MedTech Jewels and Ceramic

Precision micro-machined rubies and sapphires for cardiovascular, neurosurgery and other invasive MedTech applications

Rubies, sapphires and spinels for medical implants and surgical instruments

As a Swiss leader in the machining of synthetic jewels for the watchmaking field, having obtained both ISO 9001 and ISO 13485 certifications, we are today applying this expertise to the manufacturing of precision jewel components for use in the MedTech industry.

Characteristics of synthetic rubies and sapphires 

Synthetic ruby ​​and sapphire are single aluminum oxide crystals, the latter being practically pure (+99.99% Al2O3).

The same qualities that make these materials ideal for the production of watch components also make them highly suitable for use in the MedTech sector. 

Ruby is an excellent electrical insulator, and as such is the ideal material for invasive medical devices that generate electrical impulses. Wear resistance and chemical inertness are two other characteristics that make rubies suitable for implantable medical devices. Pierhor-Gasser use single-crystal ruby instead of multi-crystal (ceramic) ruby, which ensures there is no cracking or degradation.

Other properties of rubies and synthetic sapphires which make them suitable for use in medical technologies are:

  • High hardness and mechanical resistance (from 1’200 to 2’000 Vickers)
  • Good thermal conductivity
  • Very low friction coefficient
  • Chemically inert
  • Excellent wear resistance, they do not disintegrate or crack over time
  • Excellent electrical insulator

Innovative industrial processes adapted for medical implants

At Pierhor-Gasser we have developed our own custom-built machines and proprietary production processes which allow us to achieve accuracies within 2μm of hole diameter and below 5µm of bore depth.

To ensure repeatability and reliability of production, in collaboration with the Acrotec Group R&D department at Pierhor-Gasser we have developed a femtolaser boring innovative process which achieves incomparable quality of surface finish and precision close to one μm.

Application of rubies, sapphires and spinels in medical devices and surgery equipment include but are not limited to below sectors:


    • Electro-medical implantable device components
    • Electrical isolators
    • Bearings for implantable medical devices
    • Defibrillators
    • Heart pumps
    • Pacemakers
    • Instruments for arteriotomy


    • Ball valve seat (recessed stone with a ball)

A ball valve seat, composed of a recessed ruby stone with a ball, is used in essential industries that demand precise fluid control. Because of the outstanding features of ruby, such as its hardness, wear resistance, and chemical inertness, the usage of a ruby ball in a ball valve seat offers significant advantages. This combination of properties makes ruby an ideal material for applications requiring endurance and precision control.

The biocompatibility of ruby makes it a good choice in applications where the fluid being regulated is in the medical or pharmaceutical industries, since it does not react with body fluids or pharmaceuticals.

The use of a ruby ball valve seat showcases the innovation that comes from leveraging the unique properties of materials like ruby to address specific challenges in surgical practice and a patient’s recovery.



    • Neurosurgical implants and instruments

Pierhor-Gasser manufactures synthetic jewels that are used in implantable neurosurgical devices. Sensors or electrodes used in deep brain stimulation (DBS) procedures might incorporate synthetic jewels as part of their construction. In cerebral shunts, rubies and sapphire jewels serve as valves, precision components facilitating the controlled flow of cerebrospinal fluid while maintaining a reliable and durable seal. The use of synthetic jewels in cerebral shunts and other neurosurgical tools and equipment demonstrates the intersection of cutting-edge materials research with the delicate needs of neurosurgery.


Flow control

    • Flow control nozzles for e.g. cerebrospinal fluid
    • Thrust bearings