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The Stone of Wisdom and Royalty

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,


The insatiable gem lover and collector  knows that one of the most magnificent and sought after gemstones on this earth is the brilliant Sapphire. The stone of wisdom, prophecy, and royalty; unmatched in beauty, purity, rarity, and endurance. Theses are the ultimate qualities of this most highly prized gemstone. The most valuable color of the Sapphire is the cornflower blue – known as ‘Kashmir Sapphire’ or ‘Cornflower Blue Sapphire’. Another extremely valuable Sapphire form is the very rare, orange-pink ‘Padparadschah’ ( A name that comes from the Sanskrit word for lotus flower) along with an exotic type of sapphire, known as ‘Color Changing’ Sapphire which displays a different color depending on its lighting. In natural light, color Changing Sapphire is blue, but in artificial light, the color shows as violet.

Sapphire is a tenacious and robust gem, and the only natural gemstone harder than Sapphire is the Diamond and because of this hardness, sapphire also has industrial uses –  recently announced Apple Watch will feature lab-created sapphire glass in its screen… Despite this, Sapphire is still subject to chipping and fracture if handled too roughly, and special care should always be taken to ensure it is properly managed at all times. This gemstone can also be quite easily fabricated and to the untrained eye can still look very real. The elegant sapphire was first synthesized in 1902. The process of creating synthetic Sapphire is known as the ‘Verneuil process.’ Only expert gemologist are capable of distinguishing between natural and manufactured Sapphire.

The most essential sources for sapphire are in Sri Lanka, Burma, Kashmir, Madagascar, Thailand and Australia. Although, Australia is more recognized for opal, they are massive exporters of sapphire as well, with a substantial portion of the material being heated and cut in Thailand. Many of the sapphire sold as Thai gems are actually mined in Australia.

The sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide. Throughout the ages, sapphires and many other heavy minerals were conveyed and amassed in layers and tend to be concentrated in ‘runs’ along particular channels around Asia and Australia.

Aluminum Oxide – as it is known in mineralogy, is formed by volcanic processes deep in the earth and the high pressure and temperature conditions of  the metamorphic processes. As liquid magma deep within the earth slowly cools the minerals dissolved within cools down into crystals. The purest and most translucent forms of corundum are forged by recrystallization of minerals during the metamorphosis of igneous rocks. It is an action that takes millions of years and only a few places in the world have rock outcrops where these scarce crystals are brought to light by weathering.

Throughout history diverse cultures have indicated the sapphire holds mystical capabilities within itself. In archaic times it was believed that sapphires protected those who wear it from evil. In the middle ages, Europeans believed that sapphires cured eye diseases and preserved chastity.  Also known as a stone of wisdom, sapphire will help stimulate your mind and assist you in your truth seeking. They have also been used to symbolize faithfulness and nobility.

The notorious French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte gave his dear Josephine a sapphire engagement ring in 1796. This ring sold at auction for close to $1,000,000.00 just last year. It features a pear shaped sapphire next to a pear-shaped diamond, on a simple gold band. But the most distinguished royal sapphire today is the engagement ring given to Lady Diana Spencer in 1981 by England’s Prince Charles. It is now worn by Princess Catherine. The ring features an 18-carat oval blue sapphire surrounded by a myriad of diamonds.

This remarkable gemstone possess so many positive attributes, they have been cherished throughout the course of time for healing, wisdom and for their distinct unmistakable beauty. The sapphire has adorned the hands and necks of royalty and aided those who are in need of authenticity. If you need to enhance your focus or gain more self discipline, perhaps try wearing or carry a Sapphire close to you daily.

Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,


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YAAY: How to determine what your fine art collection is worth?

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,


After careful acquisition and consideration of your fine art collection you take a step back and contemplate what your carefully curated pieces are worth as a collective. As an avid collector what are the first steps to take to gain a better understanding of how art is valued? Along with what your beloved collection could yield should you decide to sell or alternatively hold as a long term investment passed down for generations to come.

Art is the ultimate luxury item and to have amassed or inherited a collection possibly worth millions is quite impressive. But unless you are experienced at pricing art or have a Masters in Art History; before making assumptions it is time to call upon the professionals to get an accurate and concise opinion. Art appraisers, consultants and advisors actually possess extensive knowledge and experience that is worth paying for.

All types of avant-garde transactions happen outside of the gallery walls, more often than not between private parties, and that is where art appraisers and advisors are very convenient. They bear more capabilities of determining fair market values under any circumstances and are capable of providing the most current and accurate price information available.

“Fine art may be the most subjective commodity of all which means the value of art is also totally subjective.  In the end it all comes down to perspective.  Accordingly, there are a lot of factors that go into creating value in an artist’s work beyond the cost of materials and the time it took to create it and they all center directly on creating and influencing the perception of value in the eyes of the collector.”

According to the American Society of Appraisers the generally accepted meaning of Fair Market Value is defined as Fair value is the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date.” (FASB Statement No. 157, 2007)

An appraisal establishes the value through extensive research, and employs not only published sources but also esteemed auction house and gallery sales records. Works are evaluated in relation to others of similar age, condition and era. The amount asked or offered is determined by personal interests of both the seller and the purchaser, and trends in the market.

It is of the utmost importance to seek out a reputable appraiser or consultant. Auction houses can provide excellent information on what your collection could be worth. Art galleries often also have an advisor on hand that can work on the appraisal of a compilation.

Some auction houses host free “open house” days where visitors who wish to have their pieces appraised can bring in their artworks and have auction house staff members share their expertise with them.

For those that prefer not to remove work from their home, other houses will allow owners to mail their information with a photograph and any other information they deem valid for the appraisal, and their experts will respond accordingly.

There are even services that can bring the appraiser to your home in the case you are dealing with a delicate sculpture or painting that is much too large or too old to move and require a careful look in the flesh. To find an auction house in your area, search online for “fine art auction houses.” Trusted appraiser site

Can also be looked to when deciding who to contact when a detailed valuation is in order.

Always remember that your unique and valuable collections require a special kind of ‘safety net’. Scheduling items in your insurance policy is one of the best ways to protect you and your wistful investments or inheritance against losses due to accident, theft, fire, shipping and loaning and natural disasters to name a few. Don’t let the unexpected maim years of carefully curated or bequeathed pieces that are dear to the heart of you and yours.

Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,


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Gem Stories – December – Star Sapphire

Lyle Sopel -

Dear Collector Friend,


The Star Sapphire resembles something truly magical, a gemstone so stunning that it could be mistaken as something from a parallel universe. This gorgeous piece of earth can be found mostly in Sri lanka also known as the ‘Jewel Box of the Indian Ocean’ but, can also be found in other areas of India, Burma and lightly scattered across the rest of the globe. It is the birthstone of the Indian Summer month of September.

Star Sapphires vary in value according to their intensity, attractiveness of body, color and the degree of sharpness of the star. Blue star sapphires – in most cases appear opaque, however, when it is placed under a light this spectacular gemstone will display a six-pointed star and at times 12 points.

Star Sapphires are created when Corundum is inter-grown with fibrous inclusions of Rutile or “silk,” that reflects light in stones cut ‘en cabochon’ as a six-rayed or twelve-rayed star that appears to dance across the face of the gem as it is moved around. The optical sensation responsible for star sapphire’s shimmering rays is called ‘asterism’ , this comes from the Latin word ‘astrum’, meaning ‘star.’ Asterism is produced by tiny needle like inclusions of the mineral rutile.

The largest blue star sapphire known to date was found in a Sri Lankan mine not too long ago, weighing in at a colossal 1,404 carats. The one who owns it prefers that their identity remains unknown. This extraordinary sapphire has been  valued at over $300 million. Reports have determined that the sapphire was found in Ratnapura nearby Sri Lanka in the autumn of 2015 and just recently surfaced in the international community. The buyer who wishes to remain anonymous named the gem ‘The Star of Adam’  after an old Muslim belief that Adam went to Sri Lanka after he was cast away from the Garden of Eden.

The unearthing of this massive stone could not have been located at a better time. There has been a recent increase in demand of the Blue Star Sapphire worldwide compared to the demand of diamond engagement rings over the past couple of years.

This contemporary demand is largely due to Kate Middleton’s opulent engagement ring, originally given to Princess Diana. The 12-carat oval Ceylon blue sapphire has enkindled the demand for sapphires across North America, Europe and beyond.

The Star Sapphire dates back thousands of years. According to the old legend, Helen of Troy owned a large star sapphire, which was deemed to hold the key to her desirability.  According to Apollodorus, she had at least thirty suitors striving for her hand.  And although she married King Menelaus of Sparta, she was abducted by Paris, a devilish act that led to the Trojan War. It could be that the beauty that “launched a thousand ships” could possibly accredit it all to the magnetism and temptation of the Blue Star Sapphires.

There is much more to this stone than sheer beauty – its powers include deep spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. The Sapphire is believed to offer healing properties for rheumatism, colic, and mental illness to name a few. It is also considered an antidepressant and an aid to psychokinesis, telepathy, clairvoyance and astral projection.

It is no wonder a stone of this unreal beauty and power has captured the hearts of royalty for thousands of years and is catching on quickly as the new age engagement ring of the 21st century.

Art, Nature, and Beauty Always,


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