Who knew the September birthstone would become such a popular staple in engagement rings? Princess Diana had a hunch. Ever since Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with his mother’s 18-carat blue sapphire engagement ring in 2010, the trend for those magical blue gems has thrived.
But many don’t know that Princess Diana was actually criticized for choosing what they called the “commoner’s sapphire” ring, which cost only £28,000 when it was purchased in 1981. Now, the ring is possibly the most famous engagement ring in the world, worth around £300,000, and it is the reason sapphire rings have catapulted in popularity.
If you want to buy something a little bit more bold and different than a diamond, the sapphire is a great direction to go. But before you buy, there’s a thing or two below that you might want to know.
When you hear the word “sapphire” what color comes to mind? For most people, it’s blue. Of the Four C’s of diamonds and gems , the color category is extremely important when referring to sapphires.
Though blue is typically the most popular color for a sapphire, they come in other colors as well, many of which are growing in popularity. Pink sapphire engagement rings, like the inverted cushion cut gem on Nicole Richie’s ring, have caught the eye of many aspiring brides. You can also find valuable sapphires in yellow, green, purple, and red; but without a doubt, blue remains the most common and popular sapphire color.
A truly valuable blue sapphire is not too dark or too light, but a vibrant, velvety blue hue. Here are some terms to know when analyzing a blue sapphire’s color:
- Hue – The sapphire’s basic description of color. (Blue, Slight green, Strong green, Slight purple, Strong purple). A sapphire with a blue hue is most valuable.
- Saturation – (Aka. Color Purity or Intensity) The extent to which the hue is masked by brown or gray ranging from weak to vivid. (Weak, Medium, Fair, Strong, Vivid). A sapphire with excellent saturation is vivid.
- Tone – The amount of color in the sapphire ranging from very light to very dark. (Very Light, Light, Medium, Dark, Very Dark). Sapphires with a medium tone are the best.
You might be wondering why round cut sapphire engagement rings are so expensive. Well, the answer lies in nature. Because sapphires are so rare to find, cutters try to save as much as the original rough of the gem as possible.
Larger cuts like ovals and cushions don’t require as much removal of the original rock as circle cuts, making circle cut sapphires more expensive. You might find it strange that a smaller circle cut sapphire may cost more than a larger oval or cushion cut, this is something to keep in mind when buying this gem.
There are no “ideal” cuts for sapphires like there are for diamonds. The reason for this is because each sapphire is so different that the cutters must consider which cut shape will best display a sapphire’s color and brilliance. Sometimes it’s best for a rock to be shaped into a princess cut, other times it’s best to be an emerald cut.
If the sapphire is a dark blue, they will cut it into a shallower gem to allow more light to accentuate its color. But if the sapphire is a light blue, they will cut the gem with more depth to deepen the color, so the cut really does depend on the original stone.
The uniqueness of the sapphire will also determine how it’s set. Princess Diana’s famous ring was set surrounded by diamonds. When selecting between sapphire engagement rings, you may prefer to let it shine alone in it’s setting. You could pair a traditional blue sapphire with diamonds for a more classic look, or go for a more unique color combination.
Whatever design you choose, know that sapphires are definitely in, and your ring will be sure to stand out in a crowd! Now that you know the ins and outs of sapphires, you should be able to find a brilliant and eye-catching sapphire engagement ring. There are so many options out there, just remember these tips and you won’t go wrong. Kate Middleton may have resurrected the sapphire engagement rings trend, but it is a style that has and will last throughout time.