Sapphire wedding rings hold one of the most popular gemstones in the world which naturally form in a rainbow of stunning gemstone colors. As one of the most durable gems, second only to the diamond, sapphire engagement rings and wedding bands will certainly stand up to the test of time.
To find the perfect genuine sapphire ring that you'll love for a
check out the info below including common enhancements of sapphires,
what types of sapphires to avoid in rings, extra shopping tips, price guides and more.
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Durability = Excellent
Sapphires, like rubies, are a form of mineral known as corundum; the difference between sapphires and rubies is color. Rubies are red, and sapphires are all other color varieties of corundum.
Sapphires are currently mined in Afghanistan, Australia, China, Kenya,
India, Madagascar, Tanzania, and some parts of the U.S.
The sapphire is the gemstone of truth, purity, blessings, and knowledge. Sapphire rings have been cherished by couples throughout time as the sapphire symbolizes a relationship based on faithfulness and sincerity.
Royalty and high priests often used the sapphire in their own rings to symbolize their blessings as divine holders of knowledge and wisdom.
The sapphire is also the classic birthstone for the month of April and the modern birthstone for the month of September.
Sapphire Gemstone Enhancements
Most sapphires undergo enhancements of some kind to improve color. But some of these enhancements yield poor results and can affect the value of the gemstone and the quality and durability of sapphire wedding rings.
Sapphires are usually heated to improve their color and overall appearance. The stability of this type of enhancement is excellent, and the stone requires no special care after heating. Heat treated gemstones are usually labeled with an E or an H; this treatment is so common that couples should assume their sapphires have been treated unless it is otherwise stated. Heat treatment only minimally affects the stone’s price.
An enhancement known as surface diffusion is only occasionally used on sapphires. This treatment is used to intensify color and it has a good stability rating. Labeled with a U, sapphires which undergo this treatment require special care and should not be re-polished or re-cut or they will lose the quality of their color. This treatment moderately affects the stone’s price.
Irradiation enhancement, labeled with an R, is occasionally used on sapphires to produce intense yellow or orange colors. The stability for this treatment is very poor as the gemstone's color will quickly fade when exposed to heat or light; irradiation will drastically reduce the overall price of the stone. Avoid purchasing sapphire wedding rings that contain irradiated sapphires.
A controversial diffusion treatment for sapphires
known as Beryllium treatment, or lattice diffusion, will intensify
yellow and orange
colors, and synthetically produce the rare and highly priced
salmon/sunset colors of the Padparadscha sapphire. This treatment has a
rating, but stones can lose their color if they are re-cut or chipped.
This enhancement is controversial because not all sapphires which have
received this treatment are labeled as “Beryllium-Treated” or “Be
Treated,” even though they are supposed to be, and this treatment can
be identified through expensive laboratory tests. As a result, the
treatments are reducing the overall value of real sapphires around the
world. Diffusion treatments will drastically reduce the value of the
stone and it is best to avoid buying sapphire engagement rings
or sapphire wedding bands made with these types of enhanced sapphires.
Special Care for Sapphire Wedding Rings
As the sapphire is a highly durable gemstone, a genuine sapphire ring made with heat treated sapphires requires no special care. Although, sapphires can be scratched by other pieces of jewelry - especially those containing diamonds - so ideally the ring should be stored in a protected pouch or box. As with most other types of engagement rings and wedding bands, it is best to remove sapphire rings before swimming in chlorinated water.
Sapphire Price Guide
Sapphire wedding rings are priced first and foremost on the gemstone’s color, then carat, cut, and clarity - and enhancements will also have a big impact on the value of a sapphire gemstone.
All sapphire gemstones display secondary colors or hues when they are exposed to light from different directions. The most desirable secondary hues are purple and violet followed by white. Less desirable secondary hues are green, gray, and yellow.
The most desirable and valued sapphire gemstones are a cornflower blue with secondary purple or violet hues and flashes. A a quality cut cornflower blue sapphire that has undergone only heat treatment, and has a good clarity grade, will generally sell for around $1,000 for a one carat stone. Natural sapphires of this color which have received no treatments are quite rare and are priced on average more than $2,000 for a one carat stone.
Currently, the most highly valued sapphires are the Padparadscha which are a salmon/sunset orange color. Sapphire wedding rings made of this rare natural gemstone are priced on average at $5,000 - $15,000 for rings crafted with a one carat sapphire gemstone.
Pink sapphire engagement ring styles have been increasing in popularity in recent years, and as a result they are now fetching prices almost equal to comparable cornflower blue sapphire engagement rings.
Other colors of sapphires are priced around $500.00 per carat or less. Purples are usually priced higher than greens and yellows. Oranges are moderately priced based on the intensity of their color. The lowest priced sapphires are the browns, gray, and clear (white) sapphires - although a clear sapphire with an excellent cut can sometimes be mistaken for a diamond.
Sapphire wedding rings with a quality custom cut which maximizes the sapphire’s natural brilliance, fire, and flash of desirable secondary hues are valued at higher prices than standard commercial or poorly cut sapphires.
Most sapphires have naturally occurring inclusions, and natural sapphires which have a perfect clarity grade are very rare. Sapphires which have minimal inclusions which are not visible to the naked eye are valued higher than sapphires with visible inclusions and/or blemishes.
Depending on the color of the sapphire gemstone, the carat size
will have a big impact on price. Blue, pink, or Padparadscha sapphires
which are over a carat will generally triple or quadruple in price per
carat as they increase in size. Other colors of sapphires
increase in value as well according to the carat size, though not as
dramatically as the more highly valued colors mentioned.
Shopping Tips for Sapphire Wedding Rings
Couples looking for sapphire wedding rings will unfortunately need to be able to navigate through a maze of treated sapphires, synthetic sapphires, and color choices.
When it comes down to it, the best way to ensure that you have purchased a genuine sapphire ring for the right price is to go through a retailer who offers a no-nonsense refund policy and have your sapphire evaluated by an independent gemologist if the sapphire ring does not come with a certificate of authentication or appraisal from a reputable laboratory.
*Our Top Picks in the columns on this page are from two very highly reputable and trustworthy jewelry companies - Brilliant Earth and Gemvara. If you decide to purchase a gemstone wedding ring from one of these recommendations, a second independent evulation is not needed to confirm the authenticity of your ring.
Looking closely at the price of sapphire wedding rings will also clue you in to any synthetic or treated gemstones. Remember that heat treatments by themselves will only have a minimal impact on the value of the stone, while natural stones of desirable colors are rare and will be valued higher. All other treatments will have a moderate to high impact on the stone’s value.
Keep in mind as you shop the minimal prices per one carat stone for valuable colors. For example, if you find a quality Padparadscha Sapphire priced at a few thousand, or even a few hundred, dollars you are probably looking at a Beryllium treated stone.
Take your time when you shop for sapphire engagement rings and sapphire wedding bands, beware of deals which look too good to be true and always deal with a retailer/jeweler who has an excellent established reputation.
If you are buying a gemstone through someone who is selling their personal property make sure that the gemstone comes with a certified report - not just an appraisal - or that you have the option of having the gemstone evaluated by a certified gemologist before the sale is finalized.
If you are on a tight budget, lab created sapphire rings can be a fantastic choice - just be sure to stick with synthetic sapphires that have the same exact properties as natural sapphires and that the workmanship on the ring is top notch.
The best metals for every day wear sapphire wedding rings? Platinum, followed by palladium and 18k gold. Before choosing the metal for your ring, remember that white gold will need to be re-plated with rhodium about every one to two years - and the rhodium plate process should not be performed on sapphires that have severe inclusions or which have received any treatments other than heat treatments.
Last but not least, sapphire and diamond engagement rings should always come with a certificate from a well known diamond laboratory like the GIA, AGS, EGL or IGI. If the ring is a vintage, estate or antique sapphire engagement ring, in this case the ring should come with a certificate of authentication and/or an appraisal by an unbiased independent gemologist.
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