded reported sales from first time buyers for the first time in Q1, and continuing into Q2. This is further reflected in the price drop of lowest grade material, where buyers have been able to negotiate pricing based on large volume orders.

Special promotions for new cutting and polishing techniques as well as the introduction of new cut types and increased presence at trade shows have all contributed to fluctuations in mid to high grade pricing.

Price Chart Key:

  • Grade 1 – No surface defects, no structural defects, or ‘very rare’
    Grade 2 – Eye clean surface, no structural defects, or ‘rare’
    Grade 3 – Minor surface defects, minor structural defects. or ‘common’
  • Anything less than Grade 3 is not available for sale and either discarded or re-cut.
  • “Buy” is the wholesale price for Grade 3 stones in large quantities over 10,000 carats
  • “Sell” is the price offered for sale from retail or trade fare for single stones or small sales.
  • “Street” is the negotiated price for small quantities of stones of various grades.