Pink diamonds are one of the most sought after and coveted gemstones. Their brilliance and depth are on another league, and so is their price! Most pink diamonds are so expensive that most of us can’t afford them.
This is where pink sapphires come in. Often chosen as a substitute for pink diamonds, pink sapphires are also durable, beautiful, and rare.
But how do they compare? What are their pros and cons? In this article, we pit pink diamonds against pink sapphires to see which comes out on top.
Bottom Line: Pink diamonds are more valuable and desired, but their high price and rarity make them inaccessible to all. Pink sapphires are a great alternative, and come at a fraction of the price of pink diamonds. Both are durable, brilliant, and perfect for engagement rings. Synthetic versions are also available for each, for even more affordable versions.
What Are Pink Diamonds?
Pink diamonds are one of the rarest types of diamonds. They typically come in a single muted shade of pink, but sometimes they have secondary colors such as purple, brown and orange. They are made of carbon just like colorless diamonds.
We don’t really know why pink diamonds are pink. The likeliest reason is that they undergo more pressure in their formation stage than other types of diamonds.
Most pink diamonds come from the Argyle mine in Australia. Each year, only about 50 carats of pink diamonds are sold at auction.
What Are Pink Sapphires?
Pink sapphires are made of corundum. They get their color from traces of chromium, giving the crystal a pinkish purplish shade.
If the stone contains a very high chromium concentration, they will appear red and fall under the category of ruby (the only type of corundum not classified as a sapphire). Lower chromium content produces pink sapphires.
Pink diamonds are rarer than most other types of sapphires and more valuable, but they’re easily found compared to pink diamonds.
Pink Sapphire and Pink Diamond – Differences and Similarities
Pink sapphire is the most popular substitute for pink diamond, because of their close similarities in terms of color, hardness and use.
Many people think diamonds and sapphires are almost alike, but they are very different.
Let’s break the differences down below step by step.
1. Pink Diamond vs. Pink Sapphire – Color
Both pink diamonds and pink sapphires come in a variety of shades. The shade of pink sapphires is generally brighter than those of pink diamonds.
The screenshot below shows a collection of pink sapphire listings. Some of these stones appear more brown or purple than pink, and yet they fall into the pink sapphire category. This goes to show the sheer number of shades pink sapphire comes in.
Determining the value of a pink sapphire based on its color is quite straightforward. The more vivid the pink color, the higher the value. The most sought-after pink sapphires come in a very bright shade called “hot pink”. These are also more expensive than other shades of pink sapphire.
Grading a diamond’s color is a little bit more complex. For pink diamonds that come in single straightforward shades of pink, the prices can be out of this world. These are the most valuable of them all.
However, determining a pink diamond’s value becomes more complicated when secondary colors come into play. The value of the diamond will now also depend on the rarity of the secondary color.
For example, if a pink diamond’s secondary color is brown, which is considered the least expensive color among diamonds, it is less valuable than when pink diamonds have a purple or orange secondary color.
2. Pink Diamond vs. Pink Sapphire – Durability
Pink diamond is the harder of the two, ranking at 10 on the Mohs scale, while sapphire ranks at 9. Since the Mohs scale is not linear, this ranking means that diamonds are three to four times harder than a sapphire.
But what does it mean for your jewelry? Sapphire is more prone to scratching and abrasion than diamonds. Diamonds can scratch a sapphire, but only another diamond can scratch a diamond.
The diamond’s hardness comes with a downside, however. It makes it more brittle. So, while diamonds may be hard, sapphires are the tougher of the two.
3. Pink Diamond vs. Pink Sapphire – Clarity
Clarityrefers to the transparency and the level of inclusions in the gemstone. The higher the clarity, the more expensive the gemstone.
With pink diamonds, we tend to be more forgiving towards flaws as they’re so exceedingly rare. You will find pink diamonds, like this one, that have terrible clarity but are still eye-wateringly expensive.
Pink sapphires are typically eye-clean. However, if they have inclusions, this can lower their value. Generally, you can find a flawless pink sapphire at a price that’s still relatively affordable, like this gorgeous stone.
4. Pink Diamond vs. Pink Sapphire – Comparing Price
Pink diamonds are so expensive that you can’t really compare them with pink sapphires. Take this 1.64 carat pink diamond. It’s priced at $186,590.
Now compare that with this 1.65 carat pink sapphire, which is eye-clean and has vivid color. It comes in at $1,250. As we said, there’s no comparison.
However, what this means is that pink sapphires are much more affordable than pink diamonds, and so they’re an excellent substitute for pink diamonds. If you’re looking for a lustrous and beautiful pink gemstone but can’t afford a pink diamond, then a pink sapphire can be your new best friend.
Pink Diamond vs. Pink Sapphire for Engagement Rings
Both pink diamonds and sapphires make for great engagement ring stones. Diamonds win in terms of durability, sparkle, depth, and value. But sapphires win when it comes to affordability, availability, toughness and design options.
You can’t really go wrong with either of these choices – it just comes down to budget and personal preference. If you can’t afford the mined versions, you can always choose their lab-created alternatives (discussed below).
Both these stones fit well in any setting. We find that rose and yellow gold settings blend better with the pink hue of the stone and complement each other perfectly. However, white metals also bring out a beautiful contrast to the stone.
If you’re heart is set on a pink diamond, choosing a lab-created version can be an excellent option. A synthetic diamond will still be quite pricey but much more affordable than its natural counterpart. In the same way, a lab-created sapphire will allow you to cut down on the price while not compromising on quality.
Another option is to choose a treated or enhanced stone. Here, a colorless diamond or sapphire undergoes various treatments using heat and irradiation to give the stone the desired color.
These are actual diamonds and sapphires, with the only difference being that the color is forced into them. The disadvantage of these treatments is that the colors could fade over time when the stone is exposed to intense heat and light.
Pink Diamond vs. Pink Sapphire – Symbolism
In the context of gemstone significance, pink diamonds mean femininity, fertility and love. They are also associated with joy and romance.
The soft shade of a pink diamond represents emotional stability and trust with one’s partner. It also symbolizes strength. Pink sapphires on the other hand are brighter and associated with passion.
For crystal healers, pink sapphires are perfect for psychic stability. Because the hot pink defies the tradition of white engagement rings, it represents the sense of embracing change, going with intuition and creativity, flowing with the current of things we cannot control.
Since pink sapphires have a more expressive color in them, many ladies opt for pink sapphires instead of diamonds for the purpose of standing out.
Pink sapphire is a bolder version of pink diamond and radiates more passion and adventure, allowing them to stand out among the gentler, more muted color that defines the millennial generation.
Where to Buy Pink Diamonds and Sapphires
There are many retailers that offer pink sapphires, but finding high quality pink diamonds can be much more difficult. If you’re looking to purchase these stones, we recommend the following retailers:
- James Allen – They have an exclusive collection of pink sapphires and pink diamonds at competitive prices. Their online imagery allows you to clearly see each stone from all angles and with magnification. They also have an impressive collection of engagement ring settings, excellent after sales policies, and assistance throughout the purchase process.
- Blue Nile –Blue Nile has a small but exquisite collection of pink sapphire jewelry. They also carry an impressive number of quality pink diamonds. See these here.
- Angara – For pink sapphire jewelry, check Angara Jewelers. Their sapphires come in various quality levels, from good to heirloom, giving you different price points to choose from. Read our Angara review here to learn more about them.
- Brilliant Earth – For synthetic pink sapphires and pink diamonds, we recommend Brilliant Earth. The company focuses on sustainable and ethically sourced jewelry. They also carry an excellent range of jewelry settings.
Overall, pink diamonds are excellent gemstones for jewelry. If you can afford the real thing, then good on you! Go for pink diamonds. Alternatively, there are synthetic versions as well as pink sapphires as substitutes.
But pink sapphires are more than just substitutes for pink diamonds. They’re also excellent gemstones, gorgeous to look at, and their color is slightly different to pink diamonds. While they don’t have the same depth of sparkle, they have the advantage of clarity and color.
To learn more about sapphires, check out our article on blue sapphires. You can also check out our article on colored diamonds.