When you’re just starting the engagement ring journey and you’re in the throes of research you may have noticed that in today’s bridal market, the diamond is not the only center stone choice. In fact, brides have become quite open minded to other stones, such as Sapphires. Sapphires have an incredibly rich history, and have been embraced by royalty for generations. Princess Diana herself, (and now Kate Middleton) wore a beautiful oval sapphire engagement ring. Besides diamonds, sapphires are easily one of the most coveted gemstones in both bridal and fashion fine jewelry today.
Sapphires are a great choice for an engagement ring not only because of their hardness and durability but due to the fact that they are also rich with symbolism and meaning. Sapphires are believed to represent virtue, faithfulness and sincerity, all important qualities in a marriage. Historically, royals believed Sapphires to bring protection, good fortune and spiritual insight. It was a symbol of power, strength, kindness and wise judgment.
What is a Sapphire?
A sapphire is considered a precious gemstone and falls under the corundum mineral family. Corundum is an extremely hard substance scoring a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale second only to a diamond, which earns a perfect 10. This is the reason why sapphires make great center stones for engagement rings. Their durability makes them suitable for everyday wear. Sapphires are commonly recognized for their stunning and vibrant blue color, however other colors such as pink, green and yellow are not uncommon.
The 4 C’s
Color: Like most gemstones, including diamonds, the clearer and more vibrant a stone, the more valuable it is. Sapphire quality is rated on its color, the more intense the hue the more valuable the stone.
Clarity: Clarity is also important as too many defects and imperfections lower the value of the stone. A high quality sapphire should be symmetrical on both sides, and it shouldn’t have any wrinkles or imperfections visible to the naked eye. Size, location and number of inclusions all affect how experts will judge clarity. The less visible the inclusions are, the higher the grade.
Cut: The cut is essentially what makes a sapphire really sparkle. The cut of a stone refers to how it was faceted and polished from its rough state. Sapphires are given a cut grade, which factors in symmetry, windowing, extinction, and brilliance.
Carat: Like diamonds, the weight of a sapphire is measured in carats. Typically, larger gem quality stones are harder to come by than smaller ones, so naturally they are valued higher.
The most popular shapes for a Sapphire center stone are oval, round and cushion. You will want to get at least a 1 carat or bigger. Since Sapphires are not as expensive as diamonds you can definitely get more for your buck and still achieve a substantial look.
If you love Sapphire but are still set on a diamond center, you can still incorporate Sapphire as an accent stone in your engagement ring. A three stone setting is a great way to do this. Sapphires in pear shapes, princess cuts, kite shapes, baguettes and marquise shapes make for great side stones.
Sapphires look great in all types of settings. Whether you prefer clean contemporary designs or vintage inspired, both types of designs showcase the beauty of a Sapphire flawlessly. White gold or platinum looks best and diamond accents really make blue Sapphire pop.
Sapphires are a highly desirable gemstone due to their beautiful royal blue color, hardness, durability, and luster. So if you’re considering choosing Sapphire for your engagement ring, be confidant in the fact that you are making an excellent choice. And let’s face it if it’s good enough for Princess Diana and Kate Middleton, it’s certainly good enough for us mortals.