Joseph DuMouchelle explores rising untreated sapphire prices

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Joseph DuMouchelle untreated sapphire prices Joseph DuMouchelle untreated sapphire prices

With the value of untreated sapphires rocketing, qualified gemologist Joseph DuMouchelle takes a closer look at the market.

Commanding prices as much as 80 percent or more higher than their counterparts, ‘untreated’ sapphires, as they’re known, are rocketing in value. A graduate gemologist, appraiser, and auctioneer, jewelry expert Joseph DuMouchelle offers a closer look at the market for these rare, untreated gemstones.

Explaining so-called gemstone ‘treatments,’ Gemological Institute of America Alumni Association international board member and former head of the Accredited Gemologists Association Joseph DuMouchelle reveals that any process beyond cutting and polishing a stone for color, clarity, or durability falls into this bracket, also known as ‘enhancing’ gemstones.

“Treatments and enhancements are common in the gemstone market,” DuMouchelle explains, “and may be carried out in order to improve the appearance or wearability and durability of a stone.”

“However,” he continues, “it’s extremely important to consider the potential value implications prior to applying treatments or enhancements to any gemstone.”

According to DuMouchelle, particularly desirable natural gems, such as sapphires, routinely command as much as a 50 percent or more premium over their enhanced counterparts. “Natural sapphires command significantly higher prices today than treated or enhanced examples,” the expert reveals, “despite those which have undergone radiation exposure and heat treatments, for example, often being visually more appealing and colorful in many people’s opinions.”

Indeed, the International Gem Society suggests that mid-quality untreated blue sapphires will sell for approximately 30 percent more than a treated stone of equal quality. “Top quality untreated stones, though,” adds DuMouchelle, “especially if they’re large, have recently commanded premiums of 80 percent and above, and it’s a premium which is rising.”

Naturally colored sapphires get their range of hues from traces of chromium, iron, titanium, and other elements found deep underground.

Beyond heat treatments and radiation exposure, other forms of enhancement available in the industry involve dyeing, coating, fracture filling, diffusion treatments, and oiling. “Aside from oiling, all of these processes are permanent,” DuMouchelle explains, wrapping up, “so it’s crucial to consider the value implications before going ahead with any such process, especially when taking sapphires and other similarly rare or desirable gemstones into consideration.”

Joseph DuMouchelle is co-founder and president of Joseph DuMouchelle Fine & Estate Jewellers, LLC. Established over a decade ago by DuMouchelle and his partner, Melinda Adducci, the business now boasts locations in New York, Michigan, and Florida. As an international auction house, Joseph DuMouchelle Fine & Estate Jewellers holds vintage diamond, signed jewelry, and timepiece auctions year-round, selling to clients worldwide. Experts in vintage signed jewelry and rare, colored gemstones, the business has also successfully handled and sold unique pieces from significant collections and belonging to famous faces including Marla Maples and Nat King Cole.

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