Learn About Sapphires
What is heat treatment in sapphires?
As an accepted industry standard, sapphires are heat-treated to improve color, clarity, and overall appearance. Some sapphires are found closer to thermal venting in the earth, which produces exceptional color through natural heating. By heating sapphires that are not found in these locations, we mimic this natural process. No radiation, chemicals or health risks are involved in this process. As is common with almost all sapphires available today, the majority of Brilliant Earth sapphires are heat-treated. Brilliant Earth also carries un-heated sapphires at a premium.
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, which is why Brilliant Earth rigorously tracks the origin of our sapphires. The following treatments are never found at Brilliant Earth.
- 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 make 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.
- Surface Dyes can alter the body color of a gem, and are not permanent. Often this treatment is used to pass off an imposter gemstone as a sapphire.
- Beryllium can be added to sapphires to enhance or change color. Many stones with this treatment have entered the market without disclosure, and it can take expensive and destructive testing to uncover beryllium treatment in a sapphire.