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Humorous Gemstone Inclusion

Adrian Smith rummages about in a sapphire

fancy coloured sapphire in a ring
The head of the ring containing the orange sapphire

I have always considered myself extremely fortunate to have an opportunity in my work to see things that have never had a pair of human eyes clapped on them before.

In the course of examining gemstone inclusions I see many truly wondrous things and every now and then, I find something that tickles me. Recently, I was suitably tickled! This orange sapphire came in for valuation and under microscopic examination something truly beautiful and very amusing was revealed.

To me, delving into a gemstone through the microscope always feels like being dropped into the ocean in a small submersible craft. I enter another world, full of usually unseen but quite incredible things, each telling its own part of the gemstone's story. The vista I am presented with can reveal the gem's identity and perhaps where it came from. Every twist and turn made while working through a gemstone adds to the picture that will eventually form my conclusions about the gem.

It can also expose what tortures it may have had to endure to improve colour or clarity. This gem had undergone severe heat-treatment and probably had beryllium diffused into the crystal lattice to present this lovely orange body colour. The stresses of these tortures can reveal themselves in some very interesting ways.

Inclusion in the sapphire
A very ‘illuminating’ inclusion

Sapphire at 30X

So, this little orange sapphire was mounted on my microscope and I spotted something interesting and zoomed in for a closer look. I adjusted the lighting to get better contrast and then ZAP! The inclusion group lit up like a Christmas tree. This big clown's face was smiling back at me.

As the gemstone was tilted on the microscope stage this effect was flashing on and off just like a neon sign. Just for the record, apart from cropping, the image you see here is exactly as it came out of the camera... yes those neon greens, blues and pinks appeared in the stone as you see them in this photo. Wonderful.

Add or Detract?

Inclusions are sometimes referred to as ‘flaws’ and considered a negative attribute. I don't always agree. What do you think? Does this inclusion add to the gemstone's interest and beauty or take something away?
I would respond with a resounding ‘add’ and where possible I try and include images of inclusions in my valuation reports. Sadly, the pressures of time don't always allow for this indulgence.

Clown's face
Is it a clown?
Homer's face
...or Homer?

To me, this fairly ordinary sapphire has now become something quite special. I am just hoping that my client feels the same way too. I am also hoping she doesn't detest clowns as some people do, or I have just put my foot in it by publishing this piece. Maybe she likes Homer Simpson instead..... here's hoping.

Adrian S Smith - Diamond Valuer


  • Adrian Smith FGA, FJVA, PJDip
  • Independent Jewellery Valuer
  • Perth, UK
  • Surety Valuations


  • Gems / Gemmology (primary)
  • Humour

Intended Audience

  • Consumers (primary)
  • Gemmology Students
  • Appraisers/Valuers
  • Gemmology Academics


  • June 2020
  • 2.5 mins reading time
  • Dale-Chall readability level:
    Easily understood by an average College Student
  • 3.5 mins speaking time

About the Author

Jewellery and Diamond Appraiser - Adrian Smith

Adrian Smith FGA, FJVA, PJDip

Adrian Smith, of Surety Valuations, has spent his entire working life in the jewellery trade and uses his passion for gemstones and jewellery valuation to own and run an award-winning jewellery appraisal practice in Scotland. He is the Founder and Coordinator of the Association of Independent Jewellery Valuers and the Administrator of Jewellery Appraisers of the World. He has served on the Management Committee and Board of Governors of trade associations both in the UK and the US.

Adrian Smith - Jewellery Valuer

Surety Valuations

Perth, Scotland

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