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how to tell if a sapphire is real

How To Tell If A Sapphire Is Real


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Introduction On how to tell if a sapphire is real

How to tell if a blue sapphire is real? Blue sapphires are among the most prized gemstones in the world. But with so many blue stones out there, could you pick one of these out of a lineup? How to tell if a sapphire is real? Today, we will give you some basic tips and hints to help you start understanding what to look for in blue sapphires, in both faceted and crystal form.

How To Tell If Sapphire Is Real?

how to tell if a sapphire is real

In this article, we discuss easy ways to tell if a sapphire is real.

1. Observation

How to tell if a sapphire is real? First, observation is key and the most important starting method that gemologists use in helping them identify a gem. 

Begin by checking out how your stone reflects light. A polished sapphire usually exhibits a bright vitreous luster, meaning it should reflect light much like glass, only a little brighter. Sometimes it can even border on metallic-looking. Even a rough stone may have this type of luster. They should also have some degree of translucency, meaning at least some light should pass through them.

2. Color

How to tell if a sapphire is real? Of course, color is key here. Blue, but it’s more challenging than you might think. Many people may think blue sapphires have that customary deep inky blue color. 

Sapphires, a form of the mineral corundum, come in all colors, and blue sapphires can exhibit many shades owing to the trace amounts of iron and titanium. Generally, the more titanium, the more vivid the color, and the more iron, the darker it becomes.

3. Shape

How to tell if a sapphire is real? Well, if you have a rough crystal, you can also check out the shape. 

Sapphire often occurs in long, steep, six-sided pyramids and is sometimes barrel-shaped. They may show horizontal or diagonal striations along their sides. It may feature triangular growth marks on the top. 

However, Mother Nature doesn’t always give us nice textbook crystal shapes. Many sapphires come from alluvial deposits like riverbeds and can be very water-worn, so they may not display a defined shape or surface features.

4. Magnification

How to tell if a sapphire is real? Assuming we have a faceted sapphire, what else can we look for? 

Well, the next step is magnification to take a closer look inside the gem. A 10-times loop should be sufficient for most purposes. 

Trained gemologists can look for inclusions inside a gemstone to give them an indication of its identity or indication of possible treatments or synthesis. 

For natural sapphire, they’ll look for particular inclusion features, such as fine needles that reflect the light. These can often occur in sapphire in a crossing pattern and are called silk. Feathers and fingerprints result from tiny cracks and healed fractures that occur during crystal growth. 

Disc-shaped features called halos or even other little crystals may also be inside. Some sapphires also display angular, often hexagonal, color zoning. 

Remember, some of these features can also be found in other gemstones. So while they’re good clues and great indicators of natural material, another test will be required to ensure it’s a sapphire.

Other Tools You Need To Tell A Real Sapphire

How to tell if a sapphire is real? You’ll need a few other tools in your pocket if you want to distinguish your blue sapphire from blue lookalikes, such as topaz, tourmaline, spinel, and others.

1. Dicroscope 

A dicroscope is a handy little tool to observe pleochroism and color-translucent stones. It’s a must-have tool if you want to tell a real sapphire. How does this work? 

When light enters many gems, it gets split into two distinct components. Because these two components can vibrate differently as they move through the gem, the gem may appear differently colored depending on the direction in which you look through it. 

The differences can be slight or dramatic. A dicroscope consists of two polarized filters set at right angles, allowing us to look at two of these colors side by side. 

You typically see a blue-to-greenish-blue color difference in blue sapphire. 

Remember, it’s important when using the dicroscope to rotate the gemstone in all directions while testing it and to use a diffused light source. 

Even a small change of color can help distinguish your gem from spinel, garnet, and even glass, none of which split the light into separate components, so their color stays uniform throughout.

2. Spectroscope

How to tell if a sapphire is real? Another great tool is the spectroscope. It can help you to tell if a sapphire is real. When you push light through a colored stone or bounce a strong light off its surface, a spectroscope can show you what band’s invisible light is being absorbed. 

These patterns are often unique to specific gem varieties and can be great evidence of the gem’s identity. For best results, make sure that you get as much light passing through the gem, make it really glow. A warm tungsten light source is ideal.

Blue sapphires typically show a single dark band in the blue portion of the spectrum. Others may show two or three bands in the blue set close together. 

But bear in mind that if the sapphire is a very pale blue, it may not display a clear absorption spectrum or any at all. However, if you do see it, there’s a very good chance that what you have is a sapphire. Topaz, tourmaline, zircon, and others should not show this type of spectrum. 

3. Refractometer

How to tell if a sapphire is real? To really be sure it’s sapphire, one of the next steps any good gemologist will carry out for identification is to test the gemstone’s refractive indices, or RI. This is a numerical measure of how much a gemstone bends light and is usually unique and definitive for each gemstone.

This is done with a refractometer, which is a tool that won’t quite fit in your pocket, but it would make a handy desk accessory. Or you could see if your local jeweler has one.

Conclusion On How to tell if a sapphire is real

We hope we’ve given you a lot to look for and some inspiration for trying out some gem testing and you like this post about how to tell if a sapphire is real. Remember, observation first, then go deeper with your collective gem tools and check for inclusions, pleochroism, and the absorption spectrum.

If you’re still befuddled about how to tell if a sapphire is real, don’t worry. Being a gemology ninja doesn’t happen overnight. It can take time and experience to master some of these skills. The more gems you see, the more you’ll be able to tell them apart.

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