From its alluring look to the extreme durability, white sapphire has several impressive features and benefits that make it a great alternative for people who are in search of diamond-like products like windows, lenses and jewelry. If you aren’t much familiar with the two, you might have a difficult time trying to differentiate white sapphire from diamond, as they share some close resemblance.
As such, some people who can’t afford diamond items go for the white sapphire ones since they are far much cheaper. Better still, if you find natural white sapphire still expensive for you, you can go for the lab-created white sapphire because it’s more pocket-friendly.
Comparing Natural Sapphire and Artificial Sapphire
As its name suggests, natural sapphire occurs naturally, whereas the artificial one is created in a lab controlled environment. Interestingly, both forms of sapphire are made from corundum, a very hard crystalized alumina. This is because there’s no synthetic material that can serve as a replacement of corundum that gives the natural sapphire its gorgeous look.
If replaced, the man-made white sapphire would look almost totally different from the natural one, and that’s not the desired result. The corundum composition makes it quite difficult to tell which is which between the two white sapphire types. The similarity is so high that even some gemstone specialists don’t get it right when it comes to differentiating the two.
Besides, the process used to make artificial white sapphire is almost similar to that of the natural type, mimicking the environmental conditions that the mined natural gemstone undergoes. Essentially, the man-made type was invented to meet the excess demand of the white sapphire lovers because the natural type takes a long process of millions of years to form and so, can’t cover the rising demand fully due to its scarcity. The synthetic stone takes a much shorter time to be processed in a laboratory-controlled environment.
Differences between the Two
Although created white sapphire shares a striking resemblance with the natural one, there are various factors you can consider to establish if a white sapphire is lab-made or natural. Only a trained eye notices the difference. Here are some of the things you can check out between the two materials.
- Air bubbles
Although the process of creating a white sapphire is almost the same as the one undergone by the natural counterpart, the former is essentially glass. As such, it retains some tiny air bubbles upon its formation. So, if you happen to have white sapphire, check it from all sides to see if it has visible air bubbles. If the bubbles are present, then you are dealing with the lab-created type.
From the first encounter, created white sapphire looks like a flawless version of the natural one. When undergoing the natural crystallization process, natural gemstones, including white sapphire, pick up gases and other minerals. Consequently, it ends up having some inclusions which are absent in the lab-made.
The synthetic gem lacks these inclusions, or have less of them because their manufacturing process is steady and controlled. Therefore, the chances of getting such inclusions are factored in and addressed on time, making the final product come out being almost flawless.
Because of its scarcity, longer durability and generally higher value, natural white sapphire is usually more expensive than its synthetic counterpart. The price difference between the two could be about $8 to $10 per carat, depending on where you are buying them from.
- Hardness and durability
For instance, when a natural white sapphire and a created one are scrubbed against each other, one of them won’t have any change but will scratch the other, and that is the natural gem. It is harder and so more scratch resistant and durable as compared to the synthetic counterpart.
Because of these qualities, gen xs and zs, as well as some millenials, tends to get white sapphire engagement rings, bracelets and other jewelry pieces instead of diamond, to both save their wallet and demonstrate unique personality.
Is Synthetic White Sapphire Worth to Purchase?
In as much as the created sapphire looks almost like the natural type, they can’t be the same. One of the major downsides of the synthetic type is that it doesn’t have standard properties. One synthetic white sapphire from a certain company might be slightly different from another company’s.
On the other hand, natural white sapphire will have the same properties irrespective of where you purchase it from. The only difference could be the shape, but that cut across all gemstones to address different users’ tastes and preferences.
On the upside, when you buy a created white sapphire, you spend less than when you go for the natural white sapphire. So, if you are on a tight budget but still want a gemstone item that looks gorgeous almost like diamond or Cubic zirconia, you are not likely to go wrong with the created type.
Again, if you are an environment conservationist, you’ll feel hesitant to be part of a chain that cause damage to mother nature. To get natural white sapphire from deep inside the ground, extensive mining is involved, and this may have an adverse impact on the environment. The local lifestyles might be disrupted and serious human conflicts are likely to arise as a result of the gemstone’s mining.
If you are truly against such, going for a synthetic option instead of the natural one, as far as white sapphire is concerned, will be a more ethical choice. Unlike in mining of the natural sapphire, lab-made gem doesn’t inflict any harm to the environment through soil pollution or excess greenhouse gas (such as carbon) emissions.
Again, created white sapphires are not absolutely fake. Their chemical compositions, structure and optics are nearly the same as of the natural gems. Don’t even be surprised upon seeing the synthetic ones looking better and closer to perfect than the natural counterpart. So, even if you have a piece of synthetic white sapphire jewelry, you’ll rock with it just as you would with a natural one, and rarely will anyone notice that it’s not actually the natural type.
If you are a frequent traveler and afraid of losing your expensive natural white sapphire jewelry, you might decide to be putting on a less expensive artificial white sapphire one instead and leave the natural one at home during your travels.
So considering your taste, preference, budget and attitude towards environment conservation, created white sapphire can be a worthy buy for you.