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How to detect fake:

Sapphire Gemestones


If you're not an expert, it is very hard to tell a real sapphire from a synthetic or something relatively new to the market, "Lead Glass Filled Sapphires". Below are some examples of each of these, so you can determine whether the sapphire you have is natural or not.


Sapphire Gemestones - Step 1, picture 1 Sapphire Gemestones - Step 1, picture 2
1
The example on the left is a real sapphire. One thing to look for in a natural sapphire are flaws. Most real stones have flaws of some kind. In the picture above, on the left, you can see near the center there is a black speck. That is called an inclusion and is what you're looking for in a real one. To examine the stone you will need a jewelers loupe (x10) (magnifying glass). Place the sapphire in front of the light and you will be able to see the inclusions.

In the fake picture above, you can see the lines. This is a synthetic stone called a "Flame Fusion Sapphire". These stones look very good to the naked eye but they are man made.

Sapphire Gemestones - Step 2, picture 1 Sapphire Gemestones - Step 2, picture 2
2
The examples above shows the "Lead Glass Filled Sapphire" or "Composite Sapphire". By looking through the loupe, with the sapphire in front of a light, you can see the bubbles that are in the glass. This is created in the glass as it cools.

Another thing to look for in the reflected light are lots of intersecting lines looking something like a spider web or a fingerprint where the glass is holding things together.

These are actual sapphires but they are very low quality, too low to sell for jewelry so they are filled with lead glass to make the flaws transparent so they can pass as a much higher quality stone.

Sapphire Gemestones - Step 3, picture 1
3
The "Lead Glass Filled Sapphire" is very vulnerable to chemicals, including jewelry cleaners. In the above picture on the right, you can see the damage cleaning chemicals can do to a composite sapphire even after a short period in the cleaning solution. This damage is permanent and not reparable. This kind of damage can also be caused by the heat from a jeweler resizing a ring.

Sapphire Gemestones - Step 4, picture 1
4
Probably the easiest quick test is the "Breath Test" or "Fog Test". Very low tech but it works because sapphires are efficient heat conductors.

Breath on it for about 1 second. If it's real, after about 2 seconds, you will see the fog evaporate. It will evaporate fast, in about 1 second.

If it's fake, it can take more than 5 seconds to start evaporating and 2-3 to complete.
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