The Diamond Pro

A Complete Guide to Green Sapphire Engagement Rings

By Michael Fried

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Green sapphire engagement rings have grown in popularity over the last decade, making them a great option if you’re looking for an elegant, unique alternative to a diamond. 

In general, shopping a green sapphire is less complicated than shopping for a diamond. Instead of focusing on factors like cut and clarity, it’s best to look for a sapphire that has the color you’re looking for, as well as a carat weight that meets your needs and fits within your budget. 

If you’re looking for a green sapphire engagement ring, we recommend shopping with a reliable, trusted online vendor such as James Allen. They stock a large variety of loose green sapphires, all with a great range of engagement ring settings and a lifetime warranty. 


If you’re searching for an engagement ring center stone for your fiancé-to-be that’s unique and elegant, a green sapphire can be a fantastic choice.  

Although most people associate sapphire with the color blue, sapphires come in a wide range of different colors. Sapphires in colors other than blue are called “fancy sapphires,” with green one of several colors — others include pink, yellow and orange. 

1.34ct Oval Natural Green Sapphire

Over the last decade, green sapphires have become increasingly popular as a choice of center stone for engagement rings. If you’re looking for a non-traditional alternative to a diamond, or if green is your fiancé-to-be’s favorite color, a green sapphire can be a fantastic choice. 

Buying a green sapphire engagement ring tends to be simpler than buying a diamond. Instead of the four Cs (cut, color, clarity and carat weight), the most important factors to look for in any sapphire are its color (specifically, its hue, tone and saturation) and its carat weight, or size. 

We’ve covered this in more detail below, along with our tips and recommendations to help you get the highest quality green sapphire engagement ring for your budget. 

Green Sapphire Meaning

Like other types of sapphire, green sapphire belongs to the corundum family of gemstones. Like other gemstones in the corundum family, it’s extremely hard, scoring nine out of ten on the Mohs scale of hardness (a diamond, in comparison, is scored 10 out of 10). 

Like all sapphires, green sapphire is colorless when it’s pure. The green color forms as a result of the presence of iron in the stone. Over time, even a tiny amount of iron can cause the stone to take on a green color through a process called intervalence charge transfer. 

1.03ct Natural Green Sapphire

Green sapphires can vary dramatically in hue, tone and saturation, from a very light green to an extremely dark, rich color. We’ve covered this in more detail below, in our section on the color of a green sapphire. 

You can find green sapphires in a number of locations around the world. Today, green sapphires are mined in nations such as Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Cambodia, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Australia and Brazil. Green sapphires are also mined in Montana, usually near the Upper Missouri River. 

Like all gemstones, green sapphire has its own meaning and history. It’s known as the stone of tranquility and is associated with characteristics such as trust, loyalty and integrity. People often think of green sapphire jewelry as encouraging thoughtfulness, calmness, love and rest. 

What to Look For in a Green Sapphire Engagement Ring

Most of our engagement ring guides focus on the process of buying a diamond, with a focus on the four Cs. However, buying a green sapphire — or any type of sapphire, for that matter — is a different process that requires a different approach.

While a diamond is valued for its brilliance, the main factor that affects a sapphire’s beauty and value is its color. 

Although the clarity and cut of a sapphire are still important, they’re less important than they are for a diamond. Instead, it’s best to focus on choosing a green sapphire with the best color and a suitable carat weight, all while suiting your budget.

Color

Color is by far the most important factor in determining a green sapphire’s beauty and value. As we mentioned in our guide to sapphires, this is true for sapphires of any color, meaning the key factors that you’ll want to look for are the same whether you’re buying a green or blue stone.

Sapphires can vary dramatically in color, with some displaying a rich, deep green and others a less intense, almost dull green. For example, this 5.01 carat sapphire is a deep green with very powerful color, whereas this 4.33 carat oval sapphire only has mild color saturation. 

With most sapphires, the more consistent and intense the color of the stone, the more valuable it is. 

Below, we’ve covered the three most important factors to look for when you’re analyzing a green sapphire’s color — hue, tone and saturation.

Hue

Hue is a sapphire’s color as it compares to its neighbors on the color wheel. For example, with a green sapphire, there could be hints of blue and yellow that affect the overall appearance of the stone. 

Because of this, the color of a green sapphire is usually called either pure green, blue-green or yellow-green. 

Tone and Saturation

A sapphire’s tone is a description of the lightness or darkness of the stone’s overall color. Green sapphires can range from a very light green to a deep, dark green. 

5.01ct Natural Green Sapphire

For the most part, it’s best to choose a stone that’s somewhere in the medium range in terms of tone. Lighter stones can look washed out and less impressive, whereas with a darker stone it’s often difficult to accurately view and appreciate its color with the naked eye.  

A sapphire’s saturation refers to the vibrancy and vividness of its color. Green sapphires usually have fairly low saturation, which is why they’re often referred to as “olive” or “khaki” in color. It’s uncommon to find a green sapphire with vivid, highly saturated green coloration. 

As we’ve covered in our guide to diamond color, when you’re shopping for a diamond, you’ll be able to see the stone’s color on a standardized scale. 

With sapphires, there’s no standardized scale on which stones are graded. This means that you can’t simply compare one sapphire’s color to that of another by looking at their grade. 

Because of this, picking a green sapphire with the right color is much more about your personal preference. We recommend using James Allen, as their color accurate, high-quality photos give you an accurate idea of a sapphire’s color and make comparing stones much easier. 

Clarity

Like sapphires in other colors, green sapphires usually contain long, thin inclusions called rutile needles. These are referred to as “silk” and are a common type of inclusion in sapphires of any color. 

It’s extremely rare to find a sapphire without these inclusions. Today, the vast majority of green sapphires are heat treated for improved clarity, meaning these inclusions rarely have any large impact on the overall appearance of the stone.

With a diamond, a gemologist will use 10x magnification to carefully inspect the stone for any imperfections. With a sapphire, it’s more important for the stone to simply be “eye clean,” with no obvious inclusions that can be seen with the naked eye.

Cut

Unlike diamonds, which have standardized cuts designed to measure a stone’s level of color and fire, there’s no standardized system for assessing how well a sapphire is cut to showcase its beauty.

To look its best, a green sapphire should have a symmetrical cut that reflects light at the correct angles to display the gemstone’s beauty. Finished sapphires often have a much deeper cut than diamonds and other gemstones. 

When it comes to shape, there’s no “best” option for a green sapphire. Like other sapphires, the most popular shapes for green sapphires are oval, round and cushion. It’s also quite common to see green sapphires in the pear, emerald and princess cuts. 

Carat Weight

Green sapphires are available in a variety of carat weights, from small sapphires that weigh a fraction of a carat to large, extremely impressive stones. 

Just like with diamonds, the price of a green sapphire increases significantly as its carat weight increases. The larger the stone, the more you’ll pay per carat, meaning a sapphire that’s twice the carat weight of another will typically cost significantly more than twice the price. 

One thing to note is that sapphires are usually heavier than diamonds. This means that a one carat sapphire will look physically smaller than a diamond of equivalent carat weight, even if it weighs the same amount. 

When you’re comparing sapphires, it helps to look at their dimensions. James Allen list exact measurements for all of their sapphire inventory — this 1.96 carat natural green sapphire, for example, measures 8.10×6.30mm. 

Where to Buy a Green Sapphire Engagement Ring

Green sapphires are quite rare gemstones, meaning you won’t find them in many jewelry stores that specialize in engagement rings. 

We recommend buying a green sapphire engagement from James Allen. Currently, they stock the largest selection of loose green sapphires of any of our trusted online vendors, all of which have large, high resolution, color accurate photos.

As we mentioned above, being able to accurately see the color of a green sapphire is essential if you’re buying online. James Allen’s entire inventory is photographed in incredible detail when it’s listed for sale online, making it easy to spot any color issues or imperfections.

0.86ct Pear Natural Green Sapphire

After you’ve picked a green sapphire from James Allen’s inventory, you can choose to add it to an extensive range of engagement ring settings. 

Beyond high-quality photos, James Allen offer a lifetime warranty and good return policy, plus some of the lowest pricing in the industry. In general, they’re our pick for diamonds and other gemstones, as we’ve covered in more detail in our James Allen review

Tips for Choosing the Best Green Sapphire Ring

Although buying a green sapphire engagement ring is less complicated than buying a diamond ring, there are still a variety of tactics that you can use to get the best center stone and ring for your budget:

  • Choose a suitable metal. Green sapphires are very versatile and can look elegant and beautiful with both white and yellow metals. Common choices include 14 or 18k white or yellow gold, rose gold and platinum.

  • Consider halo or pavé settings. Green sapphire can look gorgeous alongside a halo of smaller diamonds. Not only do diamonds add to the ring’s beauty — they also emphasize the sapphire’s unique color and beauty.

    Good setting options include this petite pavé crown ring, which comes in a wide range of metals and features 46 diamonds with a total weight of .31 carats, or this gorgeous halo setting featuring 26 round diamonds.

  • Pay attention to color. As we mentioned above, green sapphires can vary a great deal in color tone, hue and saturation. Use the photos provided by vendors like James Allen to carefully assess a stone’s color before you make a final decision.

    If you’re browsing from your phone or tablet, make sure the screen is bright enough for you to get an accurate picture of each sapphire’s true color.

  • Don’t worry too much about heat treatment. Almost all sapphires are heat treated for color and clarity before they go on sale, meaning it’s normal to see “heated” noted on a sapphire’s identification certificate. This is normal and nothing to worry about.

  • Check measurements, not just carat weight. Finally, remember to check a sapphire’s measurements as well as its carat weight. This will give extra context about a sapphire’s size and help you get a better picture of how it will look on your fiancé-to-be’s finger. 

Need more help choosing a green sapphire engagement ring? Contact us and our experts will help you find the best engagement ring or other fine jewelry for your budget.

About the author
Mike learned the diamond business from the ground-up at Leo Schachter Diamonds - one of the world's top diamond manufacturers. He has been recognized as a diamond industry expert by Time, PeopleMoney, The Daily Mirror, NerdWallet, The Times Herald, Yahoo Finance Australia, The Art of Charm, The Washington Diplomat, The Next Web, and more. See more
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James Allen James Allen is the leader in online diamond sales. Their imaging technology is at the point where it's almost the same as inspecting a diamond with a jeweler's loupe. Their customer experience is best in class, and they have recently upgraded their non-engagement jewelry inventory as well.
What we love about them:
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Blue Nile Blue Nile is the largest and most well known internet jewelry seller. They have the industry-leading largest available exclusive online inventory. Their high quality images are catching up to James Allens' and their prices are amazing. 
What we love about them:
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  • Lifetime Warranty
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