Diamonds have long been a popular choice when it comes to gemstones for engagement rings and other special occasions. However, in recent years, sapphires have been gaining popularity among consumers looking for a unique and timeless diamond alternative.
What are Sapphires?
Sapphires are a variety of the mineral corundum, which is an aluminum oxide. They are found in many parts of the world, including Australia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, and the United States. Sapphires are known for their hardness, with a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale, making them one of the hardest minerals after diamonds.
The most popular color of sapphires is blue, but they also come in a range of other colors, including pink, yellow, green, orange, and purple. Sapphires can also be colorless, which are often called white sapphires. The presence of different trace elements within the crystal, such as iron, titanium, and chromium, determines the color of a sapphire.
Types and Colors of Sapphires
Blue sapphires are the most well-known type of sapphire and are often associated with royalty and luxury. They can range in color from light blue to deep, rich blue. The most valuable blue sapphires are those with a vivid, medium to dark blue color, known as “cornflower blue.”
Pink sapphires have been increasing in popularity recently, particularly for engagement rings. They are prized for their delicate and feminine hues that range from pale pink to deep magenta. The most valuable pink sapphires are those with a vivid, intense pink color and are often called “hot pink” sapphires. These are highly sought after and command high prices in the gemstone market.
Yellow sapphires range from a pale yellow to a deep golden yellow. They are often used in alternative engagement rings, as they are a unique and budget-friendly option. The color of yellow sapphires is caused by the presence of iron in the crystal structure of the gemstone. In ancient times, yellow sapphires were believed to have healing powers and were thought to protect the wearer from harm.
Green sapphires are rare and unique engagement ring options. They range from light green to deep forest green, with shades of yellow and blue. The green color is caused by iron and titanium in the crystal structure of the gemstone. Green sapphires are often found in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and Tanzania.
Orange sapphires range from a pale orange to a deep, reddish-orange. Orange sapphires are a bold and striking option for those looking for something unusual. Their warm, fiery hues evoke feelings of passion and energy, making them a popular choice for engagement rings and statement jewelry pieces. The range of shades available, from soft peach to intense reddish-orange, ensures there is an orange sapphire to suit every taste and style.
Purple sapphires offer a regal and sophisticated option for those seeking a unique gemstone. Their rich, royal hues range from soft lavender to deep indigo, giving them a versatile range of shades to complement any outfit. As an engagement ring stone, purple sapphires represent loyalty, trust, and wisdom, making them a meaningful and elegant choice for couples seeking a non-traditional alternative to a diamond.
White sapphires are a popular choice for engagement rings and other jewelry because of their striking resemblance to diamonds. Unlike diamonds, however, white sapphires are entirely colorless, with a bright, clear sparkle that is sure to catch the eye. They are a popular alternative to diamonds for those who are looking for a more budget-friendly option. Despite their lower cost, white sapphires are durable and long-lasting gemstones, making them a practical choice for daily wear. Additionally, they are an excellent choice for those who prefer a more subtle, understated look, as their colorless nature allows them to blend seamlessly into any outfit or style.
How much do Sapphires cost?
Sapphire prices vary greatly depending on color, clarity, cut, and size. Blue sapphires are generally more expensive than other colors, with a high-quality one-carat blue sapphire costing anywhere from $1,000 to $5,000. However, a blue sapphire of around 1 carat can cost as little as $500 to $1,600, depending on quality.
The most valuable sapphires are those with a deep blue hue, similar to the highly-prized Kashmir sapphires, which can command prices of over $10,000 per carat. Their origin can also influence the cost of sapphires. Sapphires from Kashmir are considered particularly rare and valuable due to their unique blue color and difficulty accessing the mines where they are found. Sapphires from Ceylon and Burma are also highly valued.
Generally, a high-quality sapphire will cost around $800-1,200 per carat, while more common sapphires of decent quality can cost about $400-600 per carat. Lab-created sapphires are typically less expensive than natural sapphires, as naturally-formed stones are rarer and more sought-after.
Larger sapphires of 3 carats or more are rare and can command much higher prices.
How to clean and care for Sapphires
Sapphires are beautiful and durable gemstones that can last a lifetime with proper care. To keep your sapphires looking their best, here are some tips for cleaning and caring for them:
- Avoid exposure to harsh chemicals: Sapphires are a hard and durable gemstone, but they can still be damaged by exposure to harsh chemicals such as bleach, chlorine, and other household cleaners. Avoid wearing your sapphire jewelry when cleaning or swimming in a chlorinated pool.
- Clean with a soft brush and mild soap: Use a soft-bristled brush and mild soap, such as dishwashing liquid, to clean your sapphire jewelry. Gently scrub the jewelry and rinse with warm water. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or brushes, which can scratch the stone’s surface.
- Use a polishing cloth: To keep your sapphires looking shiny and new, gently buff the stone’s surface. This will remove dirt or grime accumulated on the surface and restore the stone’s natural shine.
- Store carefully: When not wearing your sapphire jewelry, store it in a soft pouch or jewelry box to protect it from scratches and other damage. Avoid storing sapphires with other jewelry pieces that may scratch the stone’s surface.
- Get regular check-ups: To ensure that your sapphire jewelry is in good condition, have it checked by a professional jeweler on a regular basis. They can inspect the setting and make any necessary repairs to keep your sapphires looking their best.
What does blue sapphire symbolize?
Blue sapphire has been revered throughout history as a symbol of wisdom, virtue, and nobility. It has long been associated with royalty and was worn by many kings and queens as a symbol of their power and status.
In ancient times, blue sapphire was believed to have healing properties and was used to treat various ailments. It was also believed to offer protection and bring good fortune to the wearer.
Today, blue sapphire is still highly regarded for its symbolism and is often given as a gift to commemorate important milestones such as engagements, weddings, and anniversaries. It is said to represent sincerity, faithfulness, and loyalty.