Sapphire, thy name is variety. The hardest choice when searching out sapphire engagement rings is figuring out what kind of sapphire you like best. Sapphires come in so many colours, hues, shapes and sizes.
Except for red, red sapphires are called rubies. We’re lucky in Toronto that we have access to many suppliers of this gorgeous gemstone.
There’s so much to explore when talking about sapphire. If what you’re interested in isn’t covered here you can also check out my post on alternative engagement rings and my post about lab grown diamond and sapphire engagement rings.
My specialty is working with clients local to Toronto or long distance to custom create the exact right sapphire ring for them. I have a variety of ring designs to choose from or we can take inspiration from elsewhere and make a completely unique engagement ring design from scratch.
Natural Unheated Sapphires
What is an unheated sapphire? Most sapphires are heat treated in order to achieve a desired colour. An unheated sapphire has not gone through this heat treatment. Typically an unheated sapphire will be more pastel and less saturated in colour than a heated sapphire.
If you would like an unheated sapphire for your engagement ring sometimes you can pay a bit more due to their rarity, especially in blue. That being said I have a wonderful local supplier of unheated sapphires. If you’re interested in learning more about unheated sapphires you can find a lot of information at Sorbet Sapphire.
One important note if you do select an unheated sapphire. If you end up needing to size your ring always disclose that your sapphire is unheated to the jeweller doing the work. Sizing requires the application of heat and, because the stone has not yet been subject to a heat treatment, the process of sizing could actually alter the colour of your stone. For some colours of sapphire, such as pale yellow, not a lot of heat is required to change the colour.
Natural Heated Sapphires
Heated sapphires is the term we use for sapphires that have gone through a high temperature treatment to create a greater saturation of colour, reduce colour zoning and improve clarity. It’s estimated that 90% of sapphires have been heat treated.
When looking at sapphires or sapphire engagement rings you can assume that the sapphire has been heat treated unless otherwise specified. There is absolutely nothing wrong with heat treatments. The process is permanent and your stone will not fade or alter.
Lab Created Sapphires
Recently lab created sapphires have gained in popularity even though they’ve been around for over 100 years. They can go by many names, lab created sapphires, lab made sapphires, lab grown sapphires, lab sapphires and synthetic sapphires. All of these terms refer to the same thing which is a sapphire that has been made in a lab rather than mined from the earth.
Lab created sapphires are identical chemically to sapphires from the earth. They have the same brilliance and hardness as natural sapphires, just not the same price tag. I often work with a company called Chatham Created Sapphires who produce gorgeous stones that really give mother nature some stiff competition! I’ve made many lab created sapphire engagement rings and have never been disappointed with the quality of the stone.
Are Sapphire Engagement Rings Durable?
The reason why sapphire is a great choice for your engagement ring is because it is durable. With a score of 9 on the Moh’s scale of hardness this means that a sapphire will stand up to the rigors of everyday wear. The other reason it’s a great choice is because sapphire is available is such a wide variety of colours!
Popular Colours in Sapphire Engagement Rings
With the resurgence of popularity in rose gold we’ve seen the increase in popularity of peach sapphire engagement rings. No doubt you’ve seen many examples gracing the pages of pinterest boards, maybe even your own!
Many of the stones in these rings are not sapphires at all but something called Morganite which is the pink variety of the mineral beryl (green beryl is called emerald, blue beryl is called aquamarine and yellow beryl is called heliodor). Unfortunately, morganite is not as hard as sapphire and therefore not as a great a choice for everyday wear in an engagement ring.
Peach sapphire is definitely the better choice for an engagement ring over morganite, however, the colour is not nearly as easy to find as in morganite. In morganite the colour is fairly consistent. Some stones may have a bit more pink and others a bit more orange but, over all, it’s an easy colour match for rose gold.
Not so with peach sapphire. The hues in peach sapphire can run the spectrum, some more yellow, some more pink and others more orange. And the saturation varies quite a bit as well from very pale to saturated. Be prepared to look at quite a number of stones until you find the one that works for you.
There is another pinkish orange variety of sapphire called padparadscha. I love that word. And that stone.
Padparadscha are gorgeous mixes of pink and orange, sometimes with colour zoning of both colours. They are typically more saturated in colour so many not work if you’re looking for more of a pastel shade for your ring.
The popularity of teal sapphires likely goes hand in hand with the popularity in recent years of Montana Sapphires which I talk about below.
I find that my clients who are looking for teal sapphire rings usually have a very particular shade in mind. As I talked about above with the peach sapphires, teal sapphires are also quite varied and can run from more green with blue to more blue with green & from pale to saturated. Again, be prepared to look at many stones before you find the right one.
Montana Sapphires are, you guessed it, sapphires from Montana! In recent years they have become popular not only because of their beauty but also because their origin is known. This is also why Australian sapphires have become more popular.
Unfortunately there is no process in place that traces the origin of most sapphires. I’m fortunate to work with local gemstone suppliers who do know the origin of their sapphires but I feel like the industry has a lot of catching up to do in this regard.
Montana sapphires are beautiful and can range quite a bit in colour. Most often they are blue, teal, yellow, green or some combination of these colours. Sometimes they have very unique colour zoning with one colour on one side and another colour on the other. A Montana sapphire would definitely create a unique sapphire engagement ring!
Things go in, things go out but blue sapphire engagement rings are always popular, always. The shade of blue that has been popular has changed somewhat over the years. Many of us may think of a very deep, dark blue when we think of blue sapphires because of our grandmother’s jewellery. Actually the most sought after shade of blue sapphire has always been “corn flower” blue, sometimes also referred to as Ceylon (for Sri Lanka, the origin of some of the best blue sapphire material).
Most blue sapphires are heat treated to create that delicious blue shade. If you’re looking for an unheated natural blue sapphire you will definitely be paying a premium due to their rarity.
Many of my clients are also looking for pastel blue sapphires for their engagement rings pairing them with white gold for a more modern look. Really, you can never go wrong with a blue sapphire!
Other Sapphire Colours
You will also find a wide variety of hues in: pink sapphire, green sapphire, orange sapphire, purple sapphire, yellow sapphire and brown sapphire. White sapphire is also available and you can sometimes see grey sapphire too. All of my suppliers offer a wide product selection so I’m able to bring in many options for my clients.
The Right Sapphire For You
I hope this information has helped you learn a bit more about sapphire engagement rings and, if you’re considering sapphire, what might be most important to you. It’s really all about finding the right sapphire for you. If you do have a question that hasn’t been answered here I’d be happy to help in any way I can!