What is an AAA Grade Sapphire?

What is an AAA Grade Sapphire?

What Does AAA Grade Mean?

Each jeweller has a different definition of what AAA grade quality means to them. We always recommend asking your jeweller how they define their quality.

A lot of jewellers use the term AAA or even AAAA, without displaying real images of centre stones, which we believe isn’t transparent, as it does not give you an accurate depiction of what that centre stone will look like in real life.

Our Definition of 'AAA' Quality:

AAA is defined as a sapphire with excellent colour, saturation and hue, is eye-clean (meaning there are little to no visual inclusions to the naked eye), and is ideally cut to bring out the best lustre and brilliance within each gem.

Judging Colour of the Sapphire:

Preference of colour can be subjective to every individual and the colour can greatly vary between various shades within a spectrum of individual colour. For example, a Teal colour can be lighter green, forest green, blue-ocean green, peacock green.

Hence we only use real images of our sapphires online, meaning every single sapphire image you see is taken in person, in natural lighting. We then use these real images to mock up our render in each ring design, unlike many companies who use a digitally created image (which is not an accurate representation of the sapphire actually used in the ring).


To be considered as AAA grade, we look for sapphires that are well saturated in colour, where the tone is not too dark or too light. Whether it’s teal, blue or peach, each sapphire we select has been cut to enhance the best colour within that gem, showcasing its hue and brilliance.

Eye Clean Clarity:

As a natural characteristic, all sapphires are included by nature. We only pick sapphires where there are little to no visible inclusions to the naked eye. It is near impossible to have a flawless natural stone, provided any inclusions are deeply set within the belly or pavilion of the stone, these won’t be visible to the eye. This helps to strike the perfect balance between great quality sapphire and price.

In case a natural sapphire has no inclusions, there is a high possibility that the sapphire might not be natural, and instead is lab grown.


It is the cutting parameters of a sapphire that define the overall brilliance and sparkle. Unlike diamonds, there are no standard cuts for sapphires and instead, each individual sapphire is custom cut to bring out the best display of colour, brilliance and lustre.

We look for sapphires where there is a balance between the sparkle and the colour, and stay away from poorly cut stones which usually have a “Window” defect in them. Windowing is where light falls through the sapphire rather than reflecting back. For instance, if a sapphire has a window, you would be able to read text through the sapphire.

Disclosing Enhancements:

We believe it’s not only ethical, but the right of the consumer to know about any enhancements their sapphire has undergone. At Nolan and Vada we carefully handpick sapphires that are either unheated or heated only. We do not sell sapphires that have gone through other enhancements such as Beryllium Treatment, Lattice Diffusion or Fracture Filling as they are used to camouflage cracks and inclusions, are unethical, not permanent and decrease the overall value of the gem.

Real Images Only:

For full transparency we only use actual images of each sapphire with their stock identification, so you know exactly what you’re purchasing. Each image is taken in natural lighting to give the most accurate representation of the colour, clarity and cut. We also provide additional imagery and videos upon request.

We’ve noticed a lot of companies choose to show digitally created images and videos, where you can select your carat weight and colour. As every sapphire is unique in it’s colour, hue and saturation, it is extremely important to see the exact sapphire you are buying, rather than a digital render, as this would not be an accurate representation of the nuances of each stone. We strongly recommend that you do not trust a digital render, always ask to see real images in natural lighting to understand the true colour and quality of a natural sapphire you intend to purchase.