Is Sapphire an Ore of Anything?

Question:
Hi, I want to know if sapphire is an ore of anything?

Answer: Hi there,

Sapphire, along with ruby, is a crystalline variation of the mineral called corundum, which is a form of alumina - aluminum oxide. Ruby is of red color, and sapphire is mostly blue. When we have crystalline corundum of all the other colors except red we also call it sapphire. These colors of sapphire can be traced back to the presence of small quantities of iron and/or titanium.

sapphire rock hexagonal pyramidal form

Now, going directly to your question, gem quality sapphire, as a type of corundum, is not being used as an ore in any technological process. It is true, however, that aluminum is produced out of alumina, Al2O3, which has the same chemical formula of sapphire. But, if we used gem quality corundum for aluminum extraction, it would be a very expensive product, indeed.

bauxite rock

Rather, the primary ore of aluminum is bauxite. Bauxite is a mixture (composite mineral) of several aluminum hydroxides. In the process of aluminum production, bauxite is being purified and turned into industry quality alumina, which is then used as to get pure aluminum metal in a process called electrolysis.

In conclusion, the answer to your question is yes and no. Sapphire, directly, is not an ore of anything and serves only as raw material for gem production. But, if you want to look at the things on principal basis, alumina - aluminum oxide is one of the immediate steps for aluminium metal production. The formula of sapphire is esentially the same - Al2O3.

With love and light,

Olga





Comments:

maria says:
12-05-2011


i like your web site.

sunny says:
12-05-2011


Glad you like it Maria. Thanks for dropping by.

Dizzle mazabe says:
06-25-2015


Sunny ray, I am Tanzanian. Also I'm gemstone hunter. Yesterday I found blue stone in my job. So I didn't understand what kind of mineral it is. It looks like a blue sapphire or tanzanite so I am getting tied about that. I want you to help me if you want. See the image I have uploaded in facebook. You can see the picture of the stone that I have it. My name is dizzle mazabe. Please tell me.

sunny says:
06-25-2015


Hi Dizzle
As much as I would like to help, I'm afraid that identifying stones just based on images is impossible. You have to see an expert in gemstones in person. That's the only way to tell for sure what kind of stone you have. Thanks for the comment. Take care and God bless.

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