Lately, there has been a move towards color and bolder choices when it comes to jewelry. An increasing number of couples now opt for colored gemstones as opposed to a traditional diamond engagement ring. And sapphire has become one of the go-to alternatives.
The demand for sapphire engagement rings has been helped along by celebrities, most notably Kate Middleton. When Prince William proposed to Kate with his late mother’s gorgeous 12 carat blue Ceylonese sapphire, they set a trend and caused the sales of sapphire engagement rings to spike! This trend has continued.
It’s easy to see why sapphires are in demand:
A sapphire engagement ring is unique and eye-catching. While most colorless diamonds look identical, no two sapphires are the same. With more and more brides choosing this famous royal gemstone, here are 5 reasons why choosing a sapphire engagement ring is a great choice.
1. Sapphires come in a range of colors.
Think sapphire and most people think ‘blue’. But did you know that sapphires come in a variety of colors, ranging from black to white and almost everything in between?
It’s true that blue sapphire is the most popular and of course, due to demand, one of the most valuable varieties of sapphire. But if you dig beneath the blue, you’ll find varieties, such as the gorgeous padparadscha sapphire, that are in fact more valuable and rarer. Hot pink and yellow sapphires are some gorgeous shades, while white sapphire makes for a colorless diamond alternative.
The only color you cannot find a sapphire in is red, and that’s because red sapphire has its own name – ruby. When choosing your sapphire color, consider a shade to match your style, personality, and skin tone.
2. Sapphire is durable. It’ll take life’s knocks with you.
We all know that an engagement ring needs to be durable. After all, most of us plan to wear it every day for much of our lives and doing this exposes the stone to the knocks and shocks of everyday life.
While most people know that diamonds are the hardest stone (with a 10 ranking on the Mohs scale), not many know that sapphires are extremely durable and very tough (with a 9 ranking on the Mohs scale). Sapphires don’t easily break, chip or damage and easily withstand heat, chemicals and light.
This makes it perfect for daily wear and for all sorts of lifestyles. A sapphire is, indeed, forever.
3. Sapphires are an affordable option.
Sapphires are not as expensive as some other stones out there and are a much more affordable option than diamonds. Having said that, remember that in the jewelry world, affordable is a relative term.
The price of a sapphire depends on its variety and origin. Fine blue diamonds always command the highest prices as well as the world’s rarest variety of sapphire, the padparadscha. Even so, sapphires are often still more affordable than diamonds. For example, the 4 carat sapphire featured above costs around $5000, whereas a 4 carat diamond, like this one of middling quality, costs over $40,000.
This is mainly due to how their industries operate. The diamond industry is monopolized and resorts to marketing tactics such as false scarcity to keep the prices high. The sapphire industry, on the other hand, has never been monopolized, with the gemstones being competitively priced.
4. Sapphires can be a good investment.
Due to the surge in popularity over the past decade, sapphires are increasing in value. Because sapphires are rare, this sudden demand has caused prices to increase.
Sapphires are now being included in leading auctions around the world along with diamonds. In one case, Bonhams noted a sapphire that was auctioned at 2200% times its price!
Research has shown that sapphires have exceeded diamonds when it comes to growth in value. So now, sapphires are not only beautiful but also a great investment.
5. Sapphires are a more ethical choice.
When it comes to diamonds, there are many issues related to conflicts, abusive industry practices, environmental destruction and trafficking, to name a few. Because more and more people are aware of these issues and care about it, ethical sourcing is becoming a critical factor in the jewelry industry.
To this point, sapphires are a much more ethical choice than diamonds. This is due to a number of reasons.
The majority of sapphires are mined in Sri Lanka, Australia, Madagascar and Thailand. Mining conditions in most of these countries are generally safe.
It is much easier to trace a sapphire back to its mine of origin than it is for a diamond. This is because most sapphires come from small mines, run by families or local groups and not large, industrial mines. So when you purchase a sapphire, you know where it came from and it is likely that your purchase will assist that local community.
6. Sapphire is a rare and precious gemstone.
Most people think colorless diamonds are rare, but their rarity comes from tightly controlled supply by the diamond industry to create false scarcity and keep prices up. In nature, colorless diamonds are plentiful and everywhere beneath our feet!
In comparison, untreated high quality sapphires found in nature are very rare. Take for example the Kashmir blue sapphire. These can only be found in Kashmir and a carat can sell upwards of $200,000. A fine, natural sapphire is a great and unique find.
Choosing the Perfect Ring Setting
If you do decide to opt for a sapphire engagement ring, you then have to choose your ring setting to match your stone. Blue sapphires are commonly paired with small colorless diamonds and are especially stunning in halo and three stone settings in white metals. Sapphires aren’t very brilliant stones but when paired with diamonds, they tend to come alive and sparkle.
Blue sapphire engagement rings are usually set in white gold or platinum. However, for a sophisticated vintage look, mount in yellow or rose gold. The contrast in colors will make the sapphire stand out and be more noticeable.
Where to Buy Sapphire Rings
When buying a sapphire, choose a retailer with a proven track record, excellent customer service, and a commitment to quality.
Most online jewelry retailers who offer diamond and gemstones will carry sapphire stones and jewelry. Sapphire is also the birthstone for September, so any retailer offering birthstone jewelry will have have them.
We recommend the following retailers:
Why: Superior diamond imaging, competitive prices, high quality, wide range
An online giant in the diamond space, James Allen an exclusive collection of high-quality sapphires to suit a variety of budgets. The images and videos are unparalleled in quality and is the same as viewing the stone through a jeweler’s loupe.
Why: Competitive prices, wide range, great quality
One of the most well-known online diamond retailers, Blue Nile offers a high-quality collection of sapphire jewelry. Search diamonds and gemstones here at competitive prices, solid after-sales policies, and good customer service.
We hope these 6 reasons are enough to get you started on why sapphire is an ideal gemstone for engagement rings. As always, ensure that you purchase a quality stone by choosing it from a reliable retailer and knowing what you need to look for.