October 3-7—JOSHUA TREE, CALIFORNIA: Annual show; Sportsmans Club of Joshua Tree
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 Post subject: A Green Sapphire Mystery.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 12:50 am 
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Hi All,
I am the Goldsmith in a jewellery store in Vancouver BC. I have been in the business for over 20 years, and just when you think you have seen it all...
A regular customer came in to have her ring cleaned, she does this every 6 months. Her 5mm princess cut green Sapphire is set in 14k white gold with 6 x 2pt diamonds paved in the shoulders. Ring looks fine, diamonds are fine, but the sapphire has a haze I can not ultrasonic or steam off. It does not come off in pickle, methel hydrate, or nail polish remover. A rubber wheel does not remove it. I unset the stone, the haze is on all facets, top and bottom. The stone could not have been switched, the corner claws are too close to the seat to do it without mangling the claws. The ring has never been retipped until I was putting the stone back in, because the customer is unwilling to recut it at this time...and the retipping process does not affect the haze either.
I have included a photo of the table, I took it through the eye piece of my Laser welder.
So what has this office worker done to her sapphire in the last 6 months? Help!


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 Post subject: Re: A Green Sapphire Mystery.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 11:40 am 
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Stone cutting is not my strong suit, cough cough, but repolishing the effected facets should not result in negligible weight loss.


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 Post subject: Re: A Green Sapphire Mystery.
PostPosted: Fri Sep 14, 2018 1:40 pm 
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Have you tested it to be certain it is a sapphire? Sapphire is pretty resistant to etching but it is possible some imitations might not be.
Anyway that is really weird. One thinks tgere may be something she is too embarassed to tell you, like that time she dropped the ring in a vat of hydrofluoric acid (not that that would actually affect sapphire but you get what I mean).


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 Post subject: Re: A Green Sapphire Mystery.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:17 am 
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Stephen Challener wrote:
Have you tested it to be certain it is a sapphire? Sapphire is pretty resistant to etching but it is possible some imitations might not be.
Anyway that is really weird. One thinks tgere may be something she is too embarassed to tell you, like that time she dropped the ring in a vat of hydrofluoric acid (not that that would actually affect sapphire but you get what I mean).




Well, it was bought as a sapphire from a reputable dealer, and the rest of the stone parcel has gone on to lead normal lives. If it isn't a sapphire, it is something that survives heat. I can't figure out what it would be imitated with, that would survive what I put it through! So weird.
I did some research myself on what could etch a sapphire, and it seems lye could possibly, so I asked the customer if she has been making soap or using lye, she claims to take the ring off when house cleaning, and has not taken any evening classes on surviving the Zombie apocalypse. There is also a chemical in a fungal cream she claims to not have use.


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 Post subject: Re: A Green Sapphire Mystery.
PostPosted: Sat Sep 15, 2018 2:20 am 
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Barbra Voltaire wrote:
Stone cutting is not my strong suit, cough cough, but repolishing the effected facets should not result in negligible weight loss.



Her reason for not recutting at this time, was the mystery of why this has happened in the first place, what if it happens again? That, and she needed 'her precious' for her anniversary next week!


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 Post subject: Re: A Green Sapphire Mystery.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:35 am 
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You are right, clearly looks like etching, but what chemical in common use will etch sapphire? This is an intriguing problem, I would like to know more.


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 Post subject: Re: A Green Sapphire Mystery.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:02 am 
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Several common chemicals will etch sapphire. Google "chemical etching of sapphire".


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 Post subject: Re: A Green Sapphire Mystery.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:45 am 
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Googling that gets you a lot of technical papers which generally aren't applicable. I am really curious, though. Which ones might have an effect?


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 Post subject: Re: A Green Sapphire Mystery.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 12:08 pm 
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Stephen Challener wrote:
Googling that gets you a lot of technical papers which generally aren't applicable. I am really curious, though. Which ones might have an effect?

It's a technical subject. Phosphoric and sulfuric acids, to name two. Phosphoric is used in soft drinks, rust remover, fertilizers, etc. Sulfuric is less common in the household, but sometimes drain cleaners. Car batteries, of course, if you work on your own car.


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 Post subject: Re: A Green Sapphire Mystery.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:35 pm 
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sometimes people are told to use coke to clean things..... And it certainly has phosphoric acid in it. It would be wroth testing to see if it would actually etch a sapphire, though.


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 Post subject: Re: A Green Sapphire Mystery.
PostPosted: Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:46 pm 
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I have often boiled up sapphire set rings in sulphuric acid, It is my go-to pickle, but never had any problem with etching. Never tried with Coca-Cola though, although I have seen a pearl necklace etched by it. I was in the bullion dealers when I saw a magnificent pearl necklace in the showcase, "How much?" I demanded, and the girl smiled and rolled the necklace slightly, revealing the underside of the stones eaten away , having been laid on a surface with Coca-Cola spilt on it.


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