If you read any technological news you probably know all about this, and if not, you may have noticed after typing the word “sapphire” into your search engine that the first and fifteenth result had something to do with Apple, iPhones, and sapphires. We all caught wind of this story months ago, when Apple was merely whispering about the possibility of using sapphire-glass as screens, and Gorilla Glass, Apple’s current supplier of screens, was probably feeling the similar affect that real gorillas feel being encroached upon in their jungle.
Now after months of planning and swift deliberation, Apple has teamed with GT Advanced Technologies to begin producing synthetic sapphire-glass. The great part of this story is that Apple and GT have been approved for a manufacturing plant in Mesa, Arizona that will create over 700 jobs. It will also be nice to have at least one piece of your phone Made in America.
Synthetic sapphire, also known as lab-grown corundum or aluminum oxide, is commonly used in the jewelry market either sold by someone attempting to deceive their customer, or bought by someone wanting to deceive everyone else. In the industrial market the use of synthetic sapphire is nothing new, having for a long time been used in lasers and bar code scanners. Whether colored by various elemental ingredients in the laboratory and then faceted and polished, or made crystal clear ready to be sliced for industrial uses; both examples are formed using similar synthetic processes, that use a melted mixture of aluminum oxide that slowly cools resulting in what’s called a boule.
In all of the articles on Apple’s deal with GT and the possibility of sapphire-glass screens for your next iPhone; the writers repeat the words sapphire, and gemstone, and indestructible over and over. You wouldn’t have kept reading had they not, but the truth is that none of those words are accurate to describe the thin sheet of synthetically crystallized aluminum oxide that Apple is planning to replace the present screens with. Synthetic corundum is also not a “gemstone,” as to be called a gemstone is to imply that it is natural, rare, durable, and beautiful. Finally, the greatest emphasis is placed on the synthetic sapphire-glass screens that will be “indestructible.” With sapphire’s hardness of 9 on the Mohs Scale, second to diamond, the synthetic sapphire-glass screens will certainly be more resistant to scratching – just one of the many reasons why sapphire engagement rings are so popular – however, just like diamonds and sapphires, the iPhone screens will Not be indestructible. More than for the false advertising, our concern at The Natural Sapphire Company is that with the increased production of synthetic sapphire, there is the increased chance for more synthetic “gemstones” entering the market. Luckily for our customers we have a team of gemologists making sure that every stone we sell is natural. Synthetics are Nothing compared to the Real Thing!
However, all this being said, once Apple sends out that iPhone 6 with the “sapphire screen” bring your new phone to us so we can make it a little more natural.