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 stone and an imitation. So we'll give you some tips and tricks to help you determine if that sapphire is the real thing!


A real sapphire stone is very rare and valuable; as a result, most of the sapphires on the market are actually fake look-alike stones. One way to tell if a sapphire is real is by looking for flaws. A real sapphire stone will often have small imperfections like cavities or feathers (due to its natural formation in nature). In contrast, fake sapphires are unnaturally perfect because they consist of lower-quality materials (like glass), and the artificial manufacturing process is more precise than nature.

However, the lack of gemstone 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 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 stone - but it's more likely fake.

Types of Inclusions in Natural Sapphires:

Various types of gemstone inclusions range in real sapphire stones, from feathers to fractures. To better understand whether you have a real or fake sapphire, check your suspected "real" sapphire for some of these common gemstone inclusion types listed below.

A. Needles

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 occasionally.

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 real 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.

C. Feathers

Feathers are small gemstone 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 a sapphire stone's structural integrity leading to a lower price.


D. Fingerprints

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; they are tiny, so they have little, if any, impact on the stone's quality.

E. Color Zoning

Color zoning is another type of gemstone inclusion that can affect a sapphire stone's value. Color zoning refers to areas of different color concentrations within the same sapphire stone. For example, a real blue sapphire might be predominantly blue with small patches of yellow or green. These different color areas 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.

Real 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 a natural sapphire's color, making it appear mottled or patchy.

F. Cavities

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

Liquid inclusions are small pockets of liquids (usually water) trapped inside a sapphire stone. Liquid inclusions can be clear, white, yellow, or even greenish in color; they might also contain gas bubbles.

While most liquid inclusions don't affect a sapphire's value, some might make a sapphire stone appear flawed overall. For example, liquid inclusions can scatter light, making the sapphire appear cloudy or milky—the larger and more visible the liquid inclusion, the lower the sapphire stone's value.

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.


Another way to test if you have an authentic sapphire stone is a simple breath test. You can quickly identify a sapphire stone from a faux by fogging it up with your breath. Once you fog up the stone 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 is naturally good at conducting heat. In contrast, a fake sapphire stone will take about 5 seconds or more to dissolve the fog.


To test if a sapphire stone is real, inspect the stone from all angles for air bubbles. Air bubbles result when a synthetic stone is created in a laboratory setting using glass. So, if you see air bubbles, then it's not a real sapphire.



To identify an authentic sapphire stone, the scratch test is a useful method. If you have two sapphires and know one is a natural sapphire stone, you can use it for scratching 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 stone in question is not an authentic sapphire.


Another method to determine if you have a genuine sapphire is by checking how the stone 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 you have a genuine sapphire, the same color as the sapphire stone should reflect back. However, if it is a fake sapphire (usually made of glass), you will see other color reflections in the crystal.


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 for evaluation. 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 from a faux one can be tricky, but it's important to know the difference between a real sapphire and an imitation. The best way to ensure that you have an authentic sapphire is to take it to a professional gemologist. But before you do that, you can also use these five tests—inclusions, reflection, breath, air bubbles, and scratch test—to determine if the stone is genuine. Good luck!