Sapphire Engagement Rings

- The Complete Guide

1. Introduction

 

Since ancient times, sapphire has been associated with royalty, tradition, wisdom, and romance. The name Sapphire is known to be derived from the Greek word “sappheiros” and the Latin word “saphirus” both denoting the color blue. The Sapphire is the September Birthstone.

 

A birthstone for the month of September, Sapphire is the variety of same species as ruby – a mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide. In simple terms, if a ruby is not red in color then it is called a Sapphire. Popularly known to be available in blue color, Sapphires occur in a palette of spectacular colors from violets to cosmopolitan pinks.

2. Meaning

 

Gathering information from writings, books and folklore, Blue Sapphire engagement rings have traditionally been associated with faithfulness, sincerity and nobility. When it comes to fancy colors in sapphires, they are known to add their own supplementary characteristics and meaning to an engagement ring.

 

 

Teal Sapphire

The green and blue color in teal sapphire is known to be associated with clarity, rewarding life, fidelity and integrity to one’s life.

 

 

Peach, Pink and Padparadscha Sapphire

The color of these sapphires is known to be associated with creativity, emotions of love, forgiveness, acceptance, and letting go.

 

 

White Sapphire

Being a colorless sapphire, White Sapphire is known to be associated with wisdom and strength of spirit. Anciently it was believed that white sapphire carries an extremely pure energy for clarity of thought and for opening the powers of mind.

 

 

Yellow Sapphire

A yellow sapphire is believed to be associated with prosperity, wealth and financial freedom into one’s life. Yellow sapphire is also known for stimulating the intellect and bringing excitement and joyful expectation about the possibilities in life.

 

 

Purple Sapphire

Also known as plum or violet sapphire, a purple sapphire is known to brings the wisdom of spiritual awakening. It was also believed that their noble energy helps diminish the unnecessary worries of the world.

3. History

 

Anciently, sapphires were known to represent divine favor, they were the gemstone of choice for kings and high priests since 800BC. The ancient Persians believed that the earth rested on a giant sapphire and its reflection colored the sky. The tradition also holds that Moses was given the ten commandments on tablets of sapphire, making it the most sacred gemstone.

 

A sapphire engagement ring given by French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte to his Josephine in 1796, was sold for $US949,000 in 2013 at an auction in France

 

Sapphire became a symbol of love & royalty when Prince Charles gave Lady Diana a 12ct blue sapphire engagement ring in 1981.

4. Origin

 

Mined in select areas across the world, the sapphires from areas like Myanmar, Kashmir and Sri Lanka are quite popular for their remarkable quality.

 

Popular sources of Sapphire

 

Sri Lanka

Australia

Madagascar

Malawi

Myanmar (Burma)

Nigeria

USA – Montana

5. Physical Properties

 

Mineral Family Corundum
Refractive Index 1.757 – 1.779
Colors All colors except Red
Luster Vitreous
Hardness 9 on the Mohs Scale (Second hardest mineral known to mankind)
Toughness Good
Heat Sensitivity No
Special Care Instructions None
Transparency Transparent to opaque
Birthstone September
Popular Mining Locations Sri Lanka, Madagascar, USA and Australia
Popular Shapes Oval, Round, Cushion & Emerald

6. Noteworthy Sapphires

Stuart Sapphire

Size: 104 Carats

Type: Oval Cabochon

 

Designed for King George IV in 1937, Stuart sapphire rests on the back of the Imperial State Crown and is used for coronation ceremonies.

 

 

Star of Adam

Size: 1,404 Carats

Type: Star Sapphire

 

Star sapphires are created by the presence of rutile in the gemstone, a mineral responsible for creating star shaped lines. Known to be the largest star sapphire in the world, this magnificent beauty was mined in Sri Lanka and is valued at US$100 million.

 

 

Blue Giant of Orient

Size: 486 Carats

Type: Faceted Blue Sapphire

 

Known to be discovered in 1907 in Sri Lanka, the Blue Giant of Orient is known to be the largest faceted sapphire in the world. The sapphire is set in a platinum brooch, surrounded by pavé-set diamonds.

 

 

Logan Sapphire

Size: 423 Carats

Type: Faceted Blue Sapphire

 

Known to be the second largest faceted sapphire in the world, this stunning beauty was donated to the Smithsonian Institute by Mrs. John A. Logan in 1960.

 

 

Bismarck Sapphire

Size: 98.60 Carats

Type: Faceted Blue Sapphire

 

Set in a diamond and platinum necklace, this masterpiece is known to be mined in Sri Lanka and acquired by an American millionaire, Harrison Williams. The necklace is acknowledged to be one of the most significant examples of Art Deco styles in jewelry.

7.Famous Sapphire Engagement Rings

Although diamonds have been a popular choice among celebrity couples, checkout the list of A-list celebrities who do not shy away from flaunting their magnificent sapphire engagement rings

 

 

Kate Middleton

One of the most famous engagement ring in the world and originally the engagement ring of Princess Diana now rests upon the hand of the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton. The ring showcases an oval Ceylon blue sapphire surrounded by halo of 14 diamonds.

 

 

Elizabeth Hurley

A glamourous engagement ring with a large square-cut blue sapphire surrounded by two trillion-cut white diamonds was once given to breast cancer activist Elizabeth Hurley by famous Australian cricket player Shane Warne.

 

 

Penelope Cruz

Javier Bardem proposed to Spanish actress Penelope Cruz in 2010 with a magnificent vintage 3 carat sapphire engagement ring similar to one worn by Kate Middleton.

 

 

Victoria Beckham

Instead of 1 engagement ring, the fashion designer and former singer Victoria Beckham has been gifted 13 engagement rings by her soccer star husband David Beckham. Her 8th being a huge round-cut sapphire ring.

8. Identifying and Buying a Sapphire Engagement Ring

Proposing with a sapphire engagement ring can be a perfect choice for couples seeking an alternate engagement ring with various options of colors.

 

Choosing a royal blue or a fancy color sapphire wisely will complement the custom setting and make the ring stand out and shine in brilliance.

 

Color

Unlike diamonds, color is one of the most important factor among 4cs of Color, Cut, Clarity & Carat of any gemstone. Even the value of a gemstone is greatly determined by its color.

 

Color is judged based on the gemstone’s hue, tone and saturation that together give the stone its life.

 

Hue

With hue being the overall body color, it is the first impression of an object’s basic color.

For example, a blue sapphire would have a body color of blue whereas a teal blue sapphire would have a body color that includes both blue and green in different proportions.

 

 

Tone

Tone on the other hand expresses the extent of lightness or darkness seen within the gem.

Some sapphires that are deep in color are often cut with shallow portions to help light pass through thus improving its appearance and similarly sapphires with lighter tone are often cut deep in order to capture more light and make them look darker.

 

 

Saturation

Saturation translates to the strength or weakness of a color in a gemstone. Highly saturated colors look vivid and intense.

 

 

Popular Fancy Colored Sapphires

As discussed earlier, other than popular blue, sapphires come in a variety of gorgeous colors.

Teal Blue Sapphires

Combined with a beachy hue of green and blue, teal sapphire makes a perfect choice for someone after a unique colored engagement ring.

 

 

Padparadscha Sapphires

Padparadscha in Sinhalese means “lotus blossom” and represents the color that has a soft peach glow. Mined in Sri Lanka, Padparadscha sapphires are packed with color and character that vary from apricot orangish-pink colors to deep and vivid salmon hues.

 

 

Peach/ Pink Sapphires

Subtle yet vibrant, peach/ pink sapphires add a shade of baby pink and make the engagement ring look glamourous. A combination of rose gold metal, diamond side stones and a peach/ pink sapphire centre stone makes the ring look like heavenly beauty. These sapphires are a very popular alternative to Padparadscha Sapphires and Pink diamonds.

 

 

White Sapphires

Clear or colorless sapphires are known to be the purest form of sapphires and have deep visual resemblances with diamonds. The similarity between a white sapphire and a diamond makes these a perfect choice for couples who like diamonds, but prefer to avoid the expense of the usual.

 

 

Purple Sapphire

Reinforcing royal associations, purple sapphire is a rare variant of classical blue sapphire. Complemented when set in warmer toned metals, this timeless elegant color is the perfect choice for a unique engagement ring.

 

 

Yellow Sapphires

Yellow Sapphires are known to sparkle brightly because of their color and exceptional internal brilliance. Comparable to the likes of a yellow diamond, this beauty come in delicate lemons colors to deeper amber hues.

 

 

Orange Sapphires

Filled with color to the likes of a tangerine, these shimmering gems are growing in demand for their use in modern jewelry designs.

 

 

Color Change Sapphires

Chameleon corundum’s are another variety that will leave you speechless. Altering from bluish purple in white light to a more vivid pinkish purple in incandescent light these gems are colored by the trace element vanadium.

 

 

Cut

Found naturally in a trigonal crystal structure, the cut of a sapphire is well thought of before the gemstone is cut. Oval, round, cushion & emerald are some of the popular shapes that a sapphire is often cut in.

 

With each grading factor interdependent on the other, cut and color go hand in hand. When a gemstone displays a deeper, darker color like in a dark blue sapphire it can be cut with shallow proportions to allow light into the gem called windowing. However, when there is less intensity of color in a pink sapphire the stone could be cut with deeper proportions, giving it a more intense color.

 

 

Clarity

Only a small percentage of natural sapphires are mined free from internal characteristics. Presence of natural inclusions is considered as a key aspect in identifying the originality of a natural gemstone. Most inclusions give a clear insight into the natural formation of a gemstone, factors that might have affected growth and even the area in which it was mined.

 

Inclusions like rutile silk are known to increase the value of a Kashmir sapphire whereas too many crystal inclusions in a yellow sapphire could result in drop of its value.

 

Usually visible under 10x magnification, like other gemstones, sapphires are judged on the basis of their inclusions.

 

Carat

 

Larger gemstones filled with unique colors are a rare find. Keeping this in mind sapphires being a denser variety weighs more that diamonds. For example, an approximate 1.30 carat sapphire will visually look similar in size to a 1.00 carat diamond. Popular sizes for the entire spectrum of sapphires fall under 1.5 to 3.50 carats.

9. Enhancements

Heating

An acceptable and oldest trade practice, heating is the most common treatment that can be done to improve the color of sapphires. Approximately 98.50% of sapphires available today are heated to some degree.

 

At Nolan and Vada, every sapphire is hand-picked for its brilliance, treatments are disclosed and images/ videos are shared for your approval before setting in an engagement ring.

 

With untreated colored sapphires commanding a premium, we have a variety of options for you to select from.

 

 

 

Fracture Filling

To improve the appearance, sapphires are often filled with a glass to help camouflage the breaks. With the correct disclosure, these natural yet enhanced gems are not valued at the same price as the ones which are heated.

 

A treatment to avoid, at Nolan and Vada, we do not recommend or sell sapphires which are fracture filled.

 

 

Lattice Diffusion

A process in which the gemstone is heated to extreme temperatures almost to its melting point, the gem then gets infused with elements (like beryllium and titanium) that alter its color. Lattice diffused gemstones must be accompanied with correct disclosure when sold.

 

These sapphires being altered to a great extent should be avoided. We do not recommend or sell these sapphires.

10. Certification

With the widespread influx of synthetics and non-standard treatments, it becomes tricky to place trust while purchasing a valuable piece of jewelry.

 

For your peace of mind, every Nolan and Vada order comes with a complementary lab report and an insurance appraisal from a well-qualified & independent jewellery valuer accredited by Jewellery Valuers Society Inc. (JVS)

11. Care

Sapphires rate 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness and are known to be the second hardest mineral in the world. However, like any other diamond or gemstone ring, it must be loved and cared in order to last for generations.

 

 

One of the most efficient, safe and effective method to clean your sapphire engagement rings is in warm soapy water

 

  • Take a bowl of warm water with a dash of mild soap and a soft bristled toothbrush.

 

  • Gently scrub away the dirt and grime from the hard to reach spots.

 

  • Rinse and pat your ring dry with a soft lint free cloth.