Jewelry / Trends

White Sapphire vs Diamond: Complete Comparison

Briana Briana 25 Mar 2020 31

When shopping for jewelry, and in particular for an engagement ring, the first gemstone that likely comes to mind is a diamond. Why wouldn’t it? The classic gemstone, a timeless symbol of love and beauty, incredibly durable, what’s not to love? While diamonds are great, you also don’t need to be told that they are expensive. And that is why we are discussing white sapphire vs diamond today.

For many couples, they simply cannot justify spending that amount of money on a gemstone. Thankfully, there are plenty of diamond alternatives, with one of the top alternatives being a white sapphire. But, is a white sapphire actually a better option? The truth is – that’s up to you!

Whether you are deciding on an engagement ring or any other piece of fine jewelry, here is the full comparison between white sapphires and diamonds that you need in order to make the right decision.

Yes, both are high-quality gemstones, and both are beautiful. There are pros and cons to each that will help you make the right decision for you. Here is what you need to know.  

Why Choose a Diamond

Let’s start with diamonds. The classic engagement ring choice for decades. Truth be told, diamonds really are a great option for any piece of jewelry, and in particular, engagement rings. They are beautiful, have a lot of brilliance and sparkle, can be cut in just about any shape, can be as small or large as you want, and are the hardest materials on Earth. They are durable and beautiful. The downside? They are expensive. 

diamonds
Source: Wikipedia

The main reason that people are deciding against diamonds these days is because of their cost. This is especially important for couples selecting a ring, as they are likely also budgeting for a wedding as well. It all adds up quickly! 

So, why choose a diamond? If you simply enjoy the traditional aspect of it and want to know you are wearing a diamond, go for it. Keep in mind that there are plenty of ways that you can keep costs down by going for a white gold band instead of platinum, choosing a smaller center stone, a less elaborate setting, or choosing a diamond that is not flawless.

Why Choose a White Sapphire

Now, let’s talk about white sapphires! They are a great alternative to diamonds and are a great option for a colorless gemstone. However, in terms of sapphires, they are considered the least valuable, which makes them cost far less.

For most people, if they want a sapphire, they want one in the iconic blue shade. This keeps the cost for these gemstones high, and leads to a lower cost for white sapphires. Great for anyone who wants a colorless stone and wants to save money!

White sapphires
Source: Wisegeek

In terms of durability, you are safe when it comes to white sapphire. While nothing is as durable as diamond, sapphires fall closely behind diamonds and are still incredibly durable and are a great choice for something like an engagement ring that is being worn every day. On the Mohs hardness scale, they score a 9/10 (with diamonds of course being 10/10).

Similarly to diamonds, white sapphires can also be cut into just about any shape and can be found in just about any size. Whatever look you want with a ring, you can find the right white sapphire that you want. 

In short, if you want a durable colorless gemstone that is not as expensive as a diamond, white sapphire is a great option. However, in terms of appearance, these gemstones do not look identical to diamonds.

This will be another major deciding factor for most people, in addition to the cost. We’ll discuss appearance more in the next section. 

White Sapphire vs Diamond: Side by Side Comparison

While yes, white sapphires and diamonds are two colorless gemstones that are both very durable, there are some significant differences (besides price) that you should consider before making a final decision. Let’s break down the most significant differences!

✓ Appearance

The difference between these two gemstones is more noticeable when they are side by side, but even when they are not, you will likely be able to tell the difference between the two. Mainly, the main quality of white sapphire is its true colorless appearance, whereas with a diamond, the top quality is its unmatched brilliance and sparkle.

There is much less sparkle with a white sapphire. White sapphires have a refractive index of 1.77, and diamonds have a refractive index of 2.4. If you want a lot of sparkle with your jewelry, white sapphire is not your best option. However, if you enjoy the true appearance of gemstones for what they are, a sapphire might be an excellent choice. 

Maintenance

Both stones are very durable, though diamonds will ultimately win and are the most durable. However, when talking about maintenance, it is also important to note that white sapphires can more easily appear milky or cloudy if they are dirty. Because they have less of that brilliance and sparkle, even some light soap buildup can really alter the appearance of the stone.

With diamonds, typical buildup or dirt will not impact the appearance as much because the brilliance and fire can make up for it. If you look at a white sapphire and a diamond side by side that both need cleaning, the white sapphire will almost certainly look duller than the diamond.

For this reason, you will need to clean white sapphire more regularly and thoroughly to keep it looking its best. 

Cut

What we talked about earlier was the shapes of these two stones. Yes, both can be cut into any shape you want: round, princess, cushion, pear, etc. That is not to be confused with the cut of the gemstone, which is a different aspect altogether. There is an extensive grading system when it comes to a diamond’s cut that helps determine its value. However, no such system exists for a white sapphire.

White Sapphire vs. Diamond Comparison
Source: Angara

This is mainly because, as we mentioned above, fire and brilliance are not as important factors for sapphires and therefore, the cut of the stone is less important. With a diamond, a poorly cut stone can result in far less refraction and sparkle, whereas a brilliant cut diamond will have the maximum amount of sparkle.

If you are used to looking for this grade to help you determine which gemstone to select, you will not have it as an option when shopping for a white sapphire. 

Cost

Finally, the cost is a major difference between the two gemstones. Diamonds will always be more expensive. While the specific cost will depend on things like the carat size and quality of the stone, you will always find that a white sapphire will cost far less than a diamond. 

Making the Right Decision

So, how do you make the right decision? By comparing all the differences and deciding which is more important to you! Like we said at the beginning, both are beautiful gemstones that are great options for your next piece of jewelry. Which is right for you is up to you!

Here are some quick tips that can help you decide based on what you’ve learned today:

💎 Sparkle: You can make your decision quickly and easily if you know you want a lot of sparkle. You simply won’t get that with white sapphire, meaning a diamond is your best option here out of the two. If sparkle isn’t incredibly important to you, white sapphire is a great alternative to consider. 

💎 Size: Do you want a large center stone in your engagement ring but don’t want to or can’t afford the hefty price tag associated with a diamond of that size? A great way to save money is to instead opt for a similarly sized white sapphire. It will cost far less but will give you the same appearance in terms of size.

You could also consider doing the center stone with white sapphire and do a halo of diamonds to add some sparkle for less money! 

White diamond vs white sapphire
Source: Apres Jewelry

💎 Maintenance: Diamonds require less maintenance and will also continue to look great and very sparkly even if they could benefit from a good cleaning. White sapphires require more regular polishing and cleaning to prevent looking cloudy. If you want a truly low maintenance option, a diamond is likely the better choice.

If you don’t mind the maintenance or are only planning to wear the piece of special occasions, this won’t matter as much and a white sapphire is a great option. 

💎 Durability: If you truly want something that is the most durable so that it will last you forever, a diamond will always be the best option. Sapphires are very durable as well, but they do not compare to diamonds. If this is your most important selling point, a diamond is a right choice. 

💎 Price: Finally, if the price is your most important selling point, of course, you should know by now to go with white sapphire over a diamond. It is a much cheaper alternative that can save you a lot of money, especially as you go up in sizes. The larger the stone, the more savings you will find when comparing to a diamond.

Wrapping Up

White both white sapphires and diamonds are great gemstones with plenty of similarities; they also have plenty of differences. Those differences are what will help you make the decision that is right for you. While white sapphires are cheaper and have more of a true colorless appearance, diamonds are superior when it comes to brilliance and fire, as well as durability and maintenance. 

Figure out what is most important to you and stick with it! If that is a diamond, there is nothing wrong with that. If you prefer to go with something like a white sapphire, or another diamond alternative, that is an excellent option as well. After all, you are the one wearing the jewelry; it should be what you want! 

How do you feel when it comes to diamonds? Are they truly a girl’s best friend, or are you totally down for a cheaper alternative? Let us know!