Discover the captivating journey of a sapphire from its humble beginnings as a rough crystal to its final, dazzling form. This transformation process is a testament to the artistry, craftsmanship, and dedication of skilled lapidaries who unlock the hidden splendor of these precious stones. Let's delve into the enchanting process of how sapphire rough transforms into captivating sapphire shapes.

Rough Sapphire Crystals

What do rough sapphire crystals look like?

Rough sapphire crystals exhibit a variety of individual characteristics depending on their origin and formation. Generally, they appear as opaque or translucent mineral formations with a rough, unpolished surface. Their color can range from pale blue to deep indigo and a kaleidoscope of other colors such as pink, yellow, green, violet, and the very rare padparadscha.

What influences the value of rough sapphire crystals?

Rough sapphire crystals come in varying sizes, and larger crystals generally yield larger faceted gemstones. Carat weight plays a significant role in determining a sapphire's value. The crystals themselves often have irregular shapes, with some displaying natural facets or crystal faces, while others may be more rounded or irregularly shaped. Internal inclusions, such as mineral impurities, natural imperfections, or color zoning, add character and uniqueness to each stone and can significant change the value of the rough sapphire crystal after cutting. For example not every inclusion can be seen clearly when the sapphire is in its rough form. Visibility of inclusion can reduce the value significantly. 

What is the excepted yield from a rough sapphire Crystal?

When assessing a rough sapphire crystal, the expected yield is approximately 20% to 30% of the weight of the original rough sapphire crystal. However depending on the placement of colour and inclusions this can vary. Excepted yield from other gemstones will vary. 

Assessment and Sorting

How are rough sapphires assessed and sorted?

Once unearthed, expert gem cutters carefully examine each rough sapphire crystal, checking for any imperfections or irregularities that may affect its beauty or durability. Gems are then assessed to determine their potential for an optimal cut by considering factors such as color, clarity, size, the natural shape, as well as any visibility of internal inclusions that may affect the final outcome. The goal is to maximize the beauty and value of the sapphire while minimizing wastage.

Planning the Cut

How do cutters plan the transformation of rough sapphires?

Visualizing how different cuts would appear on the rough sapphire crystal is crucial. The natural shape and size of the rough sapphire crystal may lend themselves better to certain cuts based on the crystal’s natural features, dimensions, and proportions. For example, an elongated crystal might suit a pear cut or a marquise cut. Certain cuts may help minimize the visibility of inclusions or enhance the color and clarity of the sapphire.

What is the preforming process?

The rough sapphire is marked with guidelines which serve as a roadmap for the cutter during a first cutting process called preforming, which involves removing excess material and roughing out the basic shape of the sapphire. Most colored sapphires are cut in a variety of fancy shapes with many facet variations.

Faceting and Polishing the Gemstone

What happens during the faceting and polishing stage?

Faceting is where the true magic happens. Each facet is painstakingly cut and polished using diamond-tipped tools to exacting standards, creating crisp facet edges and bringing out the sapphire's sparkle and fire. This process requires both technical expertise and artistic vision to achieve the desired outline, or shape, brilliance, symmetry, and proportions.

How is the final polish achieved?

The stone is meticulously polished with diamond dust to intensify the lustre and shine, bringing out the full beauty of its color and clarity.

Final Inspection

What happens during the final inspection of the sapphire?

Throughout the cutting and polishing process, the newly shaped sapphire undergoes a final inspection to ensure it meets quality standards. This magical transformation from rough sapphire crystal to a well proportioned and unique sapphire shape is a process performed by skilled artisans.

Before and after cutting images of sapphire gemstonebefore and after yellow sapphire pear

1.91 ct Apricot sapphire pear cut, unheated. Originally we were expecting to cut heart shape with this beautiful crystal. Based on the placement of inclusions, pear shape was the most suited to retain its gorgeous colour and a higher yield. 
Emerald Cut Gradient Blue Sapphire Sri Lanka
1.22 ct Emerald Cut Ceylon Blue Sapphire, Gradient Shades of Blue

3.41 ct Marquise cut peach sapphire, heated


2.10 ct Pastel Blue Ceylon Sapphire, Unheated 


2.08 ct Cushion Blue Ceylon Sapphire, Unheated 

1.27 ct Ceylon Padpradscha sapphire, unheated



2.27 ct Ceylon Yellow Sapphire Oval, Unheated  

Grey sapphire pear shape
2.72 ct Steel Blue Pear Shaped Sapphire, Heated 
Blue Sapphire Pear Unheated
1.12 ct Ceylon Steel Blue Sapphire Pear, Unheated
Kite Shape Pink Sapphire
1.41 ct Kite Shape Pink Sapphire, Unheated 
1.78 ct Vivid yellow sapphire fancy cut, unheated


2.00 ct Greenish Yellow Fancy Cut Ceylon Sapphire 


2.74 ct Marquise Ceylon Blue Sapphire, Unheated

Marquise Blue Sapphire Unheated


5.42 ct Sky Blue Marquise Sapphire, Unheated


3.07 ct Marquise Ceylon Yellow Sapphire, Unheated


The journey of a sapphire from rough crystal to dazzling gem is a remarkable transformation. This process, performed by skilled artisans, culminates in a sapphire ready to take its place as a centerpiece of a stunning solitaire engagement ring, a pair of dazzling earrings, a magnificent pendant, or a bespoke jewelry silhouette. The sapphire's radiant beauty is sure to captivate all who behold it.