Heated vs. Unheated Sapphire

Heated vs. Unheated Sapphires

Sapphires are well-known for their remarkable hardness, placing them as the third hardest mineral on the Mohs scale. Their timeless beauty and lasting durability make them a top pick for jewelry. When shopping for sapphires, you’ll come across two main types: Heated and Unheated. In this article, we’ll simplify the differences between heated and unheated sapphires.

( Heated sapphire )

bangkok blue sapphire heated

Heat treatment is a widely employed technique to enhance the color and clarity of sapphires. This method effectively elevates the visual appeal of sapphires, lending them a more luxurious appearance. Heated sapphires tend to be more affordable than unheated ones, making them an accessible option for buyers.

Approximately 95% of sapphires undergo heat treatment, affecting both their rarity and pricing. The widespread availability of heated sapphires, both in physical stores and online, makes them a popular choice among consumers.

( Unheated sapphire )

unheated natural blue sapphire from gemadda

Unheated sapphires are unique gems cherished for their genuine, untouched beauty. They’re like nature’s true artwork, untouched by any artificial processes. This makes them highly valuable, especially when compared to heated sapphires, whose colors have been altered.

Many see unheated sapphires as investments. Their market value increases as time passes, especially if they’re of high quality. People who appreciate authenticity and rarity are drawn to them. Unheated sapphires are a reminder of nature’s pure beauty, making them treasured gems in the world of jewelry and gemstone collecting.

Difference between heated and unheated sapphires (Identification)

When people go to purchase sapphires, they are confused or face problems in distinguishing between heated and unheated sapphires, so some points help in distinguishing them.

1. Luster

Sapphires that are unheated have a smooth surface with a light shine. Their luster may look a little softer and more organic. On the other hand, heated sapphires are shiny and have a glassy look, and their surface seems harder as compared to unheated sapphires.

2. Inclusion

Unheated sapphire has needle-like inclusions(silk) and crystal inclusions which are typically composed of minerals like rutile or hematite. Intact needles appear as a thin line within the gemstone. After heat treatment, the intact inclusion inside the sapphire is broken, and a halo is formed around the crystal inclusion.

3. Color concentration

When we look at heated sapphires with a magnifying glass, the color is very intense and unevenly distributed in some parts as compared to unheated sapphires. The unevenly distributed color indicates the sapphire is heat-treated. On the other hand, in unheated sapphire, there is no color change.

4. Price and availability

In the market, heated sapphire is easily available at an affordable rate, but unheated sapphire is very rare and barely available, and those that are available are very expensive and are available at only reputed gem dealers.

A person should have a well-trained eye while discerning between heated and unheated sapphires. While purchasing the unheated sapphire, always ask for certification.


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