|Sapphire boule. |
This is a "flame fusion" sapphire crystal boule, such as might be used to create synthetic cut gemstones. Flame fusion means a fine powder of aluminum oxide (the base material sapphires are made of) is blown through an extremely hot flame and onto a seed crystal. The molten droplets, somewhat amazingly, follow the pattern of the seed crystal and slowly accumulate into a large, single crystal of sapphire.
The slight pink cast in this boule comes from a 1% impurity of titanium. Impurities determine the colors of most gemstones, and are, for example, responsible for the difference between rubies and sapphires, both of which are made of aluminum oxide.
Source: SoCal (Nevada), Inc
Contributor: Theodore Gray
Acquired: 28 April, 2004