HOW TO TELL IF A SAPPHIRE IS REAL
Have you ever been curious if the sapphire jewelry you have is real? It can be difficult to tell the difference between a real sapphire and an imitation stone. We'll give you some tips and tricks to help you determine if that sapphire is the real thing!
1. LOOK FOR FLAWS
A real sapphire stone is very rare and valuable; as a result, most of the sapphires on the market are actually fake. One way to tell if a sapphire is real is by looking for flaws. A real sapphire stone will often have small imperfections (due to its natural formation). In contrast, fake sapphires are unnaturally perfect because they consist of lower-quality materials (like glass), and the manufacturing process is often not as precise.
However, the lack of inclusions in a sapphire stone does not necessarily mean it is a fake sapphire. Untreated sapphires are sometimes entirely flawless, and inclusions appear only once they are heated or treated with chemicals. So, if you're looking at a sapphire that appears to be flawless, it could still be a real sapphire - but it's more likely to be fake.
Types of Inclusions in Natural Sapphires:
There are various types of sapphire inclusions ranging from feathers to fractures. To better understand whether you have a real or fake sapphire, check your suspected sapphire for some of these common inclusion types listed below.
Needles are long and thin mineral inclusions in sapphire stones. These natural flaws often occur in groups, giving a sapphire stone a striated appearance. Because these needles cross with one another, they are known as silk and have a silky-looking white texture, which is see-through or transparent on occasion.
B. Mineral Crystals
Minerals trapped inside a natural sapphire stone might be bright, dark, transparent, or opaque. For example, minute hematite, zircon, spinel, calcite, and mica crystals are frequent in sapphires. White crystal inclusions are preferable since the sapphire's hue should hide them; darker crystal inclusions, on the other hand, can dull the sapphire's color and make it appear opaque.
Feathers are small inclusions with the wispy appearance of a feather in sapphire stones. Many of these feather inclusions are white, and if they're big enough, they might cause damage to the sapphire stone's structural integrity leading to a lower price.
Fingerprint inclusions are fingerprint-shaped networks of tiny liquid-filled tubes. The creation of fingerprint inclusions results from sapphires re-crystallizing to partially heal a fracture zone. Fingerprint inclusions are pretty typical in sapphires, although because they are tiny, they have little if any impact on the stone's quality.
E. Color Zoning
Color zoning is another type of inclusion that can affect the value of a sapphire stone. Zoning refers to areas of different color concentrations within the same sapphire stone. For example, a sapphire might be predominantly blue with small patches of yellow or green. These areas of different colors are known as "zones."
Color zoning is a completely natural occurrence in a real sapphire stone. It occurs while the crystal forms deep in the earth, and different elements (such as iron, chromium, or vanadium) become concentrated in different stone areas.
Sapphires with strong color zoning are less valuable than those without any zoning or with only light zoning. That's because the zoning can affect the sapphire's color, making it appear mottled or patchy.
Cavities are small, empty spaces within a sapphire stone appearing like crevices. Cavities create fault lines (weak points) in a natural sapphire stone leading to the formation of cleavages, which can break away if you apply enough force.
G. Liquid Inclusions
H. Halo or Discoid Fractures
Halo or discoid fractures are oval or circular fractures that appear like rings around a sapphire stone. These fractures occur when the sapphire is subject to sudden changes in temperature (such as during the cutting and polishing process). The high temperatures from heat treatment can also cause inclusions in heat-treated sapphires.
2. THE BREATH TEST
Another way to test the authenticity of your sapphire stone is a simple breath test. You can quickly identify a sapphire stone from a faux by fogging it up. Once you fog it up with your breath, track how long it takes the mist to disappear completely.
The mist will disappear within a few seconds if it is a natural sapphire stone because a real sapphire stone is naturally good at conducting heat. In contrast, a fake sapphire stone will take about 5 seconds or more to dissolve the fog.
3. CHECK FOR AIR BUBBLES
To test if a sapphire stone is real, inspect the stone from all angles for air bubbles. Air bubbles result from the creation of a synthetic stone in a laboratory setting using glass.
4. THE SCRATCH TEST
To identify the authenticity of a sapphire, the scratch test is a useful method. If you have two sapphires and know one is a natural sapphire stone, you can use it to scratch the stone in question. If the bauble you scratch is a real sapphire stone, you will not see any scratches because stones of equal hardness (two natural sapphires) can not scratch one another. If you notice that a scratch does appear, the suspected stone is not an authentic sapphire.
5. CHECK HOW LIGHT REFLECTS
Another way to determine if a sapphire jewel is genuine is by checking how it reflects light. To identify if your "sapphire" stone is real, stay in total darkness and use a flashlight to shine a light on it. If the stone is genuine, the same color as the sapphire stone reflects back. However, if it is a fake sapphire jewel (usually made of glass), you will see other color reflections in the crystal.
6. GET YOUR SAPPHIRE CERTIFIED
If you suspect that your stone is a real sapphire stone, there's only one way to be sure: take it to a gemologist appraiser. Imitation sapphires are plentiful, and some fakes can fool even the most expert jewelers. The best way to know for SURE if your stone is a real sapphire is to have it appraised by a professional.
Identifying a real sapphire stone can be tricky, but it's important to know the difference between a real one and an imitation. The best way to ensure that your stone is authentic is to take it to a professional gemologist. But before you do that, you can also use these six tests—color, cavities, liquid inclusions, halo or discoid fractures, breath test, air bubbles, and scratch test—to determine if the stone is genuine. Good luck!