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How to distinguish a natural sapphire from a fake?

This gemstone is invariably mentioned among the most famous and coveted. And, of course, it is associated with the blue color, so beloved by writers and artists. But the ancient name conceals something more, revealing a truly incredible story. From the point of view of mineralogy, sapphire is a stone related to corundum. Its composition is dominated by aluminum oxide, and the color is created by impurities of titanium, iron, chromium, and vanadium. Deposits have been found in placers and pegmatites throughout the world. The most valuable are sapphires from Indian Kashmir, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. Mining also continues in Madagascar, the USA, Australia, China, Tanzania and in small pockets of blue corundum in other countries.

Varieties of sapphire

Geologists classify only blue stones as sapphires, but their related origin brings them closer to their colored neighbors. It is the light shades that beautifully refract the rays of light that are valued. They are cut into different shapes or given a cabochon shape. Jewelry sapphire can be yellow, pink-orange, green and even colorless. A special place is occupied by stones with the effect of a shining star. In science, this phenomenon is called asterism, and not every gem is able to manifest it during processing. Modern technologies make it possible to produce artificial transparent sapphires – leucosapphires. Due to their high strength, they are used in the space and aviation industries as part of windows and glass. The transparency of synthetic minerals is valued in ophthalmology. And even phone screens often contain sapphires of industrial origin. Blue sapphire is not much inferior in strength to diamond. It has a high melting point, so the stone is not afraid of external influences. The chemical composition is very similar to the formula of ruby, but the quality of the stone can be distorted due to inclusions and impurities.

Sapphire gemstone: who is it suitable for?

Since ancient times, sapphire in gold has remained a symbol of unattainably high status. They adorned the crowns of emperors and were credited with powerful strength, confirmed by the great achievements of the owners. To this day, huge specimens of sapphires are kept in museums on all continents, keeping secrets and true stories. The blue color of the famous stones is often associated with the purity of water, the wisdom of generations and the highest justice. Therefore, representatives of those professions where it is necessary to strengthen precisely these qualities are offered to wear it. In particular, these are judges, lawyers, people holding leadership positions in various fields of activity. The magic stone helps you achieve your goals and brings harmony to the daily turmoil of life. Ancient treatises draw attention to the fact that jewelry with sapphires should be worn after reaching the age of 36. Only then will the full power of jewelry containing the heavenly mineral be revealed. Recommendations for different zodiac signs are of obvious interest. Astrologers place sapphire very highly; the meaning of the stone allows it to be used for almost every star ward:

  • For Aries, sapphire will help reduce temper,
  • Taurus will be able to more clearly reveal the talents inherent in nature,
  • for Gemini, the blue stone will bring much-needed balance,
  • Cancers will finally defeat the approaching melancholy,
  • for Leo, this is one of the best talismans, capable of turning character traits to a person’s benefit,
  • Virgos with sapphire jewelry will be able to feel more confident,
  • with the help of sapphire Libra will be more rational,
  • Scorpios will learn to control their anger, but they should use the stone with caution,
  • Sagittarius will receive an ideal assistant in the fight against inconstancy,
  • Aquarians should also take a closer look at sapphires to demonstrate their creative abilities,
  • Pisces will simply be delighted with the calm marine motifs in the coloring of the famous stone.

The only sign for which sapphires are strictly contraindicated is the overly reserved Capricorn. But other signs can also listen to inner feelings.

The rich color palette of jewelry sapphires gave rise to even more legends about properties of rare gems. Therefore, blue stone is considered a symbol of love and is often used in engagement rings. Pink sapphire has the power to fulfill wishes, but is sensitive to the negative emotions of the owner. The green tint of the mineral enhances alertness and visual acuity. Yellow sapphire is considered one of the most powerful amulets; it is recommended to wear it only on special occasions. Very dark stones, which appear black to the naked eye, can have magical properties and protect against envy and dark thoughts.

There are no restrictions for men’s and women’s sapphire jewelry. And even different types of appearance look advantageous with blue stones. Only when selecting rarer shades is it worth determining your color type.

How to distinguish natural sapphire from a fake

  1. Price. First of all, you should pay attention to the price. A real gemstone cannot be temptingly cheap.
  2. Structure. Sometimes synthetic analogues are used, but they are produced by gas bubbles in the structure of the mineral.
  3. Ultraviolet testing. If the jewelry actually contains sapphire, the natural stone will glow white under the influence of an ultraviolet lamp. Counterfeits do not pass inspection; they are indicated by a green glow.
  4. Another clue could be high hardness natural gemstone.
  5. Check by professionals. For complex products, it is not easy to examine the insert from all sides. You will need the help of a professional jeweler who has experience in determining the authenticity of stones. Even instruments make mistakes if unscrupulous manufacturers combine corundum and pieces of colored glass in one frame.

Therefore, sapphires should be selected with special care and only at specialized points of sale.

Where to buy sapphire jewelry

Sapphire is a stone whose price depends not only on the complexity of processing, but also on the title of “stone of kings.” But by purchasing such products, you can become the owner of a universal accessory for the most important events in life. Official receptions, holidays, and business meetings framed by sapphires will be relaxed and elegant.

The Gold Standard jewelry store offers a wide selection of earrings, pendants, crosses and rings with sapphires. In the catalog you can find not only pure blue and blue stones, but also unusual green and black varieties. The products are made of white or red gold, silver, and are often complemented with diamonds. Each of them confirms a high level of quality and guarantees a certified product.

Sapphires will become an unforgettable gift or a dream come true if you choose them correctly. Hints from sales consultants will help you navigate the vibrant world of jewelry, and the ability to order online will significantly save time.

How to care for sapphire jewelry

  1. So that the long-awaited purchase serves faithfully, Items with sapphires should be stored separately. The reason for this rule is very prosaic – the stone can damage other jewelry inlaid with inserts. A jewelry bag that is kept away from direct sunlight is best suited for it.
  2. For sapphire, sharp temperature changes. Even gold items can be damaged due to careless handling. During transportation or weather fluctuations, jewelry should be protected with a soft cloth and a reliable box.
  3. Like most gemstones, sapphire is sensitive to water and chemical compounds. So you should come to terms with the idea that your favorite jewelry is not made for sports, taking a bath, or any work related to cleaning or cooking. Accidental contact with water or dust may damage the bond of the stone.

How to properly clean sapphire jewelry.

  • A mild soap solution and polishing with a special jewelry cloth returns the sapphire’s alluring shine.
  • From time to time, expensive jewelry requires a preventative examination from a jeweler. The master will not only clean the surface of the gem, but also check the condition of the frame and clasps. After all, even metal can have small cracks and defects that are visible only under a magnifying glass.

In this article we will touch on a topic that is relevant for connoisseurs and connoisseurs – how to choose a sapphire, but not the blue one that everyone is used to, but a rare golden one. Natural yellow sapphire is an exquisite gemstone and a real treasure that has absorbed the warmth of the sun. It is also loved by fans of esotericism and astrology; this stone seems to be filled with energy, it promises wealth, prosperity and well-being. It is also one of the favorite stones of the Gem Lovers team. Let’s figure out what characteristics determine the cost and how to make a choice so that the stone is right for you. In this article we will talk about the following factors:

  • Color
  • Ennobling
  • Weight
  • Cleanliness
  • Cutting
  • Place of Birth
  • How to distinguish a real yellow sapphire from a fake
  • Price

Color

The color range of this variety of corundum contains warm shades of yellow from very light to bright golden orange-yellow. Sapphire is almost never lemon; in some samples there is a slight additional greenish tint. From a psychological point of view, the color yellow represents optimism, self-confidence, and the desire to look hopefully into the future. The value of a sapphire directly depends on the hue, brightness and saturation of the color. More than 90% of yellow corundums are naturally light in color, which can be described as a “straw” shade. The top, most valuable shade, according to the gemological community, is golden, Golden Yellow.

Ennobling

Jewelry corundums are popular objects for beautification. Including precious yellow sapphires. Heat treatment is considered an acceptable method of color change. Light-colored crystals are heated to increase the intensity of the yellow color, thus producing rich, bright and orange colors. The color obtained in this way is stable, and there is no need to worry about it fading. The color changes throughout the entire volume, so that the heated sapphire can be recut or repolished if necessary. Although the lion’s share of yellow and orange sapphires on the market are refined, there is a small percentage of stones that are naturally beautifully golden in color. They are called unheated or untreated; abroad they are marked with the letter N – natural. Such natural sapphires are priced more expensive than heated ones, but relative to the cost of the blue variety they can be considered significantly more affordable. We prefer to select unheated specimens for our collection, since the lack of refining enhances the investment potential of sapphires and makes them more valuable.

It is impossible to determine by appearance whether a stone has been subjected to temperature effects; this is only possible in laboratory conditions.

Another common method is beryllium diffuse heat treatment. The peculiarity of this method of refining is that beryllium particles penetrate into the structure of the stone and cause the appearance of a yellow color. We avoid specimens refined by diffusion. Diffusion sapphires are very cheap compared to natural ones. They are more typical for the Thai market. Calibrated light corundums are often stained in this way.

Weight

Natural yellow sapphire crystals suitable for cutting rarely reach large sizes. The most common samples are up to 2 carats. Much less common are faceted yellow sapphires ranging from 3 to 5 carats and are suitable for everyday jewelry, rings and pendants. Ten carat samples of beautiful bright color and high purity are considered a successful find. Large, bright specimens with high purity – over 15 carats – are extremely rare. Such unheated yellow sapphires are not only bought for jewelry, they are considered for collections and investment purposes, as a long-term investment.

In the photo: comparison of stones weighing 6.56 carats (left) and 4.13 carats (right)

Cleanliness

Yellow sapphires, like other corundums, are classified as Type II by the GIA purity classification, meaning they usually contain inclusions. However, there are specimens with high purity, VVS-VS. These are visually pure stones, inclusions may be present, but are so small that they do not affect the optical properties, strength and beauty at all. Subtle internal irregularities may be present, and if they are located in the peripheral zone, they are often not visible at all. Stones with such purity, all other characteristics being equal, are valued the most. On the contrary, yellow sapphires with a large number of inclusions and obvious visible cracks are valued less, but at the same time their beauty is significantly deteriorated. Most often, yellow sapphires contain gas-liquid inclusions in the form of veils and curtains.

The insidiousness of yellow sapphires lies in the fact that in unheated samples there are often inclusions as in the photo, which can be incorrectly mistaken for rutile needles partially dissolved after heat treatment, unlike sapphires of other colors. Yellow sapphires are also characterized by zoning.

Cutting

For such rare stones of good jewelry quality, the principle of maximum preservation of the mass of raw materials is applied. The most common cut shapes are oval and cushion. Shapes such as octagon (radiant or step cut) are less common. It is almost impossible to find a yellow sapphire in the shape of a pear, marquise or heart. These are single stones on the market.

In the photo: cut forms of yellow sapphires.

From left to right: circle, stepped (emerald), radiant, heart, square cushion, radiant.

As for calibrated small stones, without special research it is not possible to determine the presence of refining and the method. For example, often small yellow sapphires in the dust are treated by the beryllium diffusion method.

Place of Birth

Yellow sapphires are often found in placer deposits where other colored crystals and minerals are found. Suppliers of jewelry crystals are the following countries:

  • Burma (Myanmar)
  • Tanzania
  • Nigeria
  • Australia
  • Madagascar

However, Sri Lanka is considered the classic place for mining these precious stones. Here you can find crystals suitable for cutting individual specimens with good natural color and clarity. Yellow sapphires from other deposits, such as Burmese specimens, have much lighter colors. After cutting, the weight of the stone from these deposits rarely exceeds 5 carats.

How to distinguish a real yellow sapphire from a fake

For such a valuable gemstone as yellow sapphire, there are imitations and fakes. Glass (paste) is the most inexpensive imitation. In modern imitations – glass ceramics – it is possible to achieve optical properties close to the characteristics of natural corundum. They can be distinguished by gas bubbles, sometimes quite large; when viewed through a polariscope, the samples show a picture of anomalous anisotropy, beams, and stress zones. The refractive index of natural corundum, which is quite high, will be different for glass and ceramic glass. Corundum has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale, while glass has a hardness of 5-6. The most accurate imitation can be considered a synthetic analogue of yellow sapphire, colored yellow corundum. Its chemical composition, properties and appearance in faceted form are as close as possible to natural stone.

Currently, technologies make it possible to obtain a wide range of shades corresponding to natural colors, depending on the addition and concentration of coloring impurities. Cubic zirconia is often used as an imitation of yellow sapphire. Its high characteristics (dispersion, hardness, refractive index) ensure the impressive appearance of faceted inserts. However, it is precisely the catchiness and brightness of cubic zirconia that gives it away, allowing you to understand even with the naked eye what kind of material is in front of you. Still, natural yellow sapphire has a more modest, noble shine.

Also, natural golden corundum in some cases shows similarities with other stones. The most common comparison is with a fancy-colored diamond. Citrine, golden topaz imperial, zircon, and, occasionally, jewelry chrysoberyl are also considered similar.

Price

The cost of a stone, the supply of which is limited on the world market, and top-quality specimens are incredibly rare, will undoubtedly be high. However, the yellow variety of corundum is much lower in cost than the blue and light blue varieties. At least for today. The demand for yellow sapphires is growing, and there are fewer and fewer supplies, so the price may rise in the future. Undoubtedly, unheated (untreated) specimens of top colors have investment potential, since they are the most rare and in demand among collectors and investors.

In this article, in order to more freely navigate the gradations of quality, we provide price reviews. The most common color among unheated specimens is light yellow, so let’s look at this gradation in more detail. So, we take the following characteristics as a starting point. Light yellow, untreated, visually clear or with barely noticeable inclusions, average Asian cut quality, origin – Sri Lanka.

In the photo: a specimen of a 10-carat untreated light yellow sapphire, Ceylon

A two-carat stone will cost approximately 300-400 US dollars/ct. The cost per carat of a five-carat sample will be 750-1000 USD. Ten carat – 900-1300 dollars. Offers of 15-carat stones and above start from 1500 per carat, since such specimens are rare on the market and their price is set individually.

The presence of large cracks and contrasting inclusions in the central part of the stone reduces the cost. As for very light sapphires, they are usually priced at half the price. Unheated yellow sapphires of top colors (from intense yellow to Golden) will cost approximately 2-3 times more, depending on color saturation and weight. A stone with high-quality cutting and polishing of the European level is rated significantly higher than the Asian average quality. On the contrary, if there are significant violations of symmetry, for example, excessive depth of the pavilion, a large window, a displacement of the site, they are less valued in the world.

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