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A blue sapphire can look elegant and stunning as an engagement ring center stone, with a rich color that sets it apart from other gemstones.
In general, buying a blue sapphire engagement ring is less technical than buying a ring with a diamond center stone. Because clarity and cut aren’t as important as they are with a diamond, it’s best to focus on finding a blue sapphire with the most impressive, captivating color.
Because of this, we recommend shopping for a blue sapphire engagement ring from a trusted vendor that provides high-resolution photos with accurate color representation, such as James Allen or Leibish & Co.
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Blue sapphires are the most popular and valuable blue colored gemstone of the Corundum mineral family. Corundum is the second hardest natural mineral used for jewelry after diamonds, scoring a 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, and is also the mineral that produces ruby gemstones.
While sapphires can come in a variety of colors, blue is the most common and most sought-after. Blue sapphires can have a range of hues, from a light, pale blue, to a deep and vivid color.
Blue sapphires can also have a hint of green or purple mixed in. As long as the secondary color does not make up more than 15% of the gem’s color, these are still referred to as blue sapphires. However, a sapphire with a secondary color is not as valuable and desirable as one with a pure blue shade.
As the most well known of the sapphire colors (pink, yellow, white, green …), blue sapphires offer a unique beauty that’s made them a favorite of royalty for centuries. Recently, this popularity has spread to the world of bridal jewelry.
Blue sapphires have been a popular engagement ring center stone for decades, with an elegant appearance that’s made them a popular alternative to diamonds. However, they’re really shot up in popularity since 2010, when Kate Middleton’s stunning blue sapphire engagement ring made headlines.
While buying an engagement ring featuring a diamond is all about maximizing the four Cs (cut, color, clarity and carat), shopping for a blue sapphire engagement ring is quite a different process. Generally, cut and clarity aren’t quite so important, while color is essential.
For more examples of what blue sapphire engagement rings can look like, feel free to browse through recently purchased rings from our highest-rated retailers.
We’ve covered this in more detail below, along with actionable tips to help you buy the highest quality blue sapphire engagement ring for your budget.
A blue sapphire engagement ring represents a unique personal style, with a vivid colored gemstone instead of a white diamond. Blue sapphire engagement rings appeal to brides who desire color in their ring or want an engagement ring that stands out from the crowd.
Kings and other royalty, as well as historical figures, have worn blue sapphire jewelry due to its association with good fortune. In fact, blue sapphires have been precious gemstones for thousands of years. For several religions, the deep blue hue of sapphire is viewed as a representation of heaven.
As September’s birthstone, giving a blue sapphire engagement ring can be a special, meaningful way to propose if your fiancé-to-be has a birthday in this month.
Our guide to sapphires goes into greater detail about the historical significance of sapphires, as well as the origins of “sapphire” as a name.
Beyond their historical significance, blue sapphires are versatile, durable center stones that are ideal for engagement rings. Sapphires score 9/10 on the Mohs’ scale of hardness, making them second only to diamonds in terms of scratch resistance and overall durability.
Although blue sapphire engagement rings have grown hugely in popularity over the last decade, this richly-colored gemstone has been one of the favorite center stones of royalty and important figures for centuries.
Right now, the most famous blue sapphire engagement ring is undoubtedly Kate Middleston’s stunning 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire ring. First purchased by Prince Charles in 1981, it was famously worn by Princess Diana throughout their marriage. The iconic ring was reportedly inspired by a piece of jewelry commissioned for Queen Victoria in 1840.
While Kate Middleton’s is undoubtedly the most well-known royal sapphire engagement ring at the moment, it’s far from the only historical example. In 1795, when Napoleon proposed to his future bride Josephine, he did so with a unique “You and Me” blue sapphire and diamond ring.
As we’ve covered in our guide to the four Cs, buying a diamond is all about understanding how factors such as cut, color, clarity and carat weight affect a diamond’s value, then maximizing the visible factors that contribute to the beauty of the diamond you choose.
Buying a blue sapphire is a little different. While a diamond is treasured for its brilliance, a blue sapphire is primarily treasured for its color.
This means that while factors like cut and clarity are crucial to a diamond’s appearance, they’re less important than factors like color for a blue sapphire.
A natural, “true” blue color is the biggest visual factor that affects a blue sapphire’s value. For the most part, the closer you get to a “true” blue, the higher the quality of the sapphire and the more it will cost to purchase. The color of blue sapphire can be powerful and extremely attractive — as the GIA explains, a gorgeous can look “like it’s lit from within.”
Blue sapphires can range in color from a pure, “cornflower” blue to blue with slight hints of green or purple. Generally, the more visually obvious the hints of green or purple are, the less valuable the sapphire becomes.
Two factors that can affect a sapphire’s color are its tone and saturation. Tone refers to how light or dark the blue color of the sapphire is. A lighter tone can make a sapphire appear washed out and less impressive, while an overly dark tone can make the blue color harder to see.
When it comes to tone, it’s best to stick with a sapphire that sits in the middle of the range, with a blue that’s strong enough to see clearly but not so dark that the details of the gemstone can’t easily be seen.
As for saturation, the highest quality sapphires tend to have rich, consistent and vivid color that’s free of brown or gray areas.
The best color for a blue sapphire is royal blue, also known as cornflower blue. You can recognize these stones because of their medium to dark blue hue with high saturation. Sapphires of this color are vivid and devoid of brown and gray hints. Some people prefer a violet-blue tone in the same color range with high saturation.
Unlike diamonds, which are graded for color using an objective, standardized system, sapphires aren’t graded for color using any kind of standardized scale. This makes it important to shop for blue sapphire engagement rings from a vendor that provides accurate, high-quality photos.
All sapphires will contain inclusions called rutile needles, making it extremely uncommon to find a flawless, inclusion-free blue sapphire. The vast majority of sapphires are also heat treated for improved clarity and color.
In general, inclusions are less of an issue with blue sapphires than they are with diamonds. To inspect a diamond for inclusions, a gemologist will typically use a 10x magnification loupe. With a sapphire, a gemologist usually won’t use any magnification at all during their inspection.
Most of the time, if a blue sapphire is “eye-clean,” meaning it has no obvious inclusions that are visible to the naked eye, its clarity is acceptable for an engagement ring or other jewelry.
“Inclusions generally make gemstones less valuable, but they can increase the value of sapphires that exhibit asterism—or stars—the four- or six-rayed star pattern of light produced by the fibrous inclusions, elongated needles, or growth tubes in a gemstone. This singular, celestial-like phenomenon is best seen in a gemstone cut en cabochon.” American Gem Society (AGS)
Unlike with a diamond, there are no standardized cuts for blue sapphires. To look its best, a blue sapphire should be cut symmetrically and reflect light at the correct angles to display the stone’s beauty and luster.
The most popular cuts for a blue sapphire tend to be oval, round cushion and emerald. There’s no “best” cut for a blue sapphire, allowing you to choose something that matches your fiancé-to-be’s tastes and personality.
Like diamonds, blue sapphires come in an incredible range of carat weights. Because sapphires tend to be heavier than diamonds, a one carat blue sapphire will often look slightly smaller than a diamond of equivalent carat weight.
Because of this, it’s important to look at carat weight and measurements when you’re comparing blue sapphires. To make this easier, vendors like James Allen list measurements for each loose sapphire in their inventory.
Both of these vendors are trusted, offer the best pricing in the industry and provide high-quality photos of their inventory (this is essential for checking a sapphire’s color). They both also offer numerous high-quality engagement ring settings — something we’ll cover in more detail later.
There are a few key differences between James Allen and Leibish & Co. that you’ll want to be aware of before shopping. We’ve listed these below, as well as more information on the main advantages of each vendor.
James Allen is one of the largest online retailers of diamonds, gemstones, engagement rings and other high-quality jewelry. Although they’re best known for their diamonds, they also stock one of the largest selections of blue sapphires of any online vendor.
Currently, James Allen’s loose blue sapphire selection features almost 5,000 different stones in varying sizes and cuts.
One advantage of shopping at James Allen is that they have a great selection of blue sapphires in the one to two carat range. These sapphires are typically less expensive than diamonds of an equivalent carat weight, allowing you to affordably maximize the size of your center stone.
For example, this stunning 1.78 carat round natural blue sapphire is priced at $2,230. Set in this beautiful 14k white gold pave engagement ring, you have an elegant, gorgeous ring that’s priced at just over $3,000.
This 2.93 carat oval natural blue sapphire is also a great choice. Available for $5,360, it can look fantastic in a range of settings, including this beautiful 14k white gold knife edge solitaire setting, available for an additional $405.
As we’ve covered in our James Allen review, James Allen is a great place to shop for any type of engagement ring. Their customer service is top notch, their return policy is very generous to customers and their pricing is some of the best in the business.
Leibish & Co. is another great place to buy a blue sapphire engagement ring. While their range of blue sapphires isn’t as vast as James Allen’s, they stock a great selection of high-quality Sri Lankan and Burmese sapphires, many of which haven’t been heat treated.
As we mentioned in our guide to sapphires, sapphires that haven’t been heat treated are rare and exceptionally valuable.
This stunning 2.47 carat Burmese blue sapphire is available from Leibish & Co. for $16,600. It has a gorgeous deep blue hue and no signs of heat treatment. Set in this 18k white gold halo engagement ring setting, it costs a total of $21,190.
Although Leibish specializes in high-end sapphires, they also have a diverse selection of more affordable stones. This gorgeous 1.83 carat cornflower blue Sri Lankan sapphire is available at a price of $2,650. In this classic solitaire setting, it costs a total of $3,900.
Like James Allen, Leibish & Co. offer excellent customer service. All of their loose gemstones, rings and other jewelry come with free, fully insured shipping worldwide, certification and a 30-day money back guarantee. You can learn more about them in our Leibish & Co. review.
As we mentioned above, buying a blue sapphire engagement ring is less technical than buying a diamond. Despite this, there is a range of ways that you can maximize your value for money and get the highest quality center stone and ring for your budget:
If you need more help buying a blue sapphire engagement ring or any other jewelry, feel free to contact us. Our experts can help you find the highest quality sapphire engagement ring for your budget.
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