How to tell if a sapphire is real
How to tell if sapphire is real
Do you have a natural sapphire stone that you are questioning the authenticity of? Well, here are some simple investigative techniques you can try on your own, no gemologist required, to quickly tell if your sapphire crystal is real or not.


The first step in determining the authenticity of a sapphire stone is to hunt for any imperfections, defects, or impurities. To test if it is real, use a magnifying glass. To determine if the sapphire gem is real, inspect its surface closely. If it is a natural gemstone, you will see small imperfections on its surface attributable to nature's development.

Although untreated sapphires are sometimes entirely flawless, the presence of minute impurities is likely an indication that you have a natural sapphire stone. Sapphire stones without inclusions are frequently suspected as manufactured or glass imitations. Inclusions are obvious to the naked eye in many situations, but they are only viewable with 10x magnification in others.

Sapphire inclusions can take the form of other minerals, cracks, or fractures. These natural flaws are generally a good sign that the stone is real if you see inclusions.

Types of Inclusions in Natural Sapphires:

A variety of gemstone inclusions can form within a natural sapphire. Check your suspected sapphire for some of the inclusion types listed below.

A. Needles

Needles are long and thin mineral inclusions. These natural flaws often occur in groups, giving the sapphire a striated appearance. Because they cross with one another, they are known as silk and have a silky-looking white texture, which is see-through or transparent on occasion. Silk inclusions are also responsible for asterism in star sapphires.

All sapphires don't contain silk inclusions. Instead, silk is an example of a sapphire addition that may actually increase its value. The highly reflective rutile needles scatter light within a cut sapphire in modest amounts, helping to illuminate the stone's deeper facets and increasing its brilliance.

B. Mineral Crystals

Minerals trapped inside a natural gemstone might be bright, dark, transparent, or opaque. For example, minute crystals of hematite, zircon, spinel, calcite, and mica are frequent in sapphires. White crystals are preferable since the sapphire's hue should hide them; darker crystals, on the other hand, can dull the sapphire's color and make it appear opaque.

C. Feathers

Feathers are small inclusions that have the wispy appearance of a feather in sapphire stones. Many of these feathers are white, and if they're big enough, they might cause damage to the sapphire stone's structural integrity. Feather inclusions are tiny breaks or fractures that have little effect on the appearance of the stone.

When these small feather inclusions cluster together, they resemble tiny human fingerprints.

D. Fingerprints

These 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, such inclusions have little if any impact on the stone's quality.

E. Color Zoning

Most real sapphire jewelry is primarily blue and does not feature secondary shades. Color zoning may sometimes result from inclusions, causing portions of the sapphires to appear white.

These are areas or bands of alternating color in a stone. Color zoning is normal during the crystal's formation and is common in rough form. This kind of gemstone inclusion can be significantly reduced or enhanced through sapphire cutting.

F. Cavities

Cavities are voids or holes that extend from the surface of a gemstone into its interior. Cavity filling is a popular sapphire treatment that involves inserting color-infused glass into the cracks and fissures of a stone to fill them.

G. Liquid Inclusions

Within a gemstone, there are liquid-filled pockets. The existence of carbon dioxide fluid inclusions in sapphires indicates no heat treatment is utilized on the stone.

H. Halo or Discoid Fractures

These are oval or circular fractures surrounding a solid or liquid inclusion. Radioactive disintegration of small zircon crystals causes stress, leading to halo or discoid fractures. The high temperatures from heat treatment can also cause inclusions in heat-treated sapphires.


Another way to test the authenticity of your sapphire gemstone is a simple breath test. You can identify a real sapphire by quickly fogging it up. Track how long it takes the mist to disappear completely. If it is natural stone, the mist will disappear within a few seconds. On the other hand, if a sapphire crystal is synthetic, it will take a few more seconds to disappear.


To test if a sapphire gemstone is real, look for air bubbles in the stones. These bubbles are a consequence of creating synthetic stones in laboratories using glass. Inspect the sapphire gems from all angles to ensure no air bubbles, as this could indicate an artificial stone.


To identify the authenticity of a sapphire crystal, the scratch test is another useful method. For example, if you have two sapphires and you know that one is real, you can use it to scratch the suspected stone. If the sapphire bauble you scratch is real, you will not see any scratching because stones of equal hardness do not scratch one another. If you notice that a scratch appears, it is not an authentic sapphire.


Another way to determine if a sapphire jewel is genuine is by checking how it reflects light. To identify if the suspected sapphire stone is real, stay in total darkness and use a flashlight to test it. If the stone is genuine, light of the same color as the sapphire reflects back. If it is a fake sapphire jewel (usually made of glass), you will be able to see other colors in the crystal.


Sapphires come in various colors, and if you suspect that the gemstone you have is an authentic sapphire, there's only one way to be sure: take it to a gemologist appraiser. A gemologist will evaluate it using specific tools such as refractometers, magnifying polaris scopes, etc. You will then receive a gemological report, and in it, the lab will state if your stone is a real sapphire gem or not.

A gemologist appraiser will also tell you if your stone is a heat-treated sapphire. These unnatural treatments are not harmful, but they could significantly lower your sapphire stone's value. A heat-treated sapphire will have a different value than a naturally occurring sapphire of the same color because the heat treatment creates fractures and fissures in the stone, which are not natural in nature.


To sum up, you can use several investigative techniques to tell if your natural sapphire jewelry is real. The most reliable way is to have it appraised by a certified gemologist. However, there are other ways to tell if you have a natural sapphire besides having a certified gemologist investigate the gem, which is costly and time-consuming. Some easier methods include looking at a sapphire's features, checking its refractive index, and testing its gemstone hardness. By following these simple tips, you can feel more confident in the authenticity of your sapphire jewelry.