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If you’re the type of bride looking to break tradition with your engagement ring, a sapphire engagement ring is a stunning way to do so. Popularized by Princess Diana in 1981, and now Kate Middleton (who wears the late princess's engagement ring), sapphires are a regal choice for jewelry.
What Is Sapphire?
Sapphire is a versatile gemstone belonging to the corundum family of minerals. Sapphire is also the September birthstone and was once believed to have spiritual qualities.
"Unlike diamonds, which are known for their fire and brilliance, sapphires are known for their variety of colors," explains Kate Earlam-Charnley, design director at Taylor & Hart. "Sapphires are often bought not because they are more affordable than diamonds, but because of their outstanding colors...from rich indigo blue to ocean spray blue, from white (colorless) to orange, champagne, and even green."
Meet the Expert
Kate Earlam-Charnley is the design director at Taylor & Hart, a custom engagement ring and wedding band jeweler.
Ahead, learn about the pros and cons of sapphire engagement rings, how to care for a sapphire, and more.
Pros and Cons of Sapphire Engagement Rings
"A sapphire is the perfect balance of classical beauty and contemporary expression, allowing you to choose one that reflects you or your partner’s personality," says Earlam-Charnley of choosing this gemstone for an engagement ring. Another plus? Sapphires come in a variety of colors (not just blue!) such as purple, pink, yellow, green, orange, brown, black, and even white— although Kashmir and Ceylon blue are the most sought after.
However, some of the lesser-known sapphire colors are incredibly rare. Earlam-Charnley says, "The rarest type of fancy sapphire is the Padparadscha, a delicate balance of orange and pink. The variety and range of color ensure that each gemstone has subtle differences."
The cost of a sapphire engagement ring can vary greatly as well as it is dependent on carat weight and quality. Typically, sapphires cost slightly less than diamonds and can range from about $500 to $2,000 per carat, but Earlam-Charnley admits "the sky’s the limit."
What to Look for in a Sapphire Engagement Ring
Considering a sapphire for your engagement ring? Here are a few questions and answers you should know before you look for the perfect stone.
- What is the most important factor of sapphires? Earlam-Charnley explains, "While all sapphire engagement rings are graded by foundational factors such as cut, clarity, color, and carat, a sapphire’s quality is primarily determined through its color and shape."
- What stone cut works best with sapphires? Although sapphires can look beautiful cut in any way, the oval cut shows off a sapphire's vibrant color best. She explains, "Oval cuts allow the most light to travel through the gemstone, enhancing its color and making sure the sapphire does not appear flat."
- What settings and metals work best with sapphires? "Sapphires look stunning in both contemporary and traditional ring settings," says Earlam-Charnely. "Given their diversity of colors, sapphires look wonderful against white metals like platinum and white gold, and depending on the shade of stone you select they can look lovely against the warm hues of yellow and rose gold."
- How durable are sapphires? Sapphires are actually quite hard and score 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. "Second only to diamonds," Earlam-Charnley points out. This means that sapphires are suitable for everyday wear. "A sapphire should last a lifetime and can be passed down for generations."
- Where should I source my sapphire from? Per Earlam-Charnley, some of the best sapphire stones are from Thailand, Sri Lanka, and East Africa, adding, "source of origin is usually a factor in price."
How to Care for a Sapphire Engagement Ring
"While diamonds and precious metals are not easily damaged, they do need frequent care," cautions Earlam-Charnley. "Pick up your ring from the band, not the center stone. This keeps your setting from becoming loose. And avoid touching the stone, you’ll protect it from the build-up that comes from our skin’s natural oils."
Wearers should store their sapphire jewelry separate from other pieces and always remove their ring when participating in physical activity or coming in contact with household cleaners.
As for cleaning a sapphire engagement ring, Earlam-Charnley also recommends doing so at-home monthly and professionally annually. She says, " With a small drop of washing up liquid, gently scrub your ring with a soft clean toothbrush. Rinse your ring under warm water and gently scrub again to remove any soap residue. Dry with a microfibre cloth."
If you think a sapphire engagement ring is right for you, scroll through 24 extraordinary styles ahead.
Trumpet & Horn Braswell Sapphire Ring
This Victorian-inspired sapphire and diamond engagement ring is guaranteed to make any bride gasp. The midnight blue sapphire is surrounded by round brilliant-cut diamonds that dazzle upon inspection. As part of Trumpet & Horn's vintage-inspired line, each ring is one-of-a-kind and made to order.
Brilliant Earth Sapphire Valencia Diamond Ring in 18K White Gold
This customizable sapphire diamond ring can be admired from every angle. Choose from a round, cushion, oval, or emerald-cut shape and then specify the dimensions of your center stone. A gallery of micro-pavé diamonds will have you feeling like a million bucks.
Anna Sheffield Bea Three Stone Ring Rose Gold & Blue Sapphire
Emerald-cut classics like this won't fall in and out of style. Equal parts timeless and sophisticated, a blue sapphire center is surrounded by trillion white diamonds on both sides. You can choose between 14K recycled rose, yellow, or white gold.
Selin Kent Defne Sapphire Ring
Calling all non-traditional brides! Behold, an offset marquise sapphire sparkler to dictate your entire bridal look. Whether you wear it alone or stacked with other rings, the ocean blue sapphire is striking at all angles. You can choose from a 14K yellow gold, rose gold, or white gold band.
Diamondère Henrietta Sapphire and Diamond Sidestone Ring
Less can definitely be more sometimes. In a sea of glitzy sparklers, there's something to be said about a minimal design that emphasizes a center stone. Here, a round sapphire serves as the focal point while a single diamond accent stone strikes an interesting juxtaposition.
Helzberg Diamonds Shades of Love Sapphire and Diamond Ring in 14K White Gold
Take after Princess Diana with this oval sapphire engagement ring that's simply elegant. If you want to feel like royalty, then the 28 round brilliant-cut diamonds (not to mention the two baguette-cut diamonds flanking the sides) will surely win you over.
Kwiat Vintage Collection Pink Sapphire and Diamond Argyle Ring
Go big or go home with a girly pink sapphire that speaks to your inner femininity. As part of the Kwiat Vintage collection, this ring is meant to evoke the heirloom designs of a bygone era. Bound by diamonds and set in 18K white gold, this extravagant statement piece will give you something to remember.
DY Capri Engagement Ring in Platinum with Blue Sapphire
It's David Yurman signature classics like this one (backed by quality craftsmanship and impeccable design) that require no introduction. A mesmerizing blue sapphire stone is surrounded by hand-set pavé diamonds that sparkle like the deep blue sea.
Kian Design 18K Three Stones Certified Oval Pink Sapphire and Diamond Ring
Don't let anyone ever dull your sparkle. We've fallen head over heels for this gorgeous 18K gold ring featuring an oval pink sapphire and white diamonds. Designed in an Art Deco style, this heirloom-inspired piece is a perennial classic.
Jennie Kwon Green Sapphire Arch Ring
This muted green sapphire is a refreshing departure from the classic blue gemstone we all know and love. The stone itself is crowned by an arch of diamonds that glistens in all the right ways. You can snag this exceptional ring in 14K yellow, rose, or white gold.