Spotlight on September’s Birthstone: Sapphire

When you’re thinking of blue gemstones, sapphire, September’s birthstone, is the one that is most likely to leap to mind first. And no wonder. Not only has it been used as a precious stone for thousands of years, but it is also second only to diamonds in hardness, which makes it extremely durable.

Spotlight on September's Birthstone: Sapphire | Auction King

Sapphire is a form of the mineral corundum, which is made up of aluminum and oxygen atoms. In its pure form, corundum is clear—in fact, these white sapphires are often used as accent stones in jewelry. Trace amounts of iron and titanium give sapphires their classic hue, which can range from violet blue to greenish blue. Natural sapphires also come in other shades, such as yellow, purple, orange, and green, depending on the trace elements influencing their color.

With a nine on the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphire is suitable for any kind of jewelry, including rings that are worn daily. One of the most famous modern sapphire rings, which has a twelve-carat sapphire surrounded by diamonds, is Princess Diana’s engagement ring, given to her in 1981 by Prince Charles, which Prince William later used when he proposed to Kate Middleton. Sapphires are so tough that synthetic sapphires are used in many industrial applications, such as wristwatch crystals and shatter-resistant windows.

The name “sapphire” comes from the Latin word “sapphirus” and the Greek word “sappheiros,” which both mean “blue.” As you would expect of a stone with such a long history in diverse cultures, sapphire carries many folklore associations. It is believed to bring good fortune and protection from harm, and to promote wisdom and serenity.

The value of individual sapphires is judged on color, clarity, cut, and carats. Color is the most important factor: the purer the blue and the more intense the color, the more valuable the stone. It is not unusual for a sapphire to be heated to intensify its color; sapphires that are unheated, however, will generally be valued higher. The most valuable stones can be more expensive than diamonds on a per-carat basis.

Natural sapphires tend to have some inclusions, but fewer than rubies (another form of corundum). Some sapphires, known as “star sapphires,” exhibit asterism, where needle-like inclusions of rutile (titanium dioxide) throughout the stone reflect light to create the appearance of a luminous star. These are typically cut as cabochons to show off the effect. The cut of a sapphire, star or not, should be chosen to maximize the size of the stone while maintaining good proportions and showing off the best possible color.

Sapphires are found all around the world, in Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, and North America. While stones from Kashmir, Sri Lanka, are legendary for their pure blue color, high-quality sapphires can be found from any region.

Auction King regularly features sapphire bracelets, pendants, rings, earrings, and necklaces, including rare fancy sapphires in a range of colors. Their low opening bids and live-auction format give bidders the best opportunity to buy these high-value stones at prices well below retail. Sign up today for a free online account to find the sapphire piece you’ve been looking for!

Are Sports Memorabilia a Good Investment?

The market for collectible sports memorabilia is large and growing. It’s a subject that many feel passionate about, and many collectors choose their purchases based on their favorite sports and players. But do these purchases also make a good investment? They certainly can, but it isn’t necessarily a given that any individual item will go up in value. Here’s what you need to keep in mind:

Are Sports Memorabilia a Good Investment | Auction King

The bigger the name, the bigger the value: Signed balls or jerseys from truly famous players will of course fetch more than similar items from players who didn’t establish (or haven’t yet gained) an all-star reputation. It’s okay to take a chance on a rookie item if you accept that the chances of that player turning out to be the next Babe Ruth or Joe Montana are slim.

Supply and demand influence price: If there are few of a particular item on the market, or there is no possibility of creating more, then the price will reflect that scarcity. When a sports figure has flooded the market with autographed pictures, on the other hand, their value will be correspondingly low. Do some research to figure out if what you’re considering purchasing is rare or not before you agree on a price.

Condition is key: As with many other types of collectibles, sports memorabilia should be in excellent condition to fetch top dollar. This is especially true of things like baseball cards, where there may be many examples of a particular card in existence, but almost none in pristine, museum-quality condition.

Tastes change: There is a certain degree of subjectivity in the sports memorabilia market, so you can’t be sure that an item you buy will immediately or smoothly go up in value. If the overall economy is bad, collectors may tighten their belts and forego buying. If a sports figure gets in legal trouble, the value of typical memorabilia associated with them, like game jerseys, may decline. And in general, fads for one sport or another may cause prices to fluctuate in ways that don’t seem to make logical sense. Know that you may have to wait some time to make an advantageous sale on any item you buy.

Deal with reputable sellers only: There is no one central market for sports memorabilia, so you may be talking to any number of auction houses, private sellers, or dealers. Unfortunately, there is a great deal of fakery and fraud in this area, as unscrupulous people try to make a profit off their buyers’ desire to own a piece of history. You should only purchase from reputable sources you trust.

The bottom line is that if you enjoy sports memorabilia, it can be a great way to combine investing with owning a collection you enjoy. To find sports memorabilia items at below-market prices, check out the live online auction at AuctionKing.com. They continually add new items from football, basketball, baseball, and more to their selection. Sign up for a free online account today and start browsing.