Choosing Sapphires – What you Need to Know

by on June 18, 2014

Sapphires are known for having a deep blue color like the one seen in the iconic engagement ring of the last Princess Diana. Nevertheless, Sapphires come in a range of different colors.

Sapphires are in a class known as Corundum, which is a mineral and a form of Aluminum Oxide. The Blue Sapphire occurs when titanium and iron are present in the Corundum, while other trace minerals cause colors such as green, gray, yellow, black, pink and purple.

For example, the pink sapphire has trace elements such as nitrogen.

Corundum also forms rubies, except the color of the ruby is due to chromium being present, which causes its rich, red color.

Companies like the Sapphire Ring Company in Clearwater, Florida are doing their best to educate customers on the difference between a natural sapphire and one that has been treated.  Natural, untreated sapphires are much harder to find and much more valuable then treated sapphires.

Gemstones like the sapphire that are derived from the corundum are two times natural-sapphireharder than topaz. This fact is important since the majority of people, with the exception of a trained eye of a jeweler, cannot tell the difference between a sapphire and topaz.

The hardness of the stone is very relevant when buying a piece of jewelry, particularly if the person wearing the piece will subject it to a good amount of use and wear and tear over the course of a day.

Sapphires are more widely found than are rubies partly because while the chromium makes the red of the ruby it also causes fissures and cracks in the same crystal, which restricts development and growth of the gemstone.

With sapphires however the iron and titanium that make the gemstone blue, do not put a restriction on its growth. The end result is larger sizes and a greater number of sapphires.

Two important aspects must be considered when purchasing a sapphire, the hue or color and blemishes.

The hue’s intensity will determine how expensive a sapphire is. Some sapphires that are dark blue do not contain a good reflective quality and appear in low lighting to be black. Those types should not be purchased.

Blemishes should be minimum on a sapphire in order to give the gemstone more clarity. The clarity should be good on a sapphire with strong, light reflective qualities. Nevertheless, there are blemishes with one called silk, which are not a bad thing, as their presence means there was no heat treatment performed on the stone.

Heat treatments are used commonly on sapphires to eliminate flaws as well as improve color and a perceived quality. Less than 1% of the gemstones that are extracted from the ground are considered gemstone quality.


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