Occasionally people ask me to tell them whether or not I think a white sapphire ring is a suitable replacement for a diamond ring. Because let’s face it… White sapphires are a much less expensive option when compared to diamonds. So, many people are hoping that swapping a white sapphire for a diamond is an excellent idea.
Throughout the entirety of this post, we’ll boil this down to a conclusion by deciding if a white sapphire is a suitable replacement for a diamond by discussing the pros and cons of this gemstone.
Diamonds vs White Sapphires Cut Grading Differences
Most people are under the impression that white sapphires have a similar or the same grading as the system that is in existence for diamonds.
So, they believe that they’ll need to study sapphire proportions and cut grades like diamonds. They believe that pavilion angles and crown angles are things that they’ll have to contend with.
Nevertheless, sapphires do not have an existing cut grading system in place. As an example, GIA, the most prominent diamond grading organization, doesn’t actually grade sapphires at all. They produce sapphire reports that describe the basics including shape, body color, and carat weight. This report also states whether a sapphire is heat-treated or not.
This type of report makes a great deal of sense. Sapphires with color have a particular body color that contributes to the value and beauty of the gemstone. But the cut of the sapphire isn’t going to have a major influence on whether or not the stone is beautiful or unattractive.
Scintillation, fire, and brilliance is reduced with colored gemstones. Colored sapphires possess many similarities to fancy colored diamonds. These diamonds also possess their value based on the body color of the stone.
Although, you may believe that this is different for white sapphires. And you might think that you’re correct. But this really isn’t the case. The only reliable way to tell if a white sapphire possesses beauty or not is by looking at it with your own two eyes.
Determining the Differences between Diamonds vs White Sapphires regarding Appearance
How does a white sapphire actually appear when you compare it to a legitimate diamond? There are videos that you can view online that provide a comparison of the two. Use this information to form an opinion that you can use to make a final judgment.
I truly believe that when you look at a comparison video like the one mentioned above, you’ll notice that diamonds have a great deal more scintillation and a plethora of extra sparkle. When I say scintillation, I mean the rainbow colors that spring forth from a diamond when you view it under various types of light.
The white sapphire, on the other hand, doesn’t have scintillation whatsoever. When you compare it with a real diamond, you’ll notice that the white sapphire looks dull in comparison.
The beauty of the diamond is that its greatest features aren’t scintillation, fire, and brilliance. A diamond is going to sparkle and the reflected light brings a shine into your point of view. Sapphires derive their beauty from body color. If you like sapphires, you’ll particularly enjoy the beautiful color that makes it such a special gemstone.
If you really like the way a white sapphire looks, then it’s your choice to determine whether or not it’s the right option. But don’t expect to have the same level of scintillation, brilliance, or fire that you’d get with a diamond because it doesn’t exist with a white sapphire.
A white sapphire tends to have a milky or cloudy appearance inside the gemstone. Although cloudy diamonds certainly exist, you’d likely avoid a cloudy diamond if you were going to purchase one in the future.
Overall, I’m a fan of colored sapphires because I think they look unique and amazing when they’re made into a ring. White sapphires are a different story altogether because they aren’t an excellent replacement for a diamond because of their lack of fire, brilliance, and scintillation.
Determining the Differences between Diamonds vs White Sapphires regarding Durability
One of the big advantages diamonds have over white sapphires is they do not get scratched on the surface as much. The sapphire, on the other hand, is made up of the planet’s second hardest substance called corundum. It’s the hard surface itself that makes the sapphire more prone to gaining the appearance of abrasions and scratches on the surface. When compared to a diamond, a sapphire is around four times as likely to get a scratch on its surface than its counterpart.
What does this mean for sapphire owners? It means you must take much greater care of your gemstone than diamond owners. In all honesty, you’ll likely need to continuously polish your white sapphire to keep it in tip top condition.
On the flipside, a sapphire is less likely to chip when compared to a diamond. But to be brutally honest, diamonds do not chip all that often even though sapphires are better in this regard. Diamond chipping happens the most when the outer surface of the diamond has a larger inclusion touching it and the diamond experiences a perfectly placed blow. The only time I ever noticed this happening was to a princess cut diamond near the pointed edge of the stone.
Determining the Differences between Diamonds vs White Sapphires regarding Price
As you can imagine, the white sapphire definitely has the bigger advantage over a diamond when it comes to price comparisons.
As an example, a 1.5 carat white sapphire is only going to cost around $1100. A diamond made up of 1.5 carats would cost you around $15,000 to purchase. This is such a huge difference!
Even though the example mentioned above is a wide price range difference, not every diamond is going to cost that much. The example diamond mentioned above is graded as a VS1 clarity with anF color grade. This is a very rare and special and expensive diamond that the average person might not be able to afford. You could easily switch to a VS2 clarity grade and an H color grade and the diamond will still look relatively similar without many differences. This is especially true if you’re planning to mount the diamond on a ring.
Another thing to understand is that the price of diamonds rises higher at 1.5 carats. Oddly enough, a 1.5 carat diamond costs much more than you’d pay for a 1.49 carat diamond, so this is also important to note.
But the premise holds true no matter what way you look at it. A white sapphire is going to be much cheaper than a diamond in every stretch of the imagination. So, if you’re looking for the inexpensive option, and you like the way the white sapphire looks, you should seriously give this choice your consideration.
Where Can I Purchase a Diamond or White Sapphire?
When it comes to the buying stage, the most important thing to know when purchasing a ring is that you should definitely get a great look at the gemstone before making your purchase. This holds true whether you’re buying a diamond, white sapphire, or any other gemstone for that matter.
So, it wouldn’t be the worst choice in the world to buy a gemstone of this nature from a traditional retail outlet or brick-and-mortar store.
But there’s definitely a catch…
Brick-and-mortar stores charge a lot because their operating expenses are much higher than an online retailer. They have other costs like rent, paying their employees, workers compensation, electricity bills, and much more. The customer is passed these costs because otherwise the retailer wouldn’t be able to stay in business.
So, if you’re looking to keep your expenses low it’s certainly best to shop at an online retailer. But you should only do so if it’s possible to take an extremely close look at the diamond or white sapphire before purchasing it.
The online retailer James Allen is the ideal option when buying diamonds on the Internet. You can look at a 360° video in high definition and get a complete view of the diamond before making a purchase. These videos provide up to 40x magnification, so you’ll see everything perfectly when buying a diamond this way.
You can also purchase colored sapphires through James Allen if that’s something you’re interested in, but alas they do not sell white sapphires. Their return policy provides a 30-day window and they do not charge for return shipping, so if you aren’t happy with your sapphire or diamond for any reason you can return it within this window and get all of your money back.
White sapphire enthusiasts should buy their sapphires from Natural Sapphire Company. It’s an excellent option because they have videos of the wide majority of their sapphires.
Diamonds vs White Sapphires Conclusion
All in all, a white sapphire really doesn’t compare to a diamond so it isn’t an excellent alternative. It certainly possesses its own beauty if that’s what you’re looking for, but when compared to a diamond it doesn’t really stack up.
The truth is, you’d be better off buying a cubic zirconia if you’re looking for a much cheaper diamond replacement. They have similar light performance which makes the cubic zirconia a better diamond replacement.