Always check your sapphires are certified by a trustworthy lab to
1. Confirm the type of precious stone,
2. Ensure that it is a natural sapphire, and
3. Identify all known treatments.
Sapphires can be subjected to a number of human treatments, from industry accepted heat treatments to generally unaccepted fracture filling and diffusion treatments.
We certify our stones in trusted labs and disclose all known treatments on our gemstones. For non-sale items and purchases greater than $2500, we offer free re-certification at Gem Studies Lab in Sydney (Gemmological Association of Australia's recommended lab) upon purchase and on request. Please note that this will add ~5-10 business days to the order.
If the stone is found to have an undisclosed treatment, we will offer a full refund and provide a discount on your next purchase.
High temperature heating
An ancient practice that is accepted
High temperature heating (greater than 1700C) is an industry accepted practice to improve the colour and clarity of sapphires. The treatment is permanent and does not degrade over time.
During this process, natural inclusions and ‘silks’ in sapphires melt and undergo ‘healing’ and recrystallisation. Depending on other conditions, the dance of chemistry affecting colour can change and cause a change in colour.
An estimated 90% or more of sapphires undergo this treatment. This implies that unheated sapphires command a premiumdue to their extreme rarity, particularly those with exceptional colour, clarity and carat size. We offer a collection of both unheated and heated stones.
Ultimately, what we care about most is if the gemstone is beautiful, has charisma and, in Marie Kondo’s words, sparks joy to us! Any treatment must be industry accepted, stable and non-deceptive.
Synthetic lab made sapphires
Limited natural beauty, character and rarity
Sapphires can be made synthetically and easily in a lab using the 'Verneuil process' or 'hydrothermal synthesis' processes.
While synthetic sapphires are more readily available and much cheaper, we believe synthetic sapphires lack the character, charisma, beauty, rarity and long term value of natural sapphires.
Given this, we do not sell synthetic stones.
Non standard treatments
Be wary of other treatments
Unlike standard heat treatment, other treatments such as surface diffusion (Titanium treatment, Beryllium treatment), radiation treatment (applied to pale yellow, brown or grey sapphires) and fracture filling (glass filling of cavities) are non-standardand sometimes unstable treatments and must be disclosed by labs and sellers if known.
These sapphires are much less valuable and should be priced much lower.
If identified by a lab, we do not sell any sapphires with these treatments.
A tough deception to detect
Beryllium treatments involve heating sapphires with a source of beryllium under extremely high temperatures. During this process, the beryllium ion (a relatively small and light ion) diffuses deep into the sapphire and adds a distinct yellow / orange hue.
This process was used in the early 2000s to deceptively create and sell artificially coloured sunset padparadscha sapphires. Beryllium treatment was applied to pink sapphires to create padparadscha with the much sought after sunset colours.
Detection of this treatment requires the use of specialised and expensive lab techniques (SIMS, LA-ICP-MS, and LIBs). As of today, only a handful of University labs offer Beryllium testing in Australia.
We aim to test for Beryllium treatment in large (4Ct+), heated padparadscha and yellow sapphires with the distinct yellow-orange hue.
However, if Beryllium testing was not possible (e.g. due to closure of labs during Covid-19), we will disclose it transparently to our customers.
An artificial layer of blue
Titanium treatments, involves heating sapphires with a source of titanium in high temperatures. The process is similar to Beryllium treatment, with titanium ions causing the formation of a layer of blue colour on the surface.
Compared to Beryllium treatment, Titanium creates a much thinner layer of blue due to the larger size of Titanium ion.
We do not recommend sapphires that have undergone this treatment as the colour can be lost if the stone is recut or polished deeply.