Introduction to sapphires

Start your journey to becoming a sapphire expert in this free online course.

This course is also available in French, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese and Japanese – Click here

Introduction to sapphires

  • What is the Difference between Sapphires and Fancy Sapphires?
  • Famous Sapphires
  • Explore the World’s Most Expensive Sapphires
  • How Hard is a Sapphire?
  • How to Cut a Sapphire

Sapphires: origins & formation

  • Sapphires in Different Cultures
  • How do Sapphires Form in Nature?
  • How are Sapphires Found?
  • Can you Tell how Old a Sapphire is?
  • When Were Sapphires First Discovered?
  • In Which Countries are Sapphires Found Today?
  • Expeditions to Sapphire Mines

Synthetics, treatments and imitations

  • How to Know if it’s a Real Sapphire
  • What is the Best Cut for a Sapphire?
  • What is the Best Colour for a Sapphire?
  • How Does Clarity Affect the Value of a Sapphire?
  • Identifying Inclusions in a Sapphire
  • How to Know if it’s a Synthetic Sapphire
  • How to Treat a Sapphire?
  • How to Know if a Sapphire has been Heat Treated or Not

The science of sapphire testing

  • How to Tell if it’s a Sapphire or Glass
  • How to Tell if it’s a Natural Sapphire or Not
  • How to Tell if a Sapphire is Treated or Not
  • How to Determine the Geographic Origin of a Sapphire
  • Traceability of Sapphires
  • What Instruments are Used to Test Sapphires?

I have been getting lots of requests for sapphires in my jewelry business. Knowing little about them, I took this course to know what I should look out for as I source them and to better engage with consumers.


About the courses

  • Self-paced course: access the information you want, when you want it.
  • Test your knowledge about sapphires with a quiz at the end of this course. Please note these are short introductory courses, they are not trade qualifications nor do they give you the possibility of adding letters/credentials after your name.

About your instructor 

SSEF (Swiss Gemmological Institute SSEF) is a non-profit Swiss foundation whose aim it is to further the science of gemstone testing and gemmological training. We are one of the leading gem labs in the world and have scientifically tested many of the world’s most prestigious gemstones.

For more information about sapphire testing services — click here to visit our website.

Frequently asked questions

Who is this courses for?

  • Access trustworthy information from one of the world’s leading authorities on sapphires.
  • Curious about coloured gemstones? Start learning more with this free course.
  • Are you in the gemstone or jewellery trade and you want to gain expert insights on topics such as quality factors of sapphires, how sapphires are treated and where sapphires come from? Then this course is for you.

When does the course start and finish?

The course starts now and never ends! It is a completely self-paced online course – you decide when you and when you finish.

How long do I have access to the course?

How does lifetime access sound? After enrolling, you have unlimited access to this course for as long as you like – across any and all devices you own.

What this course is NOT:

  • How to buy a sapphire
  • How to sell a sapphire
  • How to certify a sapphire
  • How to value a sapphire
  • Learning to design sapphire jewellery
  • Knowing what sapphires to invest in