The Appeal Of White Sapphires
White sapphires, also known as “leucosapphire,”are not really white at all, but transparent and colorless. White sapphires are pure sapphires. These stones are just about the rarest type of sapphire found. A sapphire obtains its color when it has trace mineral content within the crystal itself. The type of mineral within the sapphire will determine what color will show.
White sapphires are becoming more and more popular as the perfect alternative to a diamond, especially with engagement rings. For people who don’t want to go with color, but also may be conflicted for financial and ethical reasons, choosing a white sapphire is the ideal route for not sacrificing any beauty and durability in a stone.
The Standard For White Sapphires
A chemically pure sapphire crystal is exceptionally unusual. These stones are pure corundum, meaning they have no internal minerals. A white sapphire that is completely untreated and natural is something very much similar to a diamond in appearance, as they show excellent light reflection in direct sunlight.
Untreated white sapphires are the most prized since nothing has been introduced, like glass or coloring agents, to alter their color or clarity.
How Does Cut Affect The Color?
Because color is not a factor in the value of a white sapphire, clarity is absolutely critical to the stone’s status as a gem. Visible inclusions diminish the value of white sapphires far more than they would in colored stones. White sapphires have a specific luster to their appearance, so the proper cut is essential to maximize the brilliance and sparkle.
A gemstone with perfect, internally flawless clarity will be whiter, brighter, and have more brilliance than any other. Cuts that accentuate these features in a gemstone are the way to go, especially when considering stones over 1 carat in size.
What Is The Availability Of These Gems?
White sapphires are found in all sizes, but the larger the stone, the less likely that it will be entirely colorless. Therefore, small white sapphires are more common in the marketplace than large ones. White sapphires can occur in almost any corundum deposit, but gem-quality stones are exceedingly rare.
Since the quantity of natural untreated white sapphires currently being found is very low, the market has not been able to catch up to really promote the beauty of white sapphires. Stones over 1 carat in size are going to be more difficult to find, but absolutely worth it when you do.
Where Can They Be Found?
Most larger, gem-quality white sapphires are procured from Sri Lanka, and are commonly referred to as Ceylon white sapphires. Other countries such as Australia, Thailand, Burma, Madagascar, and Tanzania are also producing white sapphires, but in smaller quantities and nowhere near the gemstone quality as those from Sri Lanka.
Moving away from faceted sapphires, next explore the rare and special world of Star Sapphires.