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How To Spot A Real Vs Fake Sapphire

A real sapphire owing to their high value and rarity are a prime target for deception. If you’re planning to buy a real sapphire , observing some basic tell-tale signs can help you spot a fake. However, only a careful examination by a skillful gemologist such as our experts at Kanjimull And Sons can definitively identify high quality genuine sapphires. Ask our jewelry expert.

1. Visible flaws in Sapphire

This can be tough as even the natural sapphires have flaws. But a lot of cavities, visible seams, fractures, different visible planes and slight damages along the gem facets are signs of a fake or low quality sapphires. Whereas natural sapphire may have impurities caused by inclusions. These inclusions appear as thin lines to the naked eye which when magnified look like tiny needles.

Glass Filled Blue Sapphire
Silk Like Impurities in Sapphire

2. Odd Color Concentrations

Fake sapphires have lead glass fillings. These portions may exhibit uneven color concentrations. There could be small and tiny fissures, seams and parting planes that have high concentration of color. These can be more visible in rubies and blue composite sapphires with some level of magnification. A natural sapphire however will not have such abnormal color concentrations.

Odd color concretions in a Sapphire
Odd color concretions in a Sapphire

3. Visible damage signs in sapphire

Sapphire (basically a mineral corundum) scores 9 on Mohs hardness scale only a step behind diamond which is a 10. Real sapphires are extremely scratch resistance. If you rub it hard against a coin or a key, you will see no damages. Whereas a fake sapphire with lead glass filling on it’s surface gets scratch marks easily with metal. Fake sapphires are also prone to damages along the weak facets of the gemstone. Therefore jagged and damaged facet meeting lines are indications of a fake sapphire.

4. Watch the reflection of sapphires

Different colors of the sapphire exists due to it’s chemical imperfections. A 100% pure corundum will be colorless, a further extension to white stone. Different foreign elements included into the stine during it’s natural formation process will absorb different wave lengths of different colors, thereby refracting only the wave length of the color that was not absorbed. This is the visible color of a gemstone.

Flashes of Color in a sapphire

However the presence of lead glass in the fake gemstone will refract and disperse the light into not one but multiple colors of the rainbow spectrum.

#Also read about Ceylon Sapphire

5. Flash Effect

One of the known characteristics of fake stones are made by lead glass filling is the slight blue color flash effect. This will be visible through a standard jewelers microscope. The different refractive levels of the low quality natural gemstone host and lead glass causes these blue to violet color flashes.

Blue to Violet Flash Effect

6. Dip in some cleaning liquids

When fake gemstone is immersed in household cleaners, acids or alcohol, the glass filling of the fractures gets damaged and etched. These fracture fillings become much more visible with some level of magnification. The complete appearance of the fake gemstone is visibly tarnished by this test whereas a natural gemstone is unaffected.

7. Air Bubbles and Reflective Black Spots

One of the most evident feature of fake one is a lot of bubbles in the interior of the gemstone. Sometimes these bubbles can be seen as slightly reflective tiny black spots. These will be readily visible with a certain level of magnification or even to the naked eye if inspected very closely under different lighting conditions.

Bubbles and Black Spots

8. Fog test of the Sapphire

Another accepted method is to do a fog test. Breathe on to the surface of the gemstone till it gets fogged. If the fog clears out instantly, the gemstone may be real, whereas fake one will need a few seconds to clear. This is due to high heat conductivity.

Read our guide before buying Sapphire

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