Sapphire engagement and engagement rings are among some of the most treasured jewels around the world. This gem is stunning and as described by many, it is second only to the diamond. It is a kind of ring that will definitely last a lifetime.
The love for these rings has seen quite a number of scrupulous dealers coming up with imitated products. So how will you identify a genuine silver sapphire ring? Well, worry not as this article will provide you with basic information on the meaning of sapphire rings, their properties, enhancement processes, the kind of rings to avoid, and the special care of the rings.
Sapphire rings are excellent in durability. Its hardness is estimated at about 9.0, a refractive index ranging from 1.762 to 1.770 and specific gravity of 4.00.
Sapphires are derived from corundum, a mineral which is mined currently in 8 countries around the world. These include Kenya, some parts of the United States of America, India, Afghanistan, and the continent of Australia, China and Madagascar. The mineral of the gem is similar to rubies. The two differ in coloration. Apart from rubies which are red in colour, the other shades of corundum are what makes up the rainbow of the sapphire gem.
The sapphire ring is cherished by many couples across the world. This is because it stands for four things:1. Purity 2. Knowledge 3. Blessings 4. Truth
It is a gemstone that has been cherished for ages as it symbolises a sincere and faithful relationship. The high priests and royal family used to wear the gems as a sign that they were the custodians of knowledge and wisdom. Historically, it was also the birthstone of April and in modern era September.
To enhance the sapphire gem, it has to undergo a certain process to improve its colour and form. Although not necessary, the stone may undergo one or more of these processes to improve its quality and appearance. However, a lot of care is usually taken to ensure the quality and durability of the gem is not affected. The next section outlines four enhancement processes.
The gemstone is heated to enhance its colour and form. This makes the gemstone more stable. The sapphire is then labeled as either E or H. That means that any sapphire without the labels is simply an indication that they were not heated. The quality of heated gems is excellent. However, the cost of such gems is usually slightly higher though still affordable.
2. Surface Diffusion.
Sapphire rings are rarely undertaken through this process. The purpose of this process is to intensify the colour. It also ensures that the stability of the ring has a good rating. Rings which have undergone the process are labeled U. To protect the quality of the colour, a silver sapphire ring which has undergone surface diffusion should not be re-cut or re-polished. Since the process is chemically intensive, the cost of a gem which has undergone surface diffusion is usually moderately high.
Though used occasionally, it’s main purpose is to intensify the orange or yellow colours on sapphires. Wedding or engagement rings which have undergone irradiation are usually labeled as R. Such rings have very poor stability ratings and their colours quickly fade off once exposed to light and heat. The treatment drastically reduces the cost of the gem since it affects both its quality and appearance. It is important to avoid irradiated sapphire rings at all cost. They will appear stunning but end up being a disappointment in the long run.
4. Beryllium Treatment.
The treatment process is also referred to as lattice diffusion. It is a controversial process and serves to enhance orange and yellow pigments. The controversy arises out of the fact that, not all sapphire jewels which have undergone lattice diffusion are labeled as “Lattice treated”. Identification of a beryllium treated sapphire is expensive and assessment can only be done by a laboratory test. The outcome of the treatment is a rare but expensive sunset or salmon colours of the silver sapphire ring. Although stability rating of the ring will be fair, it’s easy for the gem to lose its colour if chipped or re-cut. In short, diffusion drastically reduces the value of the gemstone.
Irrespective of the process, the section above clearly indicates that treatment can either improve or reduce the overall appearance or form of the sapphire. It is, therefore, important to assess the method used to treat the sapphire wedding or engagement ring you intend to purchase.
Taking Special Care of the Sapphire Ring.
As mentioned earlier, a sapphire ring is a highly precious jewel. Heat treated genuine stones do not require any special care. This, however, does not mean you should not take extra care and caution when handling or storing the wedding or engagement rings. This is because the gems can be scratched by other hard surfaces or jewels such as diamond ornaments.
Always store the sapphire ornaments in a protected cool box or pouch. Avoid any dump areas which may affect the quality and colour of the gem. Just like with other ornaments, it is advisable to remove the rings when bathing, washing, or swimming in a chlorinated pool. These simple tips will ensure the wedding or engagement rings last a lifetime.