We like to start with the visual look and feel of each gemstone. What makes it sparkle? How does light flow in and out of it? We look at every gemstone from a designer's perspective to help our customers make the right choice.
White sapphires are described as having a more subtle look than diamonds, with delicate hints of color that can vary from pale yellow to pink. They also tend to be less expensive than diamonds, but not in all cases.
So what is it that makes white sapphire have a more subtle look?
White sapphires are often referred to as being 'watery' and as a 'sleepier' stone because they are not very refractive. Which means, light goes into the stone, and pools beautifully within but does not reflect back out. So it has that 'watery' or 'sleepy' look and feel.
In contrast, diamonds are often compared to 'fire' and described as a 'lively' stone. They have a brilliant sparkle that catches the eye from any angle, making them an excellent choice if you’re looking for a showstopper to catch the eye, perhaps from a distance!
So what is it that makes diamonds appear more lively?
Diamonds are highly refractive, which means when light goes into the diamond it bounces out another angle. So people describe this as being 'lively', opposite of sleepy. Like fire!
Did you just have an 'aha' moment? We did!
Beautiful white sapphires are watery and sleepy vs beautiful clear diamonds that are fire(y) and lively. And, it's due to the refractive qualities of each stone to capture and reflect light.
The Importance of Cut
Given the natural refractive qualities of each stone, you can understand the importance of the cut.
A beautiful white sapphire stone cut to catch the light, will sparkle from reflection off its internal facets, like a sparkling body of water.
A beautiful clear diamond stone cut to capture and reflect light, will give off a prism of rainbow colors because of its highly refractive quality. With the right cut a spectrum of light bounces back out from the gemstone.
So you can understand how important cut and design is when choosing the right ring for you, or your loved one. Like everything else in life, it's the story about the gemstone that makes them so interesting.
Choosing the stone best for you, or your situation should be based on how it feels to you. Emily Gill takes the time to show you and describe these unique differences in each of her custom creations.
When it Comes to Color and Clarity
White sapphires are colorless gems that could but do not always have a slight tinge of color to them, depending on the conditions within the earth where they were created over thousands of years. While colorless, or near colorless, white sapphires still appear to be very different than a colorless white diamond, which will sparkle brightly due to their many facets and higher refractive index.
The most noticeable difference in the visual appearance of these two stones is that diamonds are much brighter than white sapphires sparkle due to their higher level of clarity and how they reflect light outward.
But, white sapphires can also vary in clarity, affecting their ability to refract light, more so than a diamond. Sapphires can grown under the earths crust, and develop with microscopic inclusions that give the stone a silky, or even opaque look. Silky white sapphires will sparkle very little, as compared to a clear white sapphire. Similarly, diamonds of low clarity, including salt and pepper diamonds, will not refract light well if the imperfections in the stone impeded light from entering and exiting the stone. This look is interesting to many who are seeking a truly unique gem for their jewelry that has a literal fingerprint from mother nature captured within it.
So there are many variables to consider when choosing one stone over another. Imagine finding a flawless white sapphire over a diamond in the same price category that may have visible inclusions. You can see how cut, and design might play a big part in a final decision with two stones like this.
Both Gemstones are Durable for Daily Wear and Will Make a Great Engagement Ring
So if you're looking for durability, either of these gemstones makes a great choice for daily wear. This is one of the reasons they make such great gemstones for engagement rings and everyday heirloom jewellery intended to last a lifetime. We recommend some simple at home cleaning tricks to extend the lifetime of your jewellery, removing your jewellery during certain activities, and having your ring inspected annually to check if anything needs maintenance. We included a few tips on our jewellery care page and even recommend personal jewellery insurance be taken out on your pieces to cover wear and tear.
Lab Grown vs Natural Diamonds or White Sapphires
When shopping for diamonds, or any gemstone, there are two options to choose from: lab grown or natural. Before rushing the decision to only wear a 'natural' gemstone, we'd like to assure you we make beautiful rings and custom jewelry with both lab grown and natural specimens.
To the naked eye, for most of us when compared side by side, it would be difficult to see the difference. Both lab creations and natural gemstones make stunning custom jewelry, with the right cut and design.
Lab grown diamonds and sapphires are made to match their respective natural stones in molecular structure.
Sapphires, like rubies, are part of the corundum family and diamonds are part of the carbon family. Lab grown sapphires and diamonds are created in a laboratory with corundum and carbon respectively, to match the molecular structure of their natural counterparts.
Lab-grown diamonds and lab-grown sapphires require a fraction of the energy to create, but still have all the same qualities and characteristics that can be found in naturally occurring diamonds and sapphires. Companies who manufacture lab grown stones are continuously striving to reduce the carbon footprint of production, but the industry is not yet perfect. Nevertheless, are an attractive option for conscious buyers who look to more environmentally friendly alternatives to earth mined gems.
So if you are looking for a beautiful gemstone that is ethically sourced and environmentally friendly, lab-grown diamonds and sapphires may be the perfect fit for you.
Cost is an Elusive Factor
Cost is always a factor when selecting which gemstone you choose! But we like to think of cost as an elusive factor, given all of the other variables, you may find cost doesn't come into play at all.
It can be one factor, but it is our hope that cost is not the only factor when choosing a stone. Maybe your gemstone of choice is not the most expensive ... would you change your mind once knowing that? We hope not. We want your custom buying experience and decision to be determined by much more than cost.
In general, diamonds tend to cost more than white sapphires in the market due to a number of factors, including the way larger companies control the flow of gemstones into the market, their rarity, demand, etc. The type, size, cut, quality of a center stone, and the design and ingredients in the ring setting itself contribute to the final price tag associated with a custom ring.
Check out our Collection "Featured Gem Savings" to see our monthly featured gem offered at a discounted price. (Feel free to share!)
And remember, lab-grown diamonds and sapphires offer an alternative solution to natural stones that may be your preference. Often, these stones cost less, but still offer all the same benefits such as durability, sparkle, and clarity. . . and with their lower environmental impact may be considered superior in the story aspect. So forget the price!
No "One-Size-Fits-All" Answer - trust your gut feelings
When shopping for your ideal gemstone, there’s no “one-size-fits-all” answer. You need to take into account the visual look and feel, the importance of cut and design, and your preference for natural or lab grown stones in order to make an informed decision. Sometimes one stone vs. another will simply draw you in, and your attraction to it is less so about mathematical factors shown on a certificate, but a gut feeling. That is ok too! You are allowed to like what you like and feel good about your choice if intuition is how you move through decision making.
Both stones offer different benefits so take into account your story, lifestyle needs, desired look & feel and budget - whatever feels “right” for you will help make your decision easier, so pick whichever gemstone resonates with you!
Whether it's a showstopping disco ball of a diamond or a soft looking ‘'watery' white sapphire, your choice should always come down to personal preference rather than price tag or other factors.
No matter which stone you choose, make sure it’s something that speaks to your heart and will last through time! Because, in the end it's about finding the perfect gemstone that best matches your story.
At EG Bespoke Ltd, we can help you with that.
You've got this!
P.S. - You might also like our article WHITE SAPPHIRE VS DIAMOND: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
P.S.S. - Want a sneak peek around the archives to see some of our custom work? Custom Work Archives, Look Book by Emily Gill
Contact Emily today to choose your next piece of custom jewelry.
You may be interested to check out our Custom Jewelry Process to understand our timelines to produce the perfect heirloom piece for your collection.