Sapphire Engagement Rings
For those in search of bold, intense colours, sapphire engagement rings are a timeless and sophisticated choice. Sapphires are the most suitable coloured gemstone for engagement rings, thanks to their vibrant beauty and structural hardness. Available in a rainbow of colours, sapphires are a romantic choice for a personal & unique engagement ring.
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Learn more about sapphire engagement rings
What are sapphires?
Typically blue, sapphires are the most commonly used gemstone for engagement rings, following diamonds. Scientifically speaking, sapphires are a variety of the mineral ‘corundum’, qualifying as precious gemstones. The scientific makeup of sapphires make them the perfect choice for engagement rings: ranking 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, following only diamonds and moissanite, sapphires are a sturdy choice for a piece of jewellery that is going to be worn daily - usually able to withstand most of life’s everyday knocks.
Most frequently thought of as a blue stone, the versatile mineral can actually also be found in yellow, green, purple and orange tones, making sapphire engagement rings the perfect choice for those with a strong preference for colour. Many don’t realise that sapphires can also be colourless, black, or even multicoloured - where different tones can be seen when viewed from different angles. Technically, sapphires can be found in red tones - but we refer to these as rubies, despite their identical makeup. The reason why sapphires can be found in different colours is down to the traces of other elements within the stone - a blue sapphire forms when traces of titanium are present, yellow with iron, and pink with chromium.
What makes the perfect sapphire for engagement rings?
Whilst gemstones can be found in pretty much any colour, there are certain qualities that make some more preferable than others. Generally speaking, sapphire clarity is higher than most coloured gemstones, including emeralds and rubies. However, inclusions can occur within sapphires, such as ‘needles’ - long thing mineral inclusions, as well as colour zoning and colour banding, which essentially means the colour is not consistent across the stone. The most desirable and valuable sapphires are those with consistent colour across the stone and minor inclusions.
When it comes to colour, typically, the richer the colour, the more desirable. For example, a vivid, velvety blue sapphire will be more valuable than a weaker, violet-blue sapphire. Unlike many other gemstones, the colour of a blue sapphire is actually the main determinant of its value, rather than its size. This is, however, a totally personal preference, and many prefer the colours of what are typically labelled less marketable stones.
Where do sapphires come from?
Whilst sapphires are in no way common, they can be found in a number of locations across the globe - most notably in Kashmir and Sri Lanka, but also Australia, Tanzania, Madagascar and small deposits have been found in the US. Kashmir is noted as the producer of the highest quality sapphires, the geography the perfect equation for a rich blue colour, whilst Sri Lanka is known as the home of the Padparadscha sapphire. Padparadscha sapphires are the rarest form sapphire, the name translating as ‘lotus blossom’ due to the similar peachy pink tone of the flower.
What is the history of sapphire engagement rings?
Whilst sapphires are found across the world, the precious stones are often associated with Sri Lanka, where they have been a large part of the national culture and featured in jewellery for centuries. In the European west, sapphires grew in popularity throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, largely encouraged by the use of the stone by royal families, the deep blue colour synonymous with regality and wealth.
Since the 12th century, sapphires adopted a symbol of love and commitment, perhaps due to Pope Innocent III’s ruling that a sapphire’s colour would fade if worn by an impure or unfaithful person. Therefore, he claimed an engaged couple should wait 3 months before marrying, to see if the colour of their sapphire would change.
More recent history has seen sapphire engagement rings rise in popularity with the Art Deco movement. Rather than feature the sapphire as the centre stone, a diamond rings often featured a calibre cut sapphire halo. This has become a staple of vintage engagement ring design. Towards the end of the 20th century, Prince Charles famously proposed to Princess Diana with a large oval sapphire and diamond beauty, which was later to become Kate Middleton’s engagement ring. Since Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with the iconic engagement ring, sapphire and diamond engagement rings have risen in popularity, with many looking to recreate contemporary versions of the otherwise classic design.
Why sapphire engagement rings are a great choice
Following diamonds, sapphire engagement rings are the most popular choice of gemstone, appealing to those seeking to add colour to their ring. A variety of the mineral corundum, sapphires are sturdy stones, coming in 2nd to diamonds on the Mohs scale of hardness, ranking 9, making them a great choice for a piece of jewellery to be worn everyday. Not only are sapphires very durable stones, but the plethora of rich colours that they can be found in makes them the right choice for many, not to mention the incredible lustre that sapphires have in comparison to most other coloured gemstones.
Celebrities with sapphire engagement rings
Princess Diana & Kate Middleton
Kate Middleton’s engagement ring is undoubtedly the most well recognised of sapphire engagement rings, belonging previously to Prince William’s mother, Princess Diana. Prince Charles originally proposed with the 12 carat oval blue sapphire ring in 1981, which featured a halo of 14 diamonds, set in 18k white gold. Prince Harry chose to have the ring following Diana’s death, whilst William chose her Cartier watch. They eventually swapped mementos, and William proposed to Kate in Kenya, 2010. The setting style has become a traditional staple amongst sapphire engagement rings, which has been imitated and tweaked by fans of the design over the years.
Not a million miles away from the classic design of Kate Middleton’s engagement ring, Penelope Cruz’s ring featured an oval sapphire surrounded by a halo of 12 round diamonds. Unlike Kate’s, Cruz’s engagement ring is bezel set, meaning the metal work is rubover the edges of the stones rather than using claws. This is a great way to update a classic design, the finish making for a unique, contemporary engagement ring.
Straying from the traditional choice of blue royal engagement rings, Princess Eugenie’s engagement saw a refreshing coral tone with her Padparadscha sapphire ring - an oval shaped beauty with a halo of diamonds. Romantically, Eugenie’s partner Jack Brooksbank chose the sapphire himself, only signing off on an engagement ring design with the input of Eugenie, to celebrate their partnership.