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Selling Rough star Ruby and Sapphire


Hi there

I represent a small group of Miners out of Africa. They mostly pull out star sapphire ranging in color from violet to black, and a wide range of star ruby from dark red to red to pinkish red. I would consider most of the material middle grade, but we have some higher grade pieces as well. Sizes range from 2 carats, with some substantial pieces 10 carats and up. We have pulled out some large pieces that we have decided to save as specimens or to use for carvings. I have had a few carvings made and they look great.

I’m trying to find the best way to market this stone. I am having a hard time determining value as well. I use several different appraisal programs to determine price (with the material I have had cut), but the valuations vary from program to program, and I am having trouble deciding the price point.

I am also not sure if it makes sense to sell rough or have the material cut first. I have some great cutters, but if I can get good value for rough I’d just as soon skip the extra step to market.

Does anyone here have any experience marketing this type of product? I plan to hit Tuscon in February and see about some gem shows in China and Thailand.

Thanks in advance!


I don’t have specific experience with this kind of material, but as a cutter I can offer a few remarks…star sapphire varies in value from about $50/ct (cut) to a max of $6500/ct. Actual star ruby (determined by
being ruby color) is a lot rarer and starts again at $50/ct and goes up to a max of $12,000/ct in 10 to 20 carat sizes. Your trouble valuing this may depend somewhat on the fact that not that much of it is sold in the higher grades. Low grade stuff may have inclusions that are visible and is opaque. High grade material is very translucent and almost transparent. Classic colors for sapphire and ruby apply to the higher grades. The distinctness of the star and the straightness of the legs are also issues of valuation. Now the valuations I am quoting are from the Gemworld Guide and would apply to wholesale sales to jewelers and some consider these prices a bit high.

As to cutting, it isn’t that difficult to cut cabs and it removes elements of risk to the cutter, who is always concerned with whether the star will show, how vivid it will be, how straight it will be, breakage, etc., so if you have cutters who can orient correctly and cut a nice high cab to show off the star, I would have it cut. Even if the cutting is not perfect, but shows off the star and its quality, that will help sell the stone. It’s a simple matter to recut a little to shape it or to improve the polish. So if your experience is that most of your rough is good stuff, have it cut first. If you know it is not the greatest or that cutters sometimes experience pits and inclusions and other problems, you may want to sell it as rough. Let someone be seduced by the word “sapphire” or “ruby” and the color and let it go at that. IDK if you would see this as ethical caveat emptor or shady, but there it is…HTH, royjohn



Thank you very much for your help! I would say 95% of our material is leaning towards semi-translucent, with some higher grade stuff making up the other 5%. The stars have been turning out excellent, so like you say, with a good cab cutter it makes sense to sell finished stone.

Thanks again for your input!


Most of the rough star sapphire/ruby comes from India and sells for a few dollars per gram. It’s mostly junk. I agree with the other responses that high-quality material is worth getting cabbed before you sell it. Any medium-quality rough material would find a ready market if you want to concentrate on the better material.


I appreciate that input. Thank you!

Are gemstone shows in Tucson and Hong Kong a good place to start selling rough?


I’m not sure about marketting it, but I’d be interesting in purchasing some material.


That works too!

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