What is a white sapphire?
We all know and love the famous blue sapphire. But did you know a sapphire can actually be any color? Even though blue is the most well-known one, sapphires come in all colors – except red – including colorless ones. Just like diamonds, we often refer to colorless sapphires as “white” sapphires. Natural white sapphires are extremely rare. But when you look online or in store, you see a lot of them. How come? That’s because most white sapphires are not really white. Usually, these are actually yellow or grey sapphires that got a heat or chemical treatment to improve its color. As you can imagine, this makes the value of a white sapphire drop.
Differences between diamond and white sapphireWhen we compare a white sapphire to a diamond, there are a few differences that catch the eye. The most obvious difference is the sparkle. White sapphires sparkle a lot less than diamonds. In terms of clarity, sapphires usually have more blemishes than diamonds. But as you know, this can differ per diamond. Sapphires also attract more dirt, which mean you have to clean a sapphire more often than a diamond.
ColorFor a white sapphire, the color is its most important factor. The purer its colorlessness, the better. A sapphire’s brilliance and fire matter less than they do in diamonds. That’s because sapphires simply offer much lass sparkle than diamonds. When judging the sapphire’s color, just look at it with the naked eye and see if the stone appeals to you. The most important thing to look for is to make sure if the color is consistent throughout the stone. Because of the treatment, it is more likely that the color inside the sapphire is not evenly spread. If the color is consistent, the stone is more valuable as a white sapphire with uneven coloring is simply less appealing.
HardnessAs you may know, a diamond scores a 10/10 on the Moh’s hardness scale. It is hard, or actually impossible, to top that. But a sapphire comes quite close. Sapphires score a 9/10 on the Mohs’s scale. This means they are almost 100% resistant against scratching and usually do not need a repolish. But they cannot top a diamond when it comes to hardness.
BrillianceThe factor that makes a white sapphire differ the most from a diamond is the brilliance. A diamond will practically always sparkle more than a sapphire. This does not mean a white sapphire does not sparkle. It simply means it sparkles (a lot) less than a diamond. But usually more than any other color sapphire. So if you are looking for a stone with a high sparkle, the diamond is the most obvious choice. But then there is the matter of price. White sapphires look a bit like diamonds, but they have less sparkle. Image source: WhoWhatWear
Price pointA huge benefit of white sapphire compared to diamond is the price. If you’re looking at a 1-carat diamond, you’re easily down €4,000. Whereas for a white sapphire with a similar size, you can often get them for under €1,000. So if you’re looking for a bigger stone, chances are you might like a white sapphire better. But of course, it is clear that the sapphire has quite a different appearance than a diamond.
Other reasons why diamonds are betterAs you now know: diamonds are harder, sparkle more and usually have an overall better color. But there are more reasons why people tend to stick to diamonds:
- Diamonds are passed down from generation to generation: Since they are not nearly as valuable as diamonds, white sapphires feel less special. If you are looking for a family heirloom that is both valuable and sentimental, diamonds are by far the preferred choice.
- Diamonds are a symbol of love: As well, diamonds are a girl’s best friends. For hundreds of years, diamonds are the gemstone of choice when it comes to true love.
- The bigger the stone, the more likely you can see the difference: As previously stated, diamonds have a brighter sparkle and white sapphires usually have more inclusions. You quickly notice the difference if you increase the stone size. So if you prefer a bigger stone, diamonds are definitely the way to go.
- Diamonds have a natural color: Obviously, this does not apply to natural white sapphires, but most of them are enhanced to appear white. This doesn’t make the sapphire less natural, just its color. Some people don’t like the idea of enhancing a natural gem’s color.