About Us

Sapphire Specialists

At The Natural Sapphire Company we offer true beauty, rarity and value in all of our natural sapphires.

Since 1939 we have specialized in the finest natural untreated sapphires.

Our unique inventory sets us apart from other gem and jewelry dealers. Our sapphires are untreated, meaning they are not color diffused, irradiated oiled, glass filled, or heated to extreme temperatures.

Our sapphires are rare, valuable, and we guarantee it.

We are a start-to-finish company!

We begin from the ground up; purchasing the rough and semi-polished sapphire crystals directly from the gem mines. We then cut, polish, and certify all of our sapphires in-house. We pride ourselves on being expert stone cutters and artisans.

Our certified staff gemologists analyze and guarantee each sapphire. All of our sapphires are accompanied by laboratory documentation per industry standards.

Our staff is extremely professional, knowledgeable, and experienced. Our dedicated team of designers, CAD specialists, jewelers and setters manufacture all of our fine jewelry on premises.

We hope you enjoy the rarity, beauty, and quality we present in our inventory.

For complete information and education on sapphires, please view our Sapphire Education section.

Walter Arnstein circa 1939
Walter Arnstein circa 1951

Over 75 Years of History

With over 75 years of experience in the sapphire market, The Natural Sapphire Company is rich in history. We are not a "start-up" internet company like most online jewelers. Our roots go back three generations and we continue to specialize in our signature product - natural untreated sapphires.

Our founding president, Walter S. Arnstein, began importing sapphires into the United States in 1939.

He had a great passion for the natural beauty he saw in sapphires. In 1939, gemstone enhancements and synthetic stones had not yet been invented; so Walter dealt only with natural untreated sapphires.

In the early 1900’s, diamond engagement rings became popular in the US with the emergence of the immigrant middle class. However, many people still could not afford the high price of a diamond and looked for alternative gemstones. This created a burgeoning market for diamond substitutes. White quartz and other colorless gemstones could not be used for engagement rings as they were too soft and brittle to survive everyday wear. White sapphires however, were extremely durable and became the best alternative to a diamond. Walter Arnstein recognized the potential in white sapphires and specialized in this unique market.

Walter knew a thing or two about mining, gemstones and gold. The family roots in gem cutting and mining go back to Germany in the mid-1800’s. Walter’s parents arrived in New York in the late 1870’s and soon went out west to prospect. Samuel Arnstein, Walter’s father, settled in Leadville, Colorado during a mining boom in 1880.

Samuel Arnstein shown in the Leadville, Colorado census of 1880.
The actual altimeter Samuel Arnstein used in the 1880’s while prospecting in New Mexico, Colorado and Montana.

Samuel Arnstein prospected for gold, silver and copper in New Mexico, Colorado and Montana before returning to New York where he raised a family. Samuel’s son, Walter, became our founding president and continued the family trade of mining and selling gold and precious gemstones.

Gemstone and gold mining was a popular family business venture in the New World, and Walter Arnstein developed an early interest in investing in gemstones and mining.

Below are images of the actual bonds and shares Walter purchased.

The gemstone trade proved to be a lucrative business prospect. There was little competition at the time and the jewelr ytrade in the America was growing rapidly. Walter Arnstein narrowed the company’s focus to buying and selling sapphires and other precious gemstones.

Pictured below are some of the company’s first advertisements and sales material promoting sapphires and other popular gemstones.

A few of our early print ads plus an original draft of a star sapphire advertisement in the 1940’s. The ad went to print in some of the first jewelry magazine publications in New York.

During the latter half of the 20th century, white sapphires were the most popular alternative stone for an engagement ring. Walter Arnstein successfully applied for and obtained patents on marketing white sapphires under various trade names.

Cubic zirconias eventually took over the white sapphire market in the 1970’s when Russian scientists discovered how to synthetically create them. But, white sapphires have seen a resurgence in popularity in the past few years and continue to own a fair share of the engagement ring market.

US Patent Testing application from 1953 for a brand marketing campaign for white sapphires.

Running the business was a family affair and Walter’s wife, Janette, worked side by side with Walter for over 50 years. She assisted with marketing, sales and was a meticulous bookkeeper.

Early ledger of sales.
Walter Arnstein,
Seymour Arnstein,
and Michael Arnstein

Seymour Arnstein, Walter’s son, joined the company in the early 1970’s andcontinued the family tradition of working with natural sapphires.

Seymour also specialized in natural blue lapis lazuli which was extremely popular during the 70’s and 80’s (see article at right).

Seymour Arnstein expertly guided the firm through the many boom and bust years of the 1980’s and 90’s.

Seymour Arnstein’s featured article from a trade publication

While stock markets have fluctuated, the value of our sapphires has always endured. We continued to expand our business as the demand for natural untreated sapphires grew during the past 20 years.

Michael Arnstein, our 3rd generation president, began working at the company in the mid 1990’s and was the driving force behind creating our e-commerce website.

Now, after 75 years in business, we continue to lead the industry. We are a team of gemologists, designers, jewelers, CAD engineers and craftsmen, dedicated to preserving the company’s roots and offering the best selection of rare and beautiful natural sapphires.

The people behind The Natural Sapphire Company

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