Radiation And Sapphires, How Can They Be Related?
Pale yellow, faint brown, and grayish sapphires are sometimes exposed to controlled radiation in order to induce an attractive saturated golden yellow to orange-yellow color. While these stones are safe to wear, their color is not usually stable and will fade quickly under bright light or if heat is applied. Irradiation is hard to detect through laboratory testing, but gemologists and gem dealers will often subject suspect stones to a “fade test” by exposing them to intense light for a time and evaluating any change in color. A yellow or orange sapphire that fades in sunlight or with ordinary levels of heat is of limited value.
There is a lot to gain from learning about sapphire treatments, you now have a better understanding of how poor quality sapphires gain value. Be aware that these treated stones flood the jewelry market, making sapphires seem commonplace when in fact gem quality stones are extremely rare. Want to find out how these stones are extracted from their sources and where in the world these stones are mined? Check out our Sapphire Mining section and then watch out videos and see photos of the beautiful places where we get our sapphires.