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Ultimate Comparison of White Sapphire Vs Diamond
If you are shopping for a diamond engagement ring, you might be wondering which stone you should get – a white sapphire or a diamond? Both are beautiful and have their own unique qualities, but how do you decide which is the best option for you? In this blog post, we’ll explore the pros and cons of each gemstone so that you can make an informed decision. Keep reading to learn more!
Jump to the section:
- What is a white sapphire?
- White sapphires vs blue sapphires
- White sapphire vs diamond ring price
- Are sapphire rings popular?
- Visual differences between a sapphire vs diamond
- GIA report and cut grading
- Durability of a high quality sapphire
- Sapphire treatments: heat treated or not
- Where to buy a sapphire?
- White sapphire and moissanites Vs cubic zirconia
What is a white sapphire?
A sapphire is a beautiful gemstone prized throughout history for its durability, brilliant color, and symbolic meaning. It has long been considered a symbol of wisdom, faithfulness, and truth due to its brilliant color and hardness and is the birthstone for people born in September.
There are many sapphire varieties including sapphirine, rubies, padparadscha sapphires, star sapphires, etc., but all sapphires share the same chemical composition of aluminum oxide (Al 2 O 3 ).
White sapphires are valued in the gemstone industry for their durability and beautiful colors and are one of four “precious” gemstones, along with the ruby, emerald, and diamond.
While most people only know blue sapphires, these gemstones can occur in every color. An increasingly popular choice for engagement rings includes the white sapphire ring as a diamond substitute.
White sapphires appear either white or colorless and makes a good choice for someone who does not like the idea of wearing a traditional diamond ring but still wants a classic engagement ring.
That’s because they are the second hardest material in the world, next to diamonds. Due to its hardness a white sapphire engagement ring is often perceived as the only valid alternative.
Besides natural white sapphires, you’ll also increasingly find lab-created white sapphires.
White sapphires vs blue sapphires
The word “sapphire” refers to the blue gemstone variety of the mineral “Corundum”. Corundum is a transparent mineral that exists in all kinds of colors and also a colorless sapphire or white version, just like there are colorless diamonds.
The royal blue version is the most popular and was even said to make the sky blue with its reflections in ancient Persia…
Lesser known is the colorless or white version of the mineral. That’s why you won’t find a colorless gemstone at online vendors such as James Allen, who only offers colored sapphires.
How Much Cheaper is White Sapphire than Diamond?
First, a clear advantage of sapphire jewelry is the much lower cost compared to diamonds.
For instance, the sapphire above is 1.20 ct in weight and costs $1,326.00. When looking at a one carat diamond with acceptable color, clarity and cut grades you’ll see that the lowest price starts at $5,870. That means a traditional diamond is about 4x more expensive than its cheaper alternative.
However, if you compare a sapphire to a lab grown diamond, you’ll see that the price difference is much smaller. That’s true even if you’d choose a highly graded diamond such as near colorless diamonds.
Visual Differences Between a Diamond and a Sapphire
When comparing a the two stones, the most obvious difference is that the diamond has much more sparkle and scintillation (scintillation refers to the rainbow colors that you can typically see in a diamond) compared to a white sapphire.
Most diamonds also have more brilliance and more fire. That’s because diamonds have a high refractive index, white sapphires don’t. And at the end of the day, it’s the sparkle and beautiful light reflections that a diamond is all about. White sapphires have less sparkle. That’s why many couple choose a diamond ring instead of a white sapphire ring, because only a diamond has the amount of brilliance and sparkle many people look for.
Furthermore, compared to diamonds, white sapphires have a great tendency to appear somewhat cloudy or milky inside. It’s not that cloudy diamonds don’t’ exist. Especially diamonds with strong fluorescence can be cloudy. But it is exactly these diamonds though that you would try to avoid…
However, most people who choose a white sapphire instead of diamond jewelry are still satisfied. That’s because often people won’t notice the stark difference if they don’t compare the two stones side by side like I did in the above picture.
Are Sapphire Rings Popular?
White sapphire rings are gaining popularity as the diamond loses its allure as a symbol of love. In fact, white sapphires have been symbols of love for centuries.
Their popularity had faded in the past few decades as natural diamonds and now synthetic diamonds have become more popular. However, in recent years white sapphires along with other colored gemstones have been regaining some of their fabled popularity.
The white sapphire engagement ring tradition is one of the oldest traditions in engagement rings. The stone has been used as a symbol for love for millennia, so it makes sense that modern brides are choosing white sapphire engagement rings more frequently than ever before.
In addition to being a modern engagement ring choice, a white sapphire is also a gorgeous option for other jewelry pieces such as pendants and earrings. That’s because their durability makes them suited for everyday wear.
.GIA Reports and Cut Grading
The GIA does not grade white or colored sapphires. What you’ll find instead are gemstone certificates examined by professional GIA graduate gemologists. These reports describe the basic parameters of the gem-like carat weight, measurements, color, and treatment.
For a diamond, the cut, color, and shape are very important factors, as they largely determine its beauty in terms of brilliance, fire, and sparkle. As we found out earlier, white sapphires greatly differ from white diamonds in that aspect. Because sapphires lack these characteristics and, the GIA does not grade them.
Durability of A White Sapphire
Sapphires are less durable than diamonds and less resistant to scratching. These gems are 4 times more prone to getting scratches on the surface compared to their more expensive rivals.
The reason for that is, that diamonds are four times harder than sapphires, scoring 10 out of 10 on the Moh’s hardness scale.
Therefore, a sapphire requires more and also constant care compared to a diamond does. Much like an 18k gold ring settings requires more work than 14k or 10k gold settings (also applies to white gold).
Heat Treated Sapphires
There are two kinds of treatments that most sapphires receive: heat treatment and chemical treatment. These treatments are supposed to enhance the natural beauty of the gem, such as the color.
When a white sapphire is described as natural in their gem certificate, don’t’ be fooled. “Natural” in this case, doesn’t mean that they haven’t been treated, rather it means that they haven’t been lab-created. Lab-created gems are a lot cheaper compared to naturally occurring gems.
Where to buy White Sapphire?
I already explained in a different blog post about where to buy engagement rings online, that you should never buy a diamond blindly. The same applies to sapphires. If you want to save yourself some money I recommend avoiding visiting a brick and mortar store.
However, it is important to only buy at trusted online stores and not fall for a scam. Most reputable online retailers offer 360° videos and high-resolution pictures of all their stones.
Here are some places to buy white sapphires engagement rings:
You can also find colored sapphires and other gemstones at James Allen and Blue Nile:
You might also want to check out Charles Colvard.
White Sapphire Vs Moissanites Vs Cubic Zirconia
When it comes to white or colorless alternatives to a diamond, a more popular engagement ring alternatives are cubic zirconia stones. Cubic zirconia stones outperform sapphires in some areas and cuts short in others.
The pros of cubic zirconia:
- It has high brilliance, fire, and sparkle
- It’s even cheaper than a sapphire
- It’s less durable
- It tends to look fake
Other alternatives that might be worth checking out before you set your heart on a white sapphire are lab-created diamonds and moissanite. Both moissanite and white sapphires are some good options when looking for a diamond alternative. In my opinion, though, nothing looks prettier than a well-cut diamond (same applies to lab-created diamonds).
White sapphire and a diamond both make a beautiful center stone for an engagement ring. However, when comparing the two gemstones side by side it’s easy to spot several visual differences. They are also no graded by the same grading system, thus it is important that you check the reputation of the vendor you are buying from.
If you are looking for an affordable diamond alternative but want the same qualities of a diamond, I recommend checking out lab-created diamonds. Lab-created diamonds cost a fraction of what a natural diamond costs. You can read more about diamond alternatives here.