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Sapphires 101

What Does “Natural” & “Untreated” Mean?

The word “natural” identifies a sapphire crystal that has been developed in the ground, not synthetically created or treated in a lab.  The word  “Untreated” means that a sapphire has not undergone any heat or chemical treatments to improve its color or clarity.

Today, nearly all sapphire stones and jewelry  from online sources and in stores are described as “natural” if it isn’t a synthetic that is lab created. Don’t be misled, these “natural stones” may  come straight from the ground but their color and clarity are often results of chemical procedures or heat treatments. The color and clarity of these treated stones are often created through a heating process. During this high heat treatment, additives such as glass and coloring agents can be included to fill natural cavities and cracks in the sapphires. The coloring agents are then diffused  throughout the crystal, completely altering the stones original color.

The rough blue sapphire crystal
The rough blue sapphire crystal

How Common Are Treated Sapphires?

Treated sapphires are very common, they represent the norm in today’s market and come in unlimited quantities. Consumers looking for true value in their sapphire jewelry should be aware of misleading descriptions of what is “natural” or “standard”. We always disclose treatment on our stones if there is any and we describe our stones to the best of our abilities as ethical sellers.

How Can I Tell If My Sapphire Is Treated?

There is no substitute for the beauty of an untreated sapphire.
There is no substitute for the beauty of an untreated sapphire.

New treatment protocols are continuously being developed.  Trained gemologists can often spot the telltale signs of gem treatments, but advanced technology is often used for 100% accuracy in treatment detection. Regardless, ethical business practices in the gem and jewelry industry require sellers to disclose any known treatments or enhancements, since they have a significant impact on the actual value of the gemstone itself.  Ethical sellers will provide customers with these certifications. Now you understand how natural untreated sapphires differ from their counterparts, learn what these precious gems are made of in Corundum Crystals And Chemistry!