What Is A Black Sapphire?
Like most people, you’re probably familiar with blue sapphires. But did you know that sapphires actually come in many colors? And that one of those colors is black?
Black sapphires are gaining popularity. So, what is a black sapphire? Are they rare? Expensive? Are they even real sapphires? Do they require special care? Does a black sapphire have any unique meanings?
What Is A Black Sapphire Made Of?
Corundum is a mineral mined in numerous worldwide locations. It’s extremely hard, second only to diamond in hardness. Traditionally, it was used as an abrasive. If you have a very old emery board, you may have filed your nails with finely ground corundum. However, due to its uneven quality, most abrasives now use a synthetic version of corundum.
Corundum is aluminum oxide. When it’s pure, it’s clear and usually transparent. But as it forms, trace amounts of other minerals may be incorporated into its structure. Those are known as impurities, and they are what give gemstones their color. Impurities include chromium, iron, titanium, and vanadium, among others.
So what, you may be thinking. Well, in the world of gems, high-quality corundum is known as a precious gemstone. Corundum that contains chromium is known as rubies. Iron and titanium turn colorless corundum into sapphires. Because the impurities are rarely distributed evenly, no two gemstones, including black sapphires, are identical.
Is A Black Sapphire A Real Sapphire?
Black sapphires are corundum, which, similar to blue sapphires, get their color from iron and titanium. They have all the characteristics of the other colors of sapphires and are genuine sapphires. The biggest difference is the fact that black sapphires are much more abundant than some of the other colors. They’re equally beautiful but far less expensive.
What Does A Black Sapphire Look Like?
Sapphires may be transparent, opaque, or anywhere in between. Some may have inclusions, such as rutile needles. These may create an appearance known in silk. If the rutile is arranged in a specific pattern, a star is visible on the surface of the gem. This is known as asterism.
Black sapphires are more often opaque than transparent. The color is very dark. Some may be more very dark blue or gray than black. They are still known as black sapphires to avoid confusion with blue or gray gemstones. Their color means that black sapphires are sometimes mistaken for onyx, a very different gem.
Like other sapphires, black gems may exhibit pleochroism. That means they show more than one color, depending on the angle from which you view them. Faceting can enhance that display of color. You may see blue flashes in your black sapphire.
What Is A Black Star Sapphire?
Asterism, or stars, occur in black sapphires in a different manner than in other sapphires. Rutile needles form part of the star as it does in other gems. However, black star sapphires also contain hematite and ilmenite. These can create a yellow/golden-colored six-ray star. The rutile makes a white six-ray star along with it but at a different angle. You see a star with 12 rays in the finest specimens. These are extremely rare and extremely expensive.
Black star sapphires are rare and far more valuable than black sapphires. They are mined in countries like Thailand, rather than in Australia, which is the source of most black sapphires. Black star sapphires are cut as cabochons, to display the star, instead of faceted like black sapphires.
What Are The Differences Between Black Sapphires And Onyx?
Onyx and black sapphires are both very dark gemstones used in all types of jewelry. At first glance, they look the same. And in some instances, a black sapphire is used as a substitute for onyx.
Because black sapphires are so abundant, they are often significantly less expensive than other gems. Onyx typically costs more, especially the rare variety that is solid black. However, onyx is much softer and less durable than sapphire. Care must be taken to avoid scratching it. That’s not an issue with black sapphires, which stand up better during everyday wear.
Both gems are desirable in their own way. What’s important is that you know which one you’re purchasing.
Is The Color In Black Sapphires Enhanced?
Because people often prefer intense color and perfection, many gemstones are treated to improve their appearance. For example, blue sapphires are frequently heat-treated to deepen the blue. That also burns away specific inclusions that may have impaired the gem’s clarity.
Diffusion treatment is a special type of heat treatment that enhances and enriches the gemstone’s color. Because the abundance of black sapphires makes them inexpensive, they are seldom subjected to heat treatments. However, the value of black star sapphires means that diffusion treatments may be used to enhance the star.
As with all gemstones, purchase your black sapphires and star sapphires from reputable dealers. They will disclose any treatments. There’s nothing wrong about buying treated sapphires if you’re making an informed purchase.
Are There Synthetic Black Sapphires?
Even though black sapphires are plentiful and are often considered as low-value gemstones, they are sometimes synthesized. Black star sapphires, because they can be quite valuable, are more commonly synthesized. Your best choice is to buy from a reputable seller. If you have doubts, there are some home tests you can try.
Synthetic sapphires usually appear flawless. Natural sapphires usually have inclusions or small flaws. If you purchase many gemstones, you may want to invest in a jeweler’s loupe to look for imperfections.
Breathe On It
Breathe on your black sapphire. Your breath will make a fog, which will clear within one or two seconds. If it takes longer to disappear, you probably have a synthetic.
All genuine sapphires are hard and can only be scratched by something as hard or harder. Try scratching your gem with either a diamond or a sapphire that you know to be real. If you can scratch it, it's synthetic.
Light It Up
Go into a dark room with your sapphire. Shine a light on it. Genuine black sapphires absorb light rather than reflect it. If it’s synthetic, it will probably reflect one or more colors.
Some tests for authenticity can only be done by experts. For example, a genuine black sapphire is magnetic. Impostors typically are not. Other properties of your gem can be measured using specialized instruments. These include specific characteristics such as crystal structure, density, cleavage, and refractive index, among others. While synthetics can mimic at least one of these, they can’t match all the properties of a natural black sapphire.
Because of their resemblance to more expensive black stones, disreputable sellers may try to substitute black sapphires for them. They then charge a premium price for the inexpensive substitute. As well as onyx, black sapphires may be sold as tanzanite, iolite, or other black gemstones.
In general, it’s a good idea to have your black sapphire and black star sapphire evaluated by an expert to be sure your stone is genuine.
How Should You Care For Your Black Sapphire?
The durability of black sapphires means they don’t need special care or cleaning. Because they can chip or break, protect your gems, especially those mounted in rings, from being struck.
Warm water and a gentle soap are usually all that’s needed to clean black sapphires. An ultrasonic cleaner is safe for untreated gemstones. However, do not put your black star sapphire in an ultrasonic cleaner.
Consider potential harm to the setting when cleaning. Avoid solvents, such as alcohol, and products such as boric acid. Use a soft toothbrush or artist’s paintbrush to clean detailed areas.
What Are The Meanings Of Black Sapphires?
Some cultures traditionally have regarded black gems, including black sapphire, negatively. Ironically, some cultures believed that witches used black sapphires, while others carried them to protect against witchcraft. Other cultures regard them as having positive healing attributes. Overall, black sapphires are credited with protective energy.
In color therapy, black represents grounding energy in addition to protection. Its reputation for protection results from the belief that it absorbs negative energies. Some individuals regard black as a comforting color.
Black Sapphires And Chakras
Chakras are energy centers within your body. There are seven primary chakras, beginning with the root chakra. It’s located at the end of your spine and is thought to help you feel grounded, secure, and stable.
Although some energy practitioners use red as the color for the root chakra, others feel black is a better choice. As noted above, black is a grounding and comforting color, making black sapphires suitable for your work with your root chakra.
Your crown chakra is at the top of your head. It represents your connection to the upper realms. Its color is typically purple. However, some associate the crown chakra with black, because black is a mystical color. Use your black sapphire on the chakra that feels best for you.
Black Sapphires And Emotional Healing
The balancing power of black sapphires can help reduce stress and anxiety for some individuals. You may feel more peace of mind when wearing a black sapphire. You may find that it helps to strengthen your intuitive ability in making decisions and coping with others. It may increase your confidence and help you stand up to anyone who tries to intimidate or frighten you.
Black Sapphires And Physical Healing
Many people find that black sapphires improve their blood circulation. They’re thought to strengthen blood vessels. Good circulation is part of increased vitality and energy levels. A black sapphire may enhance glandular function and boost the immune system in some individuals. Others find that a black sapphire improves their vision. Some people believe it helps them recover from injuries and relieves their pain.
Black Sapphires And Spiritual Healing
Black is a strong and powerful color. A black sapphire may help you overcome indecisiveness. It may reduce confusion and increase serenity. Black sapphires may banish depression. Many believe they help with meditation and enhance devotional practices. Some use black sapphires to clean their auras and meridians.
Black Star Sapphires And Healing
In metaphysical terms, stars represent “divine knowledge and energy.” Star sapphires are often called wisdom stones. A star increases the energy and healing properties of your black sapphire. It’s associated with your crown chakra and helps to align all your chakras.
You may find that your abilities to think and create are enhanced. You may feel more in control of your life. Your relationships may become deeper with greater love. You may discover improved communication with those for whom you care. Your moods may change from depressed to optimistic.
How Are Black Sapphires Used For Healing?
Black sapphires and black star sapphires are most often worn as jewelry. They are suitable for rings, pendants, necklaces, earrings, brooches, and bracelets. You may want to carry a loose gemstone in an amulet or place it in your pocket.
Many individuals find black sapphires beneficial in their meditation practice. Others place their gems in various places in their homes in recognition of their protective attributes. You may use either a piece of your jewelry or loose stones.
How Should You Cleanse Black Sapphires Used In Healing?
Black sapphires absorb toxic energy from your body and your environment. Simply washing it in warm water and mild soap periodically helps cleanse accumulated negativity. Smudging black sapphires is a good cleansing practice. Choose something like sage or cedar for smudging.
Some people expose their black sapphires to the light of a full moon to detoxify them. Sunlight is also used to recharge and cleanse black sapphires. Quartz clusters and quartz chips are also beneficial for cleansing and re-energizing black gemstones. Many people choose singing bowls or crystal tuners to recharge and cleanse their gemstones.
If you have questions or want more information about black sapphires or other gemstones, you can rely on the experts at Philophrosyne for answers that are prompt and accurate. We’re here to help you choose the gems best suited to meet your needs.