Gemstones like white sapphire and diamond play a great role in enhancing the beauty of jewelry. And while sapphires are no diamonds, they’re also very valuable. The Blue Belle Of Asia is the most expensive sapphire in the world and sold for a record $17,305,996 at Christie’s Geneva in November 2014.
While both stones are beautiful, learning about them and how they compare is interesting.
What is a White Sapphire?
White sapphire is a colorless or white variety of corundum. Sapphires exist in many colors, with blue sapphire being the most popular and expensive type (red corundum is known as ruby).
Natural white sapphires are scarce, and many white sapphires are lab-grown. Lab-grown white sapphire has identical physical and optical properties to natural ones, and only expert gemologists can differentiate them.
Another process of “creating” white sapphires is treating other sapphires to improve their brightness. Grey or yellow sapphires are regularly enhanced to white using chemical or heat treatment, and natural white sapphires are more expensive than treated ones.
White Sapphire vs. Diamond Properties
Several parameters exist to compare diamonds and white sapphires.
Diamond is the clear winner in hardness, scoring a perfect 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. Sapphires aren’t so far behind, with a rating of 9/10; they’re also hard stones.
It’s important to note that hardness doesn’t measure the strength of the stone. Instead, it’s a measurement of the stone’s resistance to scratching.
Diamonds can only be scratched by other diamonds, meaning your diamond jewelry would look brand new for as long as you have it. While sapphires are inferior in hardness to diamonds, only diamond and moissanite can scratch them. Therefore, you shouldn’t bother about scratching either stone from daily use.
Toughness measures the resistance of the stones to physical blows. In this category, diamonds and sapphires are evenly matched, as they cannot resist much pressure before breaking. The crystal structure of white sapphire and diamonds do not make them tough.
White sapphire and diamond’s lack of tenacity is nothing strange, as most gemstones are brittle. The toughness of your gemstone shouldn’t be something to worry too much about if you care for your diamond.
3. Physical Appearance
The physical appearance of white sapphire and diamond are noticeably different; the most obvious difference is their color. By visual observation, a diamond is a clearer stone, while white sapphire looks cloudy white.
Brilliance and fire are two terms that are often used to describe the difference in the physical appearance of gemstones. A stone’s brilliance measures its ability to reflect light and is expressed as the Refractive Index (RI). A gemstone’s fire refers to its ability to break white light into different colors, expressed as Dispersion Value (DV).
The RI and DV of White Sapphire and Diamond are as follows:
|Refractive Index(White Light)||Dispersion/Fire(Colored Light)|
The higher RI and DV of the diamond means it’s a more sparkly stone. Furthermore, diamonds sparkle more when exposed to dirt and oil, while white sapphires require more cleaning to maintain their appearance.
The difference in the physical appearance of both stones becomes more apparent with bigger stones. Therefore, you should go for a smaller white sapphire if you don’t want people to observe that you’re not using a diamond.
White sapphires are significantly cheaper than diamonds. They are even inferior in price compared to other sapphire colors; royal blue sapphires are the most valuable.
White sapphire stones below 1 carat are roughly four times cheaper than diamonds. However, it gets harder to compare prices for larger stones as their prices do not increase similarly. While you can multiply the value of white sapphires, diamond value and prices increase exponentially with weight.
|Carat Size||GIA Certified Diamond (Round, I-color, VS2)||White Sapphire|
If you desire a diamond but do not have the budget to get one, white sapphire is a great alternative for a fraction of the price.
Can You Tell the Difference Between White Sapphire and Diamond?
Differentiating white sapphire and diamond gemstones is relatively easy, and the job is even easier for larger gemstones as the contrast in their visual properties becomes clearer.
The contrast in both stones makes white sapphire a less-preferred diamond simulant than diamond. Gemstones like cubic zirconia and moissanite resemble diamonds more, making them better simulants. White sapphire is a gemstone, unlike other simulants, made specifically to emulate diamonds.
Are White Sapphires Any Good?
Yes! White sapphires are great stones to enhance the appearance of any jewelry piece. White sapphires aren’t ‘fake diamonds’ as many people might think. According to gem expert and cutter Peter Kaye, white sapphire isn’t a fake diamond if it is indeed gem-quality corundum. He goes on to say that it can only be considered ‘fake diamond’ if someone is trying to sell it as a diamond.
They might not be many diamond lovers’ cup of tea, but many people love them for their appearance. They’re also suitable for everyday jewelry since they don’t scratch easily and are durable.
Also, the price difference between both stones means that people who don’t have the budget for a diamond can get a similar-looking stone for a fraction of the price.