Sapphire Buying Guide


Sapphire’s high hardness means it’s very resistant to scratching. Thus, it makes an excellent jewelry stone for any occasion. These gems also show pleochroism, two different colors when viewed from different angles. In rare cases, mineral crystal inclusions can create star sapphires, specimens that display a “star stone” effect known as  asterism. Some rare gems can also change color, depending on the light source. 

However, since gem-quality natural sapphires are rare and the demand so great, you’ll commonly find synthetics and imitations on the market. They also frequently receive treatments and enhancements for the same reasons.

What is a Sapphire?

Gem-quality corundum falls into two categories: ruby or sapphire. All red corundum gems (however defined) are considered rubies. All other colors are considered sapphires. Thus, sapphires occur in every color except red.

Commercially, blue sapphires are commonly referred to as simply sapphires. This reflects not only the persistent cultural association of sapphire with the color blue but also the consumer demand for blue sapphires. You may find sapphires of other colors referred to as “fancy sapphires,” as in our IGS Sapphire Value Listing. Nevertheless, all sapphires are non-red corundum gemstones. When discussing optical …

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Content Length 3723 words
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  • What is a Sapphire?
  • Sapphire Buying and the Four Cs
    • Color
      • What Makes a Blue Sapphire?
      • Purple and Green Sapphires
      • Pink Sapphires
    • Clarity
      • Top Tier Clarity
      • Second Tier Clarity
      • Third Tier Clarity
    • Cut
    • Carat
  • Sapphire Buying and Jewelry Uses
  • Sapphire Origins and Trade Names
    • Kashmir Sapphires
    • Burmese or Myanmar Sapphires
    • Ceylon or Sri Lankan Sapphires
    • Montana Sapphires
    • Cambodian Sapphires
    • Thai and Australian Sapphires
    • Beware of Sapphires with Two Names
  • Sapphire Buying and Phenomenal Effects
    • Color Change Sapphires
    • Star Sapphires
      • Black Star Sapphires
      • Star Sapphire Quality Factors
  • Synthetic Sapphires
    • Indications of Synthetic Origin
  • Heat Treatments
    • How to Detect Heat Treatment
  • Other Enhancements
  • Sapphire Buying as an Investment

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