Let’s start with the basics. All white sapphires are corundums – which means they belong to the same family as rubies and blue sapphires. Sapphires are aluminum oxides, which means that just a few trace elements within the sapphires chemical structure are responsible for the coloring of each stone. White sapphires can range from blue to colorless, and just about everything in between. While the broad color spectrum of the sapphire presents an array of options, if you’re looking for a diamond alternative gemstone that can be mined from the earth, the white sapphire is a good option.
The chemical makeup of white sapphires doesn’t just affect their hue, it’s also responsible for the gemological properties the gemstone exhibits. White sapphires have a refractive index of 1.77, which means they come in third to moissanite and diamonds in brilliance. When looking at the gemstones fire (how light passes through the gemstone), a white sapphire doesn’t quite compare to moissanite. White sapphires do however rank highly on the MOHs hardness scale. As you can see in the chart below, white sapphires rank in the top three gemstones available on the market for hardness behind diamonds and moissanite.
The major downfall to the white sapphire is its inability to retain its fire and brilliance with daily wear. All stones get dirty with everyday wear and tear, but unlike moissanite, sapphires do not retain much of their fire and brilliance when they encounter build up from soap or lotions. If you want to keep your white sapphire sparkling as brilliantly as the day you bought it, you’ll need to clean your stone frequently. White sapphires can also develop a “frosted” appearance after years of wear due to scratches and chipping of the edges of the stone. This cloudy phenomenon occurs because the chipping impacts the refractive properties of the stone, which lessens its overall brilliance and shine.
Ever since Prince William gave Kate Middleton her vintage engagement ring, sapphires have been popping up in wedding rings everywhere. The various shades of blue and even yellow and pink sapphires add interest and a pop of color to any vintage ring. The most valuable color is a rich medium blue, which stays constant in any light and can look great with any ensemble. Because it’s the birthstone for September, a sapphire engagement ring is a perfect choice for women who were born in the ninth month of the year.
This ring isn’t afraid to bring the serious sapphire firepower, with that cornflower blue, natural, no-heat Ceylon sapphire which clocks in at an extremely respectable. 15.50 carats. It’s contemporary but extraordinarily glamorous, with antique-style open scrollwork galore.
This is an early 20th century sapphire and diamond ring, circa 1915. It has a lozenge cluster of sapphires at the center, formed by a square cut and four triangular cut sapphires, with a border of single cut diamonds, a pierced gallery, and a plain shank. It is simple but I think the overall shape – which has the vaguest suggestion of a flower, with the subtle indentations in the center of each side of the diamond – is really pretty.
This spectacular sapphire and diamond ring
, a definite crowd-pleaser, is an early 20th century diamond and sapphire ring, circa 1910. It is millegrain set with a cushion cut diamond, the surrounding calibre cut sapphires forming a lozenge, diamond dart highlights to the corners and a diamond set outer border. I think it’s really spectacular.
This round beauty is a contemporary Art Deco-inspired piece by Tiffany & Co., part of the Great Gatsby collection. Fabulous, yes? And very easy to see the Deco influence, especially when it’s in such company.
Next up is an antique platinum-mounted sapphire and diamond marquise shaped cluster ring, circa 1890. The ring has a central marquise shaped sapphire bordered by lines of diamonds and calibre cut sapphires. The border is formed to look sort of like a ribbon wrapped around the central sapphire and flattened. I was surprised by the date; doesn’t it look Art Deco? A forward-thinking jeweler, I guess.
This baby is another ring that is both huge and beautifully designed. It’s another contemporary Art Deco-style piece, set with a 7.11 carat cushion-cut sapphire and just under 3 carats of baguette and oval-cut diamonds. I wouldn’t turn this one down.
is quintessentially Art Deco in a way that makes me think of buildings, but it’s also a little early to be called Art Deco in terms of age. This antique cabochon sapphire & diamond ring, is from 1905. It features an oval cabochon sapphire centered in a pierced and millegrain set bombe diamond mount.
This knockout of an Art Deco cocktail ring centers a 5.33 carat Burma sapphire, so its chances at fabulousness were pretty high from the get-go. It’s further embellished by an oblong two-row border of calibre cut sapphires and diamonds, with a scalloped edge, and diamond line shoulders.
These spectacular sapphire rings are not all from the same source, so please see individual descriptions above for links. All images and info are thanks to the original poster of each item.
Some believe sapphires have mystical properties and can bring the wearer peace, serenity and success. It’s no wonder so many famous people and even royalty possess jewelry featuring this gemstone. Whether you believe in the myths or not, sapphire vintage engagement rings are always a good choice when you’re looking for something really special.