How to Identify Sapphires

By LaTasha Favors

Sapphires are among the most beautiful and most precious gems in the world. They come in a wide spectrum of colors, the most popular of which include yellow, pink and a mixture of orange hues. Sapphires are often associated with the color blue. The term is derived from the Greek word 'sappheirous,' which means blue. These gems, however, are not always blue in color. They are formed of corundum with traces of aluminum oxide. A red corundum gemstone is classified as a ruby, while every other color is considered a sapphire.

Examine the sapphire closely. Look for metallic platelets, flux fingerprints or glass bubbles. You may need a lens or another type of instrument to do this. Genuine sapphires do not have these imperfections. If the sapphire has any of these signs, it may be a treated stone or simply a fake.

Ask the seller about the name of the gem. Sapphires come in a variety of names based on where they were mined. There are Australian sapphires, Burmese (now Myanmar) sapphires, Thai sapphires, Kashmir sapphires, Montana or Yogo sapphires, Oriental sapphires and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) sapphires. Sapphires that are named after these places are more likely to be genuine.

Look at the color of the stone. Each sapphire, mined from its own specific location or country of origin, may vary in color or hue. For example, if the sapphire is light blue in color, chances are it is from Sri Lanka. A sapphire whose color is a combination of orange and pink is a padparadscha, another kind of sapphire mined in Sri Lanka. A sapphire with a deep blue color would be a Kashmir sapphire.

Familiarize yourself with the different descriptive names used in distinguishing sapphires. This will help you determine whether the gem is genuine or not. For instance, you may encounter names such as Water Sapphire, Chatham Sapphire and Lux Sapphire. Such names do not refer to genuine sapphires. They are descriptive names for synthetic gems that are made of iolite or other synthetic materials.

About the Author

LaTasha Favors has been writing professionally since 2008. She specializes in travel- and health-related topics and has published articles on various websites, including Search-costa-rica.com and MyFrenchRealEstate.com.