In this post, we take a look at the diamond and blue sapphire engagement ring. It’s no wonder sapphires have been one of the most popular precious gemstones for centuries—they’re a natural choice for your “something blue.” They’re also considered one of the “Big Four” of precious jewels, alongside rubies, emeralds and diamonds. These durable stones appeal to jewelers because they have a hardness of nine on the Mohs scale (diamonds are a 10), according to Mark Broumand, founder of Mark Broumand. If you’re looking for a sturdy center stone or unique accent stones, this precious gem may just be for you.
Diamond And Blue Sapphire Engagement Ring
Everything You Need to Know About Sapphire Engagement Rings
In ancient cultures, sapphire talismans were thought to have strong medicinal and protective powers, says Yehouda Saketkhou, CEO of Yael Designs. Symbolizing honesty and wisdom, sapphires soon became the preferred gem of medieval royalty and clergy. Kings even wore them when they signed treaties as a symbol of good luck. In modern day, sapphires give off vibes of old-world romance. They’re the traditional gift for a 45th wedding anniversary, and just so happen to be the engagement ring of choice for the British royal family. After all, Kate Middleton’s stunning 18-carat sapphire engagement ring was originally presented to Princess Di (can you think of a more amazing heirloom?).
While some of the most valuable sapphires in history were mined in Kashmir and Myanmar (Burma), these days most of the world’s sapphires come from Sri Lanka and Australia, says Douglas Hucker, CEO of the American Gem Trade Association. Since Sri Lanka has been producing sapphires for thousands of years (like the Logan sapphire, one of the largest sapphires in the world), you’ll pay for the historic connection, Hucker says. There are also smaller artisanal mines that use old-fashioned techniques (read: digging and sifting for stones by hand) in Madagascar. Though production in this developing country is spottier than in others, some of the sapphires produced there are just as high quality as those from Sri Lanka. Though not as valuable, sapphires are also mined in Montana.
Shades of Sapphire
Sapphires occur in a rainbow of hues, but the blue ones are the rarest and most valuable. It goes without saying that the most important quality in a blue sapphire is the richness of its color. A perfect sapphire will be cornflower blue without any modifying colors, such as gray, green or black, which might make the stone look inky or change its hue, according to Hucker. While a rich blue sapphire will be pricey, sapphires that aren’t blue (called “fancies”) are a great option if you want the unique appeal of a colorful center stone but don’t want to splurge on a pink or yellow diamond.
The cut of a sapphire isn’t as important as the cut of a diamond, because it’s harder to see inclusions in darker stones with the naked eye. No matter the shape of your stone (as long as it’s symmetrical), the color should look even with a consistent sparkle. An oval-cut one has an heirloom feel, while a round bezel setting gives off a more modern vibe.
No standardized quality-grading system exists for colored gemstones, but it’s rare to find a natural sapphire without inclusions. Don’t worry about finding a flawless stone—as long as there aren’t severe dark inclusions, you’re good.
The Hue for You
There’s a sapphire for every skin tone, according to Sylvie Levine, founder of Sylvie Collection. Sapphires with pastel undertones will complement lighter skin tones. Classic royal blue ones will pop against more olive complexions. Deep cobalt stones will create an amazing contrast against dark skin.
Some sapphires are found closer to thermal venting in the earth, which produces saturated color thanks to natural heating. More commonly, sapphires are treated with heat to enhance the richness of their color. Naturally vibrant sapphires that don’t require any heat treatment will command a premium price, but they’re also very hard to find, says Deirdre Featherstone, founder of Featherstone Design. Before you obsess over finding an untreated sapphire, know that heat treatments are permanent and don’t affect the quality. In some cases, they can strengthen the chemical makeup, Hucker says. Pro tip: Make sure you’re dealing with a reputable jeweler who uses standard treatments—not nonstandard ones like dyeing—before you buy.
Cleaning and Care
Though sapphires are durable, they require special care. Grace Terezian, creative director of Kirk Kara, recommends using warm water, mild soap and a soft-bristle toothbrush for everyday cleaning. Take your pieces to a jeweler for an in-depth cleaning at least once a year. If you own an estate piece, have your jeweler check the security of the stone once and a while—prong settings can loosen over time.
Feeling a sapphire engagement ring now? Make sure to visit our ring gallery to create your very own Hint profile where you can get style recommendations, “favorite” rings and find jewelers near you. When you’re ready, drop a hint for your partner and share your selects!
Sapphire Engagement Rings vs Diamond Engagement Rings
Engagement rings are a big, life-long decision, and with all of the different options offered, picking just one ring can be overwhelming. Traditionally, engagement rings have been diamonds, diamonds, diamonds, but as of late, other gemstones have begun to gain popularity within the engagement ring community. People nowadays may sport a little color on their left hand, given by an emerald, ruby, or sapphire. Sapphires, especially, have surged in popularity as Princess Kate Middleton wears an 18-carat royal blue sapphire previously belonging to Princess Diana.
Between yellow gold, white gold, rose gold, and platinum, the choices already seem endless, but with the addition of the choice between sapphire or diamond, the options grow exponentially. While there are plenty of different engagement ring options, there is no “right” or “wrong” ring. Each engagement ring style depends solely on the preferences of the couple purchasing it. Sapphire and diamond differences are few, but significant. Picking between these two stones can change the engagement ring immensely.
Although not as popular as diamonds, the sapphire has become a more typical stone for an engagement ring. Rightfully so, as sapphires can add that “something blue” to any wedding. Additionally, the legends of sapphires make them increasingly more desirable. In ancient times, sapphires were said to have medicinal and protective powers, while in medieval times, they were said to be symbolic of honesty and wisdom. During these times, a sapphire was a typical gemstone for royalty given its royal blue color and its lucky powers. Today, however, a sapphire engagement ring is loved for its rich color and durability.
Sapphire Engagement Rings Pros & Cons
Sapphire pros include its durability and hardness, earning a 9 on the Mohs scale. However, diamond pros also include hardness, ranking at a 10, the highest for any natural stone found on Earth. The high level of hardness make both sapphire and diamond engagement rings a logical choice for everyday use. The durability debate does not end here though because sapphires can more easily be scratched, a rarity for diamonds. Sapphire cons include the necessity to take the stone in for extra care such as re-polishing and re-cutting. Although it is more damage prone than a diamond, the high sapphire durability make it a more popular choice than other gemstones, such as emeralds or rubies.
Diamonds refract more light than sapphires do, appearing more brilliant, adding to their value. While a diamond is valued for its brilliance, sapphire value is determined by its color. Sapphires are made up of the element corundum, but trace amounts of other elements give them especially vivid colors. Blue sapphires, the most popular choice, contain iron and titanium, while white sapphires are made up of pure corundum, making the stone colorless. The blue sapphire remains the most valuable because it is also the rarest type of sapphire. It’s most important quality is the richness of the color; a perfect sapphire will be a deep blue without any other modifying colors. Although less popular, sapphires can also be found in pink, purple, orange, yellow, green, and black. Uniquely, one of the pros of buying a sapphire is that there is a stone for every skin tone. Lighter skin will be complemented by a sapphire containing pastel undertones, darker skin will be complemented by cobalt undertones, and olive skin will be complemented by a royal blue sapphire.
Diamonds sparkle even when they are dirty, but a white sapphire may not. Therefore, if the color is what piques your interest, a sapphire is the right choice, but if clear is your desire, diamond is the way to go. No two sapphires are exactly alike. A sapphire engagement ring is guaranteed to be unique, making sapphires more intimate than diamonds. Because of their uniqueness, durability, and intense color, sapphires are quickly becoming more popular in engagement rings, triggering a quick rise in value. Regardless, sapphires remain to be less valuable than diamonds, allowing for engagement rings to have a bigger sapphire at a lower cost. For example, the standard size for a sapphire is about 6 mm which equates to a .75 carat diamond in cost.
Sapphire Engagement Ring Styles
Popular diamond engagement ring styles include the Solitaire and the Halo, but as the ring grows more complex, the value skyrockets. However, the cut of a sapphire is not as important as the cut of a diamond because overall, it is harder to see inclusions of a sapphire with the naked eye. Popularly, sapphire rings can have round, oval, and cushion shapes. The oval cut sapphire gives the engagement ring a more vintage and nostalgic look, while the round is more timeless. Often, sapphire engagement rings have diamond accents or engraving details. One of the most popular choices for a colorful ring is the three stone sapphire engagement ring. This particular ring offers a center sapphire flanked by two smaller diamonds. Another popular choice is a sapphire halo diamond ring which features diamonds encircling the entire sapphire gem.
Sapphires and diamonds balance out in their pros and cons, but ultimately, diamonds are more traditional. However, sapphires are always an option for couples wanting to take have an engagement ring that truly stands out.
White gold bands are a popular choice for engagement rings with both diamonds and sapphires. Some people prefer the simple white gold band, while others choose designs that incorporate accent diamonds or sapphires over part, or all, of the band. Platinum is also another common choice, because it’s another white metal, and it’s durable and strong.
Some gemstone cuts for diamond and sapphire engagement rings include round, oval, princess and cushion cut stones. People even often pair round with oval gems, or cushion with emerald cut diamonds and sapphires. Both of these stones work well for center stones, and provide a timeless complement to one another when paired with accent stones. They also work well in tri-stone styles.