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Sapphire glass: the scratch-proof material used in the new Apple …

In announcing its new smart watch, Apple revealed that the display will be made out of a new material: scratch-resistant sapphire glass.1

For months, rumors held that the iPhone 6 would actually be made of sapphire glass. Videos surfaced showing a purported iPhone 6 with a sapphire glass display that was entirely impervious to hard impacts from keys and a knife.23

These rumors turned out to be wrong. But Apple fans can still get a scratch-resistant sapphire glass product in the phone.

Here’s an explanation of what sapphire glass actually is and what it makes more sense for a watch than a phone.

Sapphire glass is a synthetic material

Sapphires are most well known as rare, blue-colored gemstones4 that form naturally. But just like diamonds, sapphire can be made synthetically in fact, the first synthetic sapphires were made back in 1902.

The process used to make sapphire today is essentially the same as it was a century ago.

The natural compound aluminum oxide is ground into a powder, then heated to at least 3,600 F. For use in a device like a phone, it’s then processed into sheets and without any impurities present, the resulting sapphire glass is a totally clear material. 56

The Apple Watch certainly isn’t the first use of sapphire glass in a consumer electronics device. The iPhone 5, in fact, makes use of sapphire glass in its camera lens, which makes it virtually unscratchable7.

Plenty of high-end watches also use sapphire glass faces for the same reason.

Why sapphire glass is used in the Apple Watch

apple watch 2 apple watch 2

(Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

The reason why you might want a watch with a sapphire glass display is pretty straightforward: it’s extremely difficult to damage. As materials scientist Neil Alford told Forbes, sapphire is a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. The hardest material on it diamond is a ten.89

Covering a watch in sapphire glass will make it much more scratch resistant than the iPhone. This video isn’t showing an actual iPhone 6 display, but Alford did tell the Guardian10 that it seems to be sapphire glass anyway.

In theory, the Apple Watch should be just as hard and difficult to scratch as the piece of glass in the video:

To date, smart watches haven’t really taken off11. There are a few reasons for this, but one might be that people are hesitant to shell out hundreds of dollars in addition to buying a smartphone for a fragile piece of electronics that could get cracked or broken anytime a user merely hits his or her wrist on a doorway. Unlike phones, smart watches can’t be used with a case.

Apple presumably hopes to remedy this situation by billing the watch as a totally scratch-proof technology.

Why sapphire glass still isn’t in the iPhone

There are a few possible reasons why Apple didn’t decide to use the material in its phones.

One is cost.

Right now, sapphire glass is more expensive than Gorilla Glass, mainly because it has to be heated to a higher temperature and more thoroughly purified during production. Using tiny pieces of sapphire glass for the camera lens and home button isn’t a big deal, but larger sheets covering every iPhone could substantially raise the production cost.12

But this price could come down, experts say, if Apple (and other companies) begin using enough sapphire glass to significantly increase the scale of production. In that event, putting small pieces of sapphire glass in watches could be a gateway to putting larger ones in phones.13

However, there may be a reason why sapphire glass won’t be suitable for phones at all.

It’s super-hard, but some experts note that it may be a bit less flexible than the Gorilla Glass used in iPhones.

This could make it more prone to shattering upon being dropped if a big slab of it were used to support a large, 5.5-inch phone.1415

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Upcycled kitchens made from local materials are made to last …

The kitchens at y k Casa + Cultura1 are designed to look like a nice piece of furniture, because they are situated in the living room, as guests tend not to cook 5 course meals but rather prepare easy meals and breakfasts. The floating effect helps to make the original floors and ceilings from 1900 stand out. All kitchens are fully equipped with second hand crockery and glassware, recycling bins, organic products like olive oil, eco-friendly cleaning products from the taps of Goccia Verde2 and an honesty mini-bar with local food products.

Carlos Barruz for y k3 The cupboard doors are made from used pallets, and the countertop is 4, manufactured from 75% of recycled materials such as mirror, glass, porcelain, earthenware and vitrified ash. LED stips iluminate the countertop, and a seperate line above and below the cupboards serve as the light source for the living room, illuminating the original mosaic floor and ceiling.

y k’s Instagram5/via The PVC free switches and plugs are made locally from porcelain by Fontini6. All of the materials are chosen for their durability and low maintenance.

The appliances are A+ certified to use as little energy as possible. More about how our guests save energy here7. y k’s Instagram8/via

The kitchen faucet is by the same series as our bathroom9‘s, L20 by Roca, equipped with aerators and Cold Start. Carlos Barruz for y k10 We serve complimentary filtered tap water in reusable glass bottles from our office upstairs.

Jute shopping bags help guests go shopping without plastic bags.

Check out 11 for more ideas!


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  2. ^ Goccia Verde (
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  5. ^ Fontini (
  6. ^ how our guests save energy here (
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  8. ^ our bathroom (
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