​Q & A WITH A GEMMOLOGIST

​Q & A WITH A GEMMOLOGIST

Posted by Sasha Gammampila on 5th Oct 2016

I have put together this Q & A based on the questions I get asked frequently. Mostly by my friends (including some clients who have now become friends). They love to grill me. They are the best!

How do you clean your engagement ring?

My engagement ring is made with sapphire, diamond and white gold. I have a tiny dish that is enough to clean about three rings at a time. It is around 10ml. I fill it with about 7ml of boiling water and about 2ml if diluted cloudy ammonia. This you can buy from the supermarket. Then I put the rings in for about 5 mins. Then I use a watercolour paintbrush to get underneath the setting. It is very important to clean facets underneath otherwise the stone will look foggy.

Rinse it under running hot water (from tap), give it a good shake and you are done!


Can hot water crack a gemstone?

Yes, of course it can if the water is boiling hot. Only put the ring in after you put cloudy ammonia in.

Above method is suitable for natural, untreated, fairly clean sapphires, rubies diamonds, spinels, tourmalines and topazes. It is not suitable for stones that tend to have a lot of crack like inclusions and/or filled with other substances such as glass or oil. Certainly not suitable for emeralds as emeralds have many inclusions that are oil filled.


My engagement ring loses it sparkle quickly why is that?

When grease and dust catches on the facets, gemstones can’t shine. Specially when it gets on the back of the stone.

If you have a diamond engagement ring, it will loose its sparkle a lot quicker than other gemstones. Diamonds are hydrophobic meaning it takes on grease quickly.


How often do you clean your ring?

I clean my sapphire engagement ring as often as every second day. Other jewellery, I clean perhaps once every two weeks.


That is way too often. I won’t have time. How often do you suggest that I clean my engagement ring?

I know I can be over the top when it comes to cleaning the engagement ring. Specially when I am driving I want to see it sparkle.

For an engagement ring, I suggest you clean it at least once a week so that you can enjoy its beauty everyday.

What is the best sapphire colour?

Traditionally ‘royal blue’ and ‘cornflower blue’ sapphires were considered the “best”. Nothing can be the best if it doesn’t suit you or you do not like it. In this day and age, the colour that catches your eye is the best colour.


What qualities do you look for when you are buying sapphires for Deliqa Gems?

I love all things natural. That is why I supply natural, untreated gemstones via Deliqa Gems. Apart from that brightness is one thing I really consider. Certain sapphires, specially from certain geological areas have more brightness than others. Some stones don’t sparkle as well no matter how well you cut them. Even when we buy dark colours, we look at how the sparkles can be seen within the stone once cut.

I buy majority of sapphires in rough form. It is difficult to see what the final result is until cut. My expert father and my broker in Sri Lanka have an incredible knowledge in buying rough gemstones. They just know.

Secondly I look at the cleanliness of the stone. All natural sapphires will have some inclusions. Not all inclusions affect negatively. Small inclusions do not affect the durability of a sapphire. We look at how it will affect the look of the stone. Most inclusions do not matter if the stone is bright and sparkly. Of course the naturally cleaner stones are more pricier. There are a few rutile and a couple of fingerprint type inclusions in the sapphire in my engagement ring. To me it proves it is a natural sapphire.

We do not dismiss gemstones based on their colour. Every stone will have someone to love them. That is my difference and why I love what I do; carrying a wide collection of colours in fine gem quality sapphires.

Quality of the cut is highly important. All our gems are cut to best they can be.

It is very challenging to find the quality of sapphires we represent at Deliqa Gems. We look at hundreds of gemstones and pick the best ones for our clients.

Overall character of the stone is really important. All my sapphires have a lot of life to them.

So in my collection of sapphires, we have done all the hard work narrowing down on quality. All what client has to look for is the colour they like. They know whichever the stone they pick is of the best quality at the right price.


How are sapphires cut? Are there automatic machinery?

Yes, there are automatic machinery called precision gem cutting machines but none of the Deliqa Gems sapphires are cut by automatic machinery. 

I prefer hand cut sapphires. Like everything handmade, it is definitely much more appreciative to see human talent.

Fine quality natural sapphires cannot be cut by precision machines because the colour of natural sapphires are not even throughout the crystal and they have to be manually inspected to place correctly while being cut. Only very small stones and the treated ones can be cut by precision cut machines because their colour is more even.


Do you sometimes sell sapphires that you are not a fan of yourself?

No, not really. I cannot sell something I don’t believe in. I love all the sapphires in my collection. I know each one’s quality like the back of my hand and that they are priced according to their quality. Sometimes clients are surprised at my memory of carat weights, placement of internal characteristics and approximate millimetre size of sapphires in my collection. Sometimes they test me and almost all the time I come out on top.


Do you travel to Sri Lanka very much on buying trips?

Not really. Once a year at least though. My father and my broker are my set of eyes over there. Their knowledge is second to none. With training and open communication over the years, we have a very good understanding of the quality we are looking for. I trust their judgement.


What are some of the biggest achievements in business?

To have built relationships with a couple of small mines in Sri Lanka to contact us first when they have found a good quality sapphire. Now that is a privilege. I still pinch myself. If you do good, the good comes back to you.


Do you sell large sapphires?

Yes, I do. Larger stones are always custom requests. Client will explain their desire to me their and put their trust in me to find the right stone for them. Sapphires are not like ordering a colourless diamond. Colour is a big factor, but we cannot always get the exact colour as we have to look at what is available at the appropriate price. Client who appreciate natural gemstones understand this. We get the best available for what client wants.

Most recently I sourced a 5 carat pink sapphire and a 2 carat padparadscha sapphire from Sri Lanka, both natural un-enhanced colours.