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Gemstone Knowledge

Is sapphire a good choice for an engagement ring?

Sapphires are versatile gems with royal ties, but are they a good fit as the center stone of your engagement ring?

Updated Feb 11, 2022

Why you should choose a sapphire

Let's get right to the point. Are sapphires a good choice for an engagement ring center stone? Absolutely. They're durable, they come in just about every color imaginable, and they can be found on the fingers of royalty and celebrities alike. We can’t even hide it: we obviously adore sapphires, and here are some of the key reasons we know you will too.

They’re almost as hard as diamonds

Beautiful and tough as nails, sapphires are made of corundum, a strong mineral that receives a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This puts sapphires and rubies—which are actually a red variation of corundum—just below diamonds when it comes to durability. Diamonds are the only gemstone that score a perfect 10 on the Mohs scale, but sapphires are a close second and can endure daily wear with ease.

Those of us who are a bit clumsy or don’t work behind a desk benefit greatly from choosing a sturdy sapphire as a center stone. Sapphires are an excellent choice for an engagement ring because their hardness and durability mean the stone—like your love—will last a lifetime. Of course, that's no excuse to be reckless with the most important piece of jewelry in your life! We'll recommend a few routine maintenance tips below for keeping your ring sparkling year after year.

Excellent scratch resistance

Mohs hardness 8.5 - 10

Diamond

Ruby

Sapphire

Very good scratch resistance

Mohs hardness 7 - 8

Aquamarine

Morganite

Emerald

Amethyst

Delicate scratch resistance

Mohs hardness 2.5 - 6.5

Opal

Pearl

You can find them in practically any color

Sapphire is the birthstone for the month of September, and we typically associate a rich, azure tone with these gems. But, if blue isn’t your color, you can choose from any shade in the rainbow of hues available when picking the perfect sapphire center stone. From pinks and peaches to purple, yellow, green, and every hue in between, “fancy sapphires” offer varying degrees of color and saturation.

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An incredible green sapphire trillion cut anchors a mix of gemstones in this cluster engagement ring.
An incredible green sapphire trillion cut anchors a mix of gemstones in this cluster engagement ring.
A blushing pink pear cut sapphire set in a delicate rose gold engagement ring.
A blushing pink pear cut sapphire set in a delicate rose gold engagement ring.
This engagement ring stars a vivid yellow radiant cut sapphire in a sparkling diamond halo.
This engagement ring stars a vivid yellow radiant cut sapphire in a sparkling diamond halo.

Trace elements within a sapphire determine its color, creating shades that range from the classic deep blue to vivid pink, mint green to canary yellow. There are even sapphires with distinctive patterns like the star sapphire, which is an opaque stone that features a starlike formation that spreads across the gemstone. And, if you can’t decide on just one color, sapphires have that covered too: multi-colored sapphires (also called parti-colored sapphires) blend 2 to 3 hues in just one stone! You really can find a sapphire in just about any color you might want. Well, except for red. When they're red, the laws of gemstone naming require us to call them rubies.

Of course, not everyone wants a vibrant, colorful center stone for their engagement ring. While we don't think of sapphires as a diamond alternative (they don't offer the type of sparkle—fire, brilliance, and scintillation—we expect from a diamond), the soft glow of a white sapphire can be perfect for a vintage setting. Take a look at how warm this asscher cut white sapphire looks at the heart of the Art Deco-inspired ring we designed and created for Matthew:

Lab-created sapphires are budget-friendly

One key consideration when it comes to natural sapphires: they can be pricey, especially if you’re looking for a high-quality gemstone in a larger size. If you’re struggling to stay within your limits, lab-created sapphires are a cost-friendly alternative to natural stones and provide the same level of durability. Plus, they’re identical to natural sapphires physically and chemically, so they offer the same beauty and durability. Most people won’t be able to tell the difference. And they're available in a broad range of colors, though they're a bit more standardized than the spectrums and combinations of colors we find in natural stones.

Lab-created sapphires are an ethical and sustainable choice, as they don’t require mining efforts that can have environmental impacts and can violate the human rights of workers. We strive to work with gem suppliers who partner with their local mining communities and create safe conditions and job opportunities. But we know some customers worry about the blurred lines of mining ethics. If you share this concern, lab-grown gems may be the perfect option for you; they leave a tiny footprint and require less energy to create.

They’re a hit with royalty and celebrities

There’s no shortage of famous individuals who adore sapphires, so you’re in good company if you’re thinking of choosing it as your center stone. Evidence suggests that sapphires were even prized by ancient Roman and Persian nobility, so they’ve been a beloved symbol of opulence for millennia! Arguably the most famous sapphire today belongs to Duchess Kate Middleton. Kate proudly wears a gorgeous sapphire with a diamond halo as her engagement ring, and the center stone is from the late Princess Diana’s private collection.

As if royal favor wasn’t enough, plenty of influential women—Elizabeth Taylor, Victoria Beckham, Penelope Cruz, Elizabeth Hurley, and more—also sport their sapphire rings with pride. With so many famous ladies backing the grandeur of sapphires, how can we resist?

Caring for your sapphire engagement ring

All gemstones require a little TLC, and we recommend routine care and cleaning for your sapphire engagement ring. Although sapphires are durable, you should still store your ring away from other jewelry items that could potentially scratch your stone. Don’t forget to remove your ring when cleaning, exercising, showering, gardening, or doing any activity that could expose your sapphire to chemicals, dirt, or oils from your skin, as this will keep it sparkling for longer.

When it comes to home cleanings, doing so on a monthly schedule is best. What’s more, the process is a cinch! We recommend using dish soap and warm water and gently scrubbing your sapphire with a soft toothbrush. Repeat the process until all debris is removed, and dry your sapphire ring with a lint-free towel or microfiber cloth for a final buff.

Every 6 to 12 months, we recommend taking your ring in to the jeweler for routine maintenance. This might just be a thorough cleaning and a review that all of the prongs and gem settings are snug. For white gold pieces, you might also benefit from a fresh coat of rhodium plating, to give the metal that perfect shine. And after 5 or 10 years, worn down prongs may need to be rebuilt, to ensure your sapphire sits securely for another decade. For our customers, we're happy to do the hard work for you: we offer professional cleaning and maintenance services for your custom pieces.

Conclusion

Sapphires are a popular choice for engagement rings, and it’s easy to see why. These durable stones give diamonds a run for their money when it comes to beauty and longevity, and we can’t decide which color out of the myriad of options we adore most. Ok, some of us can decide, and they strongly insist that we mention their love for teal sapphires. And... they're not wrong. Fortunately, they're not in charge of choosing your center stone, so you can safely pick a different favorite color with no judgment. 😅

We love helping couples craft their ideal ring, and we understand that choosing a center stone can be daunting. Whether you’re dead set on a sapphire or just exploring your options, you might want to ask one of our gem experts to show you a few sapphire options to see if they're the right choice for your perfect ring.

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