Sapphire Treatments

STANDARD HEAT TREATMENT

WHAT IS HEAT TREATMENT IN SAPPHIRES?

As an accepted industry standard,  many rough sapphires are heat-treated in ovens to improve their color and clarity. However, some sapphires are found closer to thermal venting in the earth, which can produce beautiful color through natural heating. By heating sapphires that are not found in these locations, we mimic this natural process. It is estimated that as many as 85% of all sapphires available today are heated.  No radiation, chemicals, or health risks are involved in this process.

Richland marks those of our sapphires which have been heated in this way as having “Standard Heat” treatment. Unheated sapphires are priced at a premium and are marked as “Unheated”.

TREATMENTS TO AVOID

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY SAPPHIRE HAS BEEN TREATED INAPPROPRIATELY?

There are many other types of colored gemstone treatments which are not standard and will impair the value of the gemstone. The easiest way to avoid non-standard treatments is by knowing the origin of your sapphire and dealing with a reputable company. The following treatments are never found at Richland Gemstones:

IRRADIATION

Causes permanent color change at the molecular level. Most reputable jewelers will disclose this treatment, as it can result in colors that would not occur in nature. However, the industry has seen cases of gemstones where this treatment goes undisclosed.

FRACTURE FILLS

A procedure where liquid colored glass or resin is forced into the cracks in a gemstone under high pressure. This treatment can make the cracks in the gemstone less noticeable, which temporarily improves transparency and/or clarity and can cause color change. This is not a permanent or stable treatment and can be removed from the gemstone, revealing the large and unattractive inclusions it has been masking. This problematic treatment may often be undisclosed and radically reduces the value of a gemstone.

SURFACE DYES

Surface dyes can alter the body color of a gem, and are not permanent. Often this treatment is used to pass off an impostor gemstone as a sapphire.