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Many people ask whether there is such a thing as a black sapphire. The answer to this question is a definite yes. With the increase in popularity of black gemstones, black sapphires have begun to garner more attention. While not as valuable or sought after as their blue counterparts, black sapphires are being increasingly used in jewelry. With the combination of durability and beauty, black sapphires are a perfect gemstone choice.
Here we highlight the pros and cons of black sapphires, and how it looks when set in jewelry.
What Is a Black Sapphire?
Black sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum. It is formed within the earth’s surface over many thousands of years and gets its color from the impurities that are present during its formation. Most black sapphires come from Australia and are found in large quantities.
Unfortunately, black sapphires are considered low grade, low quality gemstones and are not valuable. The flip side of this is that black sapphire jewelry is generally very affordable. However, with the surge in popularity of black gemstones, especially black diamonds, black sapphires are slowly being treated with respect.
How do I Evaluate a Black Sapphire?
Black sapphires are found in translucent to opaque varieties and can appear solid black. They often do not reflect much light and can seem to absorb all the light that touches it. Look for a black sapphire that has even saturation and tone and is opaque. Black sapphires are generally faceted in fancy shapes to give depth and enhance the luster of the stone. They are also often cut en cabochon.
Because black sapphire is very affordable, take care if the price of the stone seems to high. While the sapphire itself may be quite affordable, the setting it is placed in could be more valuable than the stone itself.
Here are 6 of our favorite pieces of black sapphire jewelry:
A unique rose gold ring featuring a marquise cut black sapphire.
Beautiful black sapphire studs set in 14K white gold.
This heat-treated natural black sapphire is stylish, sophisticated and affordable.
A beautiful black star sapphire set in yellow or white gold, and displaying a clear star.
A perfect every day piece, this series of black sapphires are set into sterling silver.
This stunning ring is ideal as an engagement or promise ring. It features an oval cut black sapphire with white diamond accents set in 10K white gold.
Black Sapphire vs Black Star Sapphire
Although black sapphire is not a very popular or sought-after gemstone, this is not the case for black star sapphires. Many people think that black star sapphires are an entirely different gemstone. This, however, is not true.
Black star sapphires are black sapphires that display asterism. This refers to a clear star-like effect caused by the presence of tiny needle-like inclusions, often consisting of the minerals rutile or hematite. These gemstones are cut en cabochon and when viewed under direct light, display a 6-rayed star. Expert cutting is required to bring out a symmetrical and well-defined ‘star’ on the stone. However, if the star appears to look too perfect, this may be an indication of a synthetic, lab-created stone.
Black star sapphires can command very high prices and are highly sought after. They are especially popular among gemstone collectors. When set in jewelry, black star sapphires are eye-catching and unique. They shimmer with movement and are more dynamic than solid black sapphires.
Should I buy a Black Sapphire?
If you are interested in purchasing a black gemstone, a black sapphire is an excellent option. Black sapphires are not as pricey as black diamonds and are relatively easy on the pocket. Another major benefit of sapphires is their durability. Sapphires rank 9 on the Mohs scale, second only to diamonds in the gemstone world. They are extremely scratch resistant and due to their crystalline structure, sapphires are also very tough. As a gemstone for every day wear, sapphires are excellent and can be used in all types of jewelry. It is able to withstand daily exposure and rough wear and tear and often only requires minimal maintenance.
Black sapphires look similar to the more popular black onyx gemstone but are much more durable than onyx (which ranks at only 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale). This makes black sapphires an excellent alternative to onyx and most other solid black gemstones.
You will be hard-pressed to find black sapphire jewelry in brick and mortar stores as they are not a common sapphire color. Searching online will give you many more options and you will be able to compare and contrast prices and quality of different black sapphires before you buy. Ensure that you purchase from a reputable vendor and check the after-sales policies.