When you think of engagement rings, which stone springs to mind? While many people choose a diamond for their engagement ring, it’s by no means the only choice.
There are numerous options when it comes to the stone you desire, from modest and traditional to dazzling and unique. If you’ve never considered a white sapphire, read on to find out more about this beautiful gem.
In the Post
- Difference between a Sapphire and White Sapphire?
- All about White Sapphire Engagement Ring
- Tips for buying a white sapphire ring
- How to propose
Difference between a Sapphire and White Sapphire?
When we think of sapphires, royal blue is the color that we think of. Blue sapphires are certainly the most common, and also the most sought after.
Sapphire engagement rings have become very popular in recent years. Princess Diana’s ring had 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a stunning 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-karat white gold.
In 2010, Prince William proposed to Catherine Middleton, giving her his mother’s engagement ring, propelling this gem stone into popularity once more.
However, there are several colors of sapphire aside from the blue. Light pink sapphires are on the market, as well as the Padparadscha, which is a sapphire of orange/pink.
But for someone searching for a classic look, you can’t go wrong with a white sapphire. The white sapphire is actually the rarest sapphire. This is a hugely underrated stone, which discerning ring shoppers are finally recognizing for its true value.
A sapphire can come in any variety of colors. The unique colors are produced by the minerals and imperfections in the stone. The white sapphire is pure and without these minerals. This makes it the most special of all the sapphires on the market.
All about White Sapphire Engagement Ring
Is it some kind of diamond?
While a white sapphire might be mistaken for a diamond, it’s certainly a different stone. Both are gorgeous choices for an engagement ring, but here are a few differences you might find between them. The differences can be considered a pro or con, but many people will agree that a white sapphire is an excellent alternative to a diamond. Here are some of the differences:
- Diamonds are more sparkly than white sapphires
- A white sapphire will be much cheaper compared to a diamond of a similar size/quality. The diamond might be as much as three times more expensive
- They are both very durable, but diamonds more so – they rate as a 10 on the Mohs Scale of Gemstone Hardness, whereas a white sapphire rates as a 9, still making it a very hard and durable stone
- Both are scratch resistant
- Both look nice paired with other gemstones and a variety of metals
Natural or man-made?
You can get synthetic white sapphires, but natural is the best way to go. The synthetic stones vary greatly in color and quality, so you’re never really sure what you’re getting.
As a natural white sapphire is so inexpensive anyway (compared to a diamond) then there’s no reason not to choose the best quality natural stone you can.
Like diamonds, white sapphires come in graded varieties, the best quality being AAA. About 10% of white sapphires are of the AAA classification.
As a pure and clear white sapphire is hard to come by, some companies try to remove the color tints from nearly-pure stones. They heat treat the stones to remove any tint of color, leaving a clear white sapphire.
However, the heating process can undermine the integrity of the stone, leaving it weaker. If possible, seek a white sapphire that hasn’t been treated in this way to ensure a durable and attractive stone.
Value and cost
The white sapphire is great value for money. At a first glance, most people will assume you’re wearing a diamond.
If you can’t afford a diamond but want a luxurious look, the white sapphire is a great alternative. Why spend a fortune on a tiny diamond when you could purchase a much bigger, better quality sapphire for the same price?
The Natural Sapphire Company is a good place to get an initial idea of costs. The price of a white sapphire engagement ring depends on many things, such as the size and cut of stone, the metal it’s set in, and other considerations.
At the lower end of the scale, a simple round cut white sapphire in a 14k white gold setting will cost less than $600. A ring with an oval center stone in platinum, surrounded by nearly 50 tiny diamonds, will cost around $3,000.
Each ring is an individual work of art and it’s hard to estimate a rough cost for an engagement ring as they’re all so different.
Which metal suits white sapphire best?
Which metal you choose will depend on a number of things. Some brides have a particular metal they prefer as it goes better with their skin tone. The best way of determining your skin tone is to look at your veins.
Whether your skin is light or dark, the important thing is whether your tone is cool or warm. People with blue veins have a cool skin tone, whereas people whose veins look more of a green color have a warm skin tone.
Also, think about the warmer months of the year. If you tan in the sun, your skin tone is warm. If you burn easily, your tone is cool.
If you have a cool skin tone, the metals that will suit you best are silver, white gold and platinum. If your skin tone is warm, you’ll be better suited to bronze, gold and pewter. But of course, the metal also needs to match with the stone.
As the name suggests, a white sapphire is not entirely clear but often with a delicate white color. The fewer imperfections and minerals in the stone, the clearer it will be. As such, the stones which are almost totally clear are rare and sought after. They’re the most expensive, and difficult to find in larger sizes.
White sapphires pair wonderfully with both yellow gold and rose gold. The rose gold is a wonderful choice because it can suit both cool and warm skin tones. The delicate color doesn’t overpower the purity of the stone, but helps to define it.
Rose gold is a popular choice for bridal jewelry and adds something unique. Many people think that a plain gold or silver can be too overpowering, or almost clinical. A rose gold is a much softer style and can be paired with other hues in the wedding dress or bridal hair accessories. Rose gold is also a trending color theme for wedding parties and engagement parties.
Will it shine like a diamond?
Diamonds are certainly the most sparkly of all the stones. Their enduring popularity as engagement rings comes from their unrivalled shine and classic look. The tradition of buying diamond engagement rings started in the 1940’s.
After the Great Depression, people couldn’t afford extravagant things like diamonds. The De Beers diamond company needed to find a way to make diamonds seem essential to the ordinary man.
They embarked on a pioneering marketing campaign, the likes of which had never been seen before. Their marketing research led them to the knowledge that to buy diamonds, the customer must have an emotional bond with them.
In the 1940’s, they launched their popular slogan – ‘A Diamond is Forever’. It sold the story that a marriage would be happy and lasting if you propose with a diamond. We may brand it as a silly marketing ploy, but by 1951, 80% of American brides were wearing diamonds.
These days, brides are opting for non-traditional stones in large quantities, even though the diamond remains the most popular. If you want a really shiny, sparkly stone, only a diamond will deliver that.
But, the white sapphire is an excellent alternative, and it’s possible to find a sapphire with a good sparkle if it’s been cut extremely well. The better-quality white sapphire you purchase, the more similar it will be to a diamond in its look.
As we just mentioned, the cut of the stone is very important. A white sapphire that’s been cut very well will have a much better sparkle than a poorly cut sapphire.
Like any precious gemstone, there’s also the choice to have your white sapphire cut into a specific shape. You’ll notice a great variety of choices in the shop window, and rings can also be custom made.
Aside from choosing the stone and the metal, you also need to pick which cut for the stone. This is a bigger decision that you might think. For example, many engagement rings have just one, larger central stone.
However, if you choose to have other precious gemstones either side of the central stone, or surrounding it, you’ll need to make sure it all works together. For example, a round cut looks good when surrounded by smaller stones.
That said, a heart shaped central stone can look overwhelmed and swamped if it can’t stand out on its own. We mention specific cuts later in the article, so read on.
The meaning of white sapphires
Different meanings are attributed to sapphires of different colors. As the most commonly found sapphires are blue, many of the meanings credited to sapphires are usually more to do with the blue stones than the other colors.
However, sapphires of all colors are said to be symbols of strength and power, and have been used in decision making rituals across the ages.
The white sapphire is the purest of all sapphires, as the colors in the gem come from impurities. A sapphire without impurities of any kind would be completely clear. As such, the white sapphire is associated with pure energy, clarity, and power of the mind.
If you use gemstones for their healing powers, a white sapphire is good for calming the mind and bringing lightness through its restorative qualities.
It’s said that white sapphires stimulate the Crown Chakra, the top of the head, which can help you to respond positively to challenging situations in life.
Chemical composition and hardness
Sapphires are a hard and scratch resistant stone, and only a diamond is stronger. On the Mohs Scale of hardness, the white sapphire rates as an impressive 9 out of 10, only just behind the diamond which is 10 out of 10.
The mineral species name for sapphires corundum, and the white sapphire is the purest form. Sapphire’s chemical composition is made up of aluminum and oxygen.
Tips for buying a white sapphire ring
If you’ve decided to go for a white sapphire, congratulations! You’ve made a great choice! This is one of the most exciting times in your life, and also one of the most significant purchases you will make. As such, you should give it a lot of thought before making a decision. Here are a few tips to consider when buying your ring.
Traditionally, the lucky guy was supposed to spend about three months’ salary on the ring.
For wealthy couples, this is a drop in the ocean. However, for modern couples on modest earnings, this could seem like an impossible figure. Many young people are, these days, preferring to spend close to one months’ salary rather than three.
Men don’t want to splash out such vast quantities on one ring, and women don’t want the responsibility of looking after such a valuable item.
Also, modern couples pay for more of the wedding themselves, rather than handing the bill to the father of the bride. As such, they want to spend less on the ring to save for the big day.
One of the best things about choosing a white sapphire is that the cost is much cheaper than a diamond, and yet you can purchase an exquisite piece of jewelry.
Browse shops in person as well as online. It can be hard to see what a ring really looks like just from a photograph. Some men feel a connection when they first lay eyes on the perfect ring.
Also, enjoy the experience! Going into proper jewelry shops can be daunting, but the staff want to make it an enjoyable experience for you.
Remember that size isn’t everything, and that a smaller stone might be more durable and better quality. This is particularly true of white sapphires which are very rare, especially in larger sizes.
While adjustments can be made, if the ring is vastly too small or too large, it could be disastrous.
If you can’t decide what your bride would like or are clueless to her ring size, ask your jeweler about a ‘place holder’ ring. This is a ring you can use for the proposal, but which you can then return to the shop and let your bride choose a ring for herself. It’s estimated that as many as one in five brides will choose their own engagement ring.
Where to buy?
There are countless good quality sapphire retailers for you to choose form. As we’ve mentioned, we do recommend having a look at some rings in person if you can. It can be a good idea to browse a few shops in the beginning to get a general idea of the price range you’re looking at and the different styles available.
Once you’ve got a good idea from looking in person, you can look at websites and online retailers for further ideas. The final decision of whether to buy online or in person will be dependent on many things. Aside from finding the ‘perfect’ ring, you might also be bound by where you live and the availability of jewelry shops in your locality.
If you love a bargain, try to do your ring hunting in the New Year with the January sales, or aim for the Black Friday events in November. Many retailers have sales throughout the year.
The Natural Sapphire Company are specialists in sapphires and have an informative website to offer you information about the choices available. Do Amore are another company that have a passion for ethical white sapphires.
Will your sweetheart happy if it’s not a diamond?
Some brides are really set on the idea of having a diamond. It’s the classic stone and most popular choice, which means you’ll have much more variety when it comes to choosing the perfect ring. Diamond engagement rings are traditional and while many brides might flirt with the idea of a funky, colorful ring, many will come back to the clean classic look of a diamond.
However, diamonds also have a bad name for themselves. It’s well known that diamonds can be mined unethically. It’s something that can be hard to compute – the fact that a pretty, innocent ring can be linked to such tragedies. Diamonds that come from these sources are known as blood diamonds (also called conflict diamonds, war diamonds, hot diamonds, or red diamonds).
Supporting this kind of diamond trade is supporting the armies that devastate war torn countries. In particular, the blood diamond trade is linked with the central, south coast and west coast of Africa. The 2006 film Blood Diamond, with Leonardo DiCaprio, helped to raise awareness on this issue.
The most difficult thing about the diamond controversy is that it’s almost impossible to tell if the diamond you see in a shop is ethically sourced or not. While efforts have been made to ensure certification for clean diamonds, mainly through the Kimberly Process, there are widespread criticisms and short fallings. Some companies claim to guarantee ethical diamonds, but it’s still very difficult for the customer to know for sure.
The only way to avoid buying a conflict stone is to stay away from diamonds altogether. As such, many brides today specify that they would rather have a white sapphire or a colored stone than run the risk of purchasing a blood diamond.
Styles to suit your sweetheart
When choosing an engagement ring for your love, it’s a difficult choice that will have many aspects to consider.
While most guys are concerned, first and foremost, with the price, the style of ring and cut of the stone are also important decisions. Having chosen to go for a white sapphire, ring hunting gents can afford a much more luxurious option than if they’d been selecting from diamonds.
Most guys take about three months of searching to find the perfect ring. Of course, many engagement ring buyers need to spend time saving up for this purchase, and so taking time to choose the perfect ring can also give you more time to save up for it.
When browsing different ring choices, here are some of the different center stone cuts of white sapphire you could choose from.
Round – This is a popular and traditional choice. With a small, flat table and a broad surrounding crown, the round cut of gemstone is one of the more sparkly options.
Oval – Similar to the round cut, this longer shape can help to elongate the fingers for an elegant look.
Cushion – Like the oval cut but a little broader, the cushion shaped stone would look lovely if flanked on either side by precious gemstones in your bride’s favorite colors.
Marquise – Like an oval with pointed ends, the marquise is another cut that has enduring popularity.
Heart – Popular with younger couples, this cute cut of gemstone is a symbol of your everlasting love.
Princess – The princess cut is a square with layers of sparkle which soften the firm lines of this shape.
Trillion – The triangle shape cut brings style, even to smaller stones, and is one of the strongest shapes you could choose.
How to propose
The question of how to propose is even more individual and heartfelt than the choosing of a ring. Most brides will have an idea in their head of how they want to be proposed to, and many nervous gents can feel under a lot of pressure to get it right. How They Asked is a great place to find proposal advice and read inspiring stories of perfect proposals.