How to Tell If Sapphire is Real or Fake

How to Tell If Sapphire is Real or Fake

Currently, sapphire is the most preferred gemstone alternative when it comes to engagement rings.

The most popular alternative gemstones for engagement rings today include sapphires. There are typically fewer sapphire engagement rings set in gold or platinum available in jewelry stores.

Thankfully, all sapphire jewelry colors are available online to everyone.

While it’s easy to find genuine sapphire, it’s also easy to find imitation sapphire stones online. If you are not an expert in gemstones, it may be difficult for you to determine whether a sapphire is genuine or not.

It’s our hope that this guide will come in handy when you’re shopping for sapphires.

How to Tell If a Sapphire is Real or Fake

Key Differences Between Real Sapphires and Fake Sapphires

Real sapphires and imitations differ primarily in the following ways:

In contrast to false sapphires, which can be any stone that calls itself a sapphire but is not corundum, real sapphires are a variety of the mineral corundum, whether they have undergone heat treatment or not.

In comparison to imitation sapphires, which are much softer and more susceptible to be scratched by glass, real sapphires are quite hard, scoring a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale.

Real sapphires fog up when you breathe on them, but they quickly clear up, unlike phony sapphires, which stay fogged up for a longer period of time.

Below, we’ll go into greater detail on these.

How Do Natural Sapphires Work?

Sapphire comes in a variety of colors, not simply blue, and is also known as the mineral corundum. Nonetheless, red sapphire does not exist. You probably know that red corundum, commonly known as ruby, is the birthstone for those born in July.

Impurities that come into touch with corundum crystals as they mature give sapphires their colors. White sapphire, one of the most popular diamond substitutes, can be colorless as well.

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Gem-quality corundum that has been extracted from the soil makes up natural sapphires. Natural sapphires can be discovered all over the world, although significant carat weights of excellent sapphires are uncommon.

Mohs Scale of Hardness

The mineral hardness scale is a well-known indicator of the stone’s identification and validity. You can easily determine a mineral’s scratchability level using the Mohs hardness scale. On the Mohs scale, sapphire and ruby are rated 9 and diamond is rated 10, respectively. This means that diamonds are the hardest minerals on earth and sapphires come a distant second.

Although the two stones’ hardness levels are similar, the math doesn’t work out the same way in the realm of gems. In actuality, corundum is 4 times more scratch-resistant than diamonds. Topaz, which rates an 8 on the hardness scale, is 2x harder than sapphires.

The Mohs scale can assist you determine whether you have a genuine sapphire or a fake one in addition to covering a gemstone’s scratch resistance. The iconic “scratch test” is used to do this.

The scratch test entails utilizing another mineral in place of your purported sapphire stone to check if it keeps its exterior in the same condition as a sapphire would. You can accomplish this by rubbing your stone against a piece of glass.

On the Mohs scale, glass is roughly a 5, which is far lower than sapphire, which is a 9. If you have a sapphire made of glass that has lead filling, the glass will leave scratches. True sapphire wouldn’t do that.

Sapphire Fog Test

One method for determining whether a diamond is real is the “fog test.” Sapphires can also be used for this. It is also known as the breathalyzer test. Just inhale through the sapphire as though you were trying to fog up a window when you were a child.

It’s more likely that you’ll have genuine sapphires in your hands if the fog lifts quickly. A false or glass sapphire is more likely to hold heat for longer. It goes without saying that you shouldn’t rely solely on this technique to tell whether your sapphire is genuine or false.

Natural Sapphires Vs Heat Treated Sapphire Jewelry Pieces

It can get confusing from here. “Natural sapphires” and “heat treated” are often used interchangeably. A treatment or enhancement applied to a stone doesn’t seem very natural to the average person, does it?

There are appropriate treatments for certain gemstones that don’t alter their value or cost. Usually, these are for rarer gemstones. Price and value can be affected by some gemstone treatments, either marginally or significantly.

Are sapphire treatments widespread then?

No other gemstone receives as many treatments as corundum, whether they are sapphire or ruby gemstones. While some sapphire treatments are allowed, their value and cost tend to decrease.

Natural stones that have been heated up are typically more popular and accepted. A natural sapphire stone can have its hue enhanced through heat treatments. One of the most expensive gemstones is sapphire that has not been treated.

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No Evidence of Treatment Natural Sapphire


Natural Sapphire Heat Treated



Examining a sapphire’s inclusions with a microscope or jeweler’s magnifying glass is one approach to determine whether or not it has undergone any treatment. The majority of sapphire inclusions are made of silk rutile during the manufacturing process. When corundum is cut en cabochon, star sapphires are produced in this manner.

As sapphires undergo thermal treatment, rutile inclusions dissolve. This usually produces a clearer, better-colored stone. Almost all corundum is treated, and oftentimes such procedures are imperceptible.

When the rutile inclusions melt, they leave behind disintegrated trails in the stone. So, if a sapphire lacks dispersed rutile remains, it is most likely a natural, untreated sapphire.

Synthetic Sapphires Vs Natural Sapphires

Artificial gemstones are not imitation sapphires. They share the same chemical, optical, and physical properties as sapphires found in nature. The same circumstances that cause corundum to form crystals underground are applied to them.

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At first glance, the average person probably couldn’t distinguish between a synthetic and genuine sapphire. It’s crucial to look more closely. The sapphire is more likely to have been manufactured in a laboratory if it is excessively flawless and devoid of inclusions. Yet, natural and lab-created sapphire can also appear very similar, as shown below. Since that lab-grown sapphires can sometimes cost as little as $5 per carat in some markets, the item’s pricing should also serve as a clue as to where it came from.

Lab Grown Sapphires


Natural Blue Sapphire


But, if you’re purchasing a costly sapphire, you should only purchase certified sapphires. Certifications guarantee that you receive the goods and services you paid for. It will also reveal whether your sapphire stone was created in a lab or naturally.

What is Fake Sapphire?

Any stones that are falsely marketed as genuine sapphires are known as fake sapphires. Another natural stone that is less expensive than fake sapphires is glass filled or whole glass fakes. By combining several materials that are unrelated to real gemstones, it is also possible to create counterfeit gemstones.

Sapphire Composites

Sapphires filled with lead glass will be significantly less expensive and valuable. They can alternatively be referred to as composite rubies or sapphires. Cobalt lead glass is used in lead glass fillings to repair fissures and cracks in corundum crystals of inferior grade. Because of the cobalt’s coloring, these cracks can be filled without being seen by the human eye.

Both the color and clarity of the stone can be enhanced once the fractures have been repaired. Compared to a heat-treated ruby, the value of this gemstone treatment is significantly lower.

Cubic Zirconia

A man-made version of a diamond is cubic zirconia. Natural cubic zirconia is no longer found anywhere in the world. A carat of cubic zirconia costs $5 or less. The supplies are easily accessible.

Sapphire Blue” Cubic Zirconia Ring- Fake Sapphire


Although being used as a diamond substitute, cubic zirconia can be found in all of the colors of the rainbow. It is frequently used in place of blue sapphire in less priced birthstone jewelry.

Other Different Blue Gemstones

Blue gemstones with lower value could pass for fake sapphires. Blue stones like blue tanzanite, blue iolite, and blue spinel could all be mistaken for genuine sapphire but aren’t.

Iolite Gems


Tanzanite Earring Studs



Glass will be the most typical material used to make faux sapphires. It is possible to shape natural glass to resemble a gemstone. Glass has bubbles as well, which can be used to distinguish actual items from fakes.

Pieces of Glass that Will Be Sapphire

Gemstone Certification

Using gemstone certification is the most reliable technique to determine whether a sapphire is genuine. A certified sapphire is hard to find and sells for more money than uncertified sapphires.

While discussing diamonds, we emphasize the significance of stone certification, but this is also true of other colored gemstones. Namely, the priceless jewels like emeralds, rubies, and sapphires.

Final Thoughts – How to Tell If a Sapphire is Real or Fake

Identifying a fake sapphire is not difficult. There are several ways to distinguish between real and imitation sapphire, including the scratch test, breath test, and by spotting inclusions using a jeweler’s loupe.

The typical person may find it challenging to distinguish between natural and manufactured sapphires. While they are developed in a lab rather than in the ground, synthetic sapphires are nevertheless genuine gemstones.

Under a microscope, sapphires made in laboratories will seem crystalline clear. A natural stone will still contain minute inclusions that can be seen up close. A synthetic sapphire costs significantly less than a natural sapphire.

The majority of sapphires are naturally treated. Untreated or treated sapphires are both natural gemstones. The majority of sapphires undergo treatment. Untreated Kashmir blue sapphires can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars per carat. A high-quality, untreated sapphire should cost a lot of money.

There is only one reliable method for determining whether a sapphire is genuine as opposed to a fake stone like a blue cubic zirconia or a glass sapphire. Never buy a sapphire unless it has a gemstone certification and is of good grade. Physical evidence that your sapphire is not a fake gemstone will be a gemstone authenticity certificate from a reputable lab in the neighborhood.

Also, it will reveal whether any treatments are covert.

Purchasing lab-created sapphires, natural sapphires, or treated sapphires is completely acceptable. Go ahead and get a fake one if you want one. My main concern is that you understand the differences in case you’re seeking for a certain kind of sapphire. Now that you are aware of how to distinguish them, have fun finding sapphires!

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