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Flame Fusion Sapphire and Spinel

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Every color of flame fusion sapphire (above) and spinel (below) produced by the Djeva company in Switzerland (bankrupt 2021). Photo courtesy of Arya Akhavan:

instagram @surgical.precision.gems and reddit u/cowsruleusall

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Flame fusion sapphires and spinels are grown in a wide variety of colors and are manufactured into beautiful and durable gemstones (mohs hardness of 9 and 7.5-8 respectfully). For a little over 100 years the djeva factory in switzerland was the largest suppliers of flame fusion sapphire and spinels. It went bankrupt in 2021 and almost all material is now produced in China and Russia. Some colors produced by Djeva took decades of research and development to achieve and are prized by collectors as they may never be produced again.


A collection of old flame fusion spinel boules produced by Bitterfeld in East Germany. Photo courtesy of André Vorsatz

These materials are grown using the flame fusion method. They are grown primarily for the jewelry trade and play an important role in the supply of affordable and durable gemstones. Gems cut from these materials have historically been used for class rings, military rings, and other mass produced jewelry. Many precision lapidary artists in the United States create intricate designs on this bright and vibrant material.

Flame fusion crystals are cheaper to produce than czochralski grown crystals. They are zoned, less chemically pure, and are not used in science or other industrial applications. The boules are typically small (the corundum boules split in half after cooling), and the maximum size of a gem cut from this material is therefore limited in size. The videos below illustrate the differences between a controlled czochralski growing laboratory, and a flame fusion mass growing factory.

Controlled Czochralski Growth


Mass Produced Flame Fusion

The trade is continuing to innovate in the space of flame fusion sapphires and spinels, experimenting with new formulas. A "paraiba blue" was achieved by RG crystals in 2022. 

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