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.