You want to buy a piece of jewelry with a nice, shiny gem at the center of it, but you’re not sure which gem is the best? Or you’re thinking about investing in some more valuable gemstones to get you a profit down the line.
And you’ve heard that, aside from diamonds, white sapphires are one of the most popular gems out there – but you just don’t know enough about the two to make the decision.
You may have googled them and seen images that compare the two, but now you’re even more confused because you just don’t see that much of a difference. And honestly, you wouldn’t have even noticed if you bought one instead of the other.
That’s completely reasonable since most of us aren’t concerned with these types of topics on a day-to-day basis. And even if we have thought or read about it, the information we need when purchasing one of the two is much greater than what we’ve pondered on in our free time.
We’re here to tell you about the differences, similarities, benefits, and drawbacks of both diamonds and white sapphires to help you make an informed decision you won’t regret.
It might seem confusing right now – but stick with us, and you’ll get the hang of it soon enough.
Let’s get right into this diamond vs. white sapphire debate!
Let’s break this down to the basics. If you know the most important info on both of these gems individually, it will be a lot simpler to compare them and see where they are alike and where they differ.
So, here are the essential pieces of information on diamonds!
In this part of the article, we’re going to discuss the color, cut, clarity, and carat of the diamond. Also, we’ll throw some fun facts into the mix (don’t be surprised, they might be the very thing to make you decide at the end).
Related Read: Diamond Facts: All Interesting Facts About Diamonds
Here are a few fun facts to make you fall in love with diamonds – and not just for their looks!
1. THEY ARE THE BIRTHSTONE OF APRIL
Each month has its birthstone, and for those born in the month of April, it happens to be the diamond.
Experts in this field believe that wearing your birthstone can have many benefits for the wearer, ranging from better interpersonal relationships, heightened inner strength, and balance, abundance, and clarity in life.
Who wouldn’t want that?!
So, if you’re looking for an additional reason to splurge on a piece of diamond jewelry and you are an April baby, you have found it.
2. THEY ARE BILLIONS OF YEARS OLD
If you think that time makes things interesting, diamonds will undoubtedly spark your interest. The oldest diamonds are thought to have crystallized about 3.3 billion years ago. Can you believe that?
And if we remind you that the Earth is estimated to be 4.5 billion years old, that puts it even more into perspective.
So, no surprise diamonds are so expensive, with that impressive chunk of time under their belt – and a few other things that add to their value.
3. THEY ARE THE HARDEST SUBSTANCE ON EARTH
Who would’ve thought that such a delicate little thing would be the hardest substance on Earth? Well, it’s true. Diamonds are so durable that many companies use them to make tools intended for industrial use, such as drills, saw blades, etc.
However, the drawback there is that they end up costing a lot and thus being available to limited groups of people. But don’t give up on them yet. There is a much more affordable version with the same hardness and effectiveness – lab diamonds.
4. THEY CAN BE BURNED
Just when you might have thought that diamonds are indestructible, fire has to ruin it all, huh?
Diamonds can come to their demise at the hands of scorching flames.
Granted, for that to happen, the temperature needs to reach somewhere between 1290 and 1650 degrees Fahrenheit (699 to 899 degrees Celsius). So, not very likely – but still possible. House fires and jewelers’ torches could reach that temperature, for example.
Related Read: What Will Happen If You Burn A Diamond?
You might be thinking: “Wait, isn’t that for gold?”.
Well, you might be confusing carats with karats here. They are used differently for gold and for diamonds.
In this case, carats are used to measure the weight of diamonds, unlike gold, where karats are used to measure purity – with 24 karats being pure gold.
The carat weight is the most fundamental quality of a diamond. The bigger the size, the rarer the diamond is. As you can see, the connection between the size and the price of the diamond is not direct.
While the carat size is essential, the worth and the price of the diamond are determined based on the combination of the four C’s.
Sometimes, a flawless lower carat diamond is worth more than a higher carat one with some inclusions.
Learn More: What Is The Highest Diamond Carat In The World?
We all know and love diamonds for their signature sparkle. And, well, what makes them sparkle so much is light reflecting through all of their facets.
When a diamond has precise facets, more light is able to pass through it and reflect, resulting in a shinier diamond.
But, don’t forget about the other C’s: Clarity plays an especially important role when it comes to a diamond’s shine, so the cut and the clarity are a team.
When we see a diamond, we think, “How stunning!” – no matter the gem’s actual characteristics. We don’t really see what professional jewelers see under their magnifying glasses.
Well, it’s precisely that which they see (and we don’t) that determines how valuable a diamond is.
Remember how we’ve mentioned inclusions when talking about carats?
Well, inclusions are minor imperfections within the diamond that make it “less perfect” and take away from its clarity. We also have blemishes, which are superficial imperfections.
Diamonds with fewer inclusions and blemishes are worth more than others since they are rarer to come across.
We’ve come to the last C of the bunch – the color. The most well-known diamond is the white diamond. That’s the one we see in commercials, in jewelry stores, and in movies.
However, that’s not the only color a diamond can be. They can range anywhere from being completely colorless to being yellowish – and some even light brown.
The way that happens is through the formation process. Sometimes, carbon can get mixed up with other natural elements within the Earth, resulting in yellow or brown hues of the diamond.
The color of any diamond is graded on a scale, on which colorless diamonds get grades D, E, and F, while near colorless ones get the grades G, H, or I.
There are also other colors of diamonds that are not graded on this traditional scale – and their value is determined by their uniqueness and rarity.
White Sapphire 101
Sapphires usually have a very recognizable dark blue color, which is what they are best known for in the jewelry world. However, there are also other colors of this stone, such as yellow, green, pink, as well as white.
White sapphires are essentially a colorless version of the classic sapphire. Now, you might think that they are then similar to diamonds – which are also colorless gemstones.
Not so fast.
White sapphires’ value is also determined by the four C’s (cut, clarity, carat, and color), but they are not as “important” as they are for diamonds.
Some grading entities don’t even grade white sapphires but rather just give descriptions of each of these four characteristics of a sapphire.
Color is the main difference between diamonds and white sapphires. A diamond’s sparkle is rainbow-colored, while the white sapphire tends to sparkle with a silvery, white-gray hue.
You might not even tell the two apart at first, but when you put the gems side by side – and take a closer look. You’ll be able to see this difference.
The reason diamonds have that specific color of sparkle is because of their high refractive index and dispersions. The white sapphire doesn’t have as many of those, so its sparkle is more muted.
That is also important to know in terms of upkeep.
Diamonds are able to shine through dirt and oil, while white sapphires aren’t. That means that a piece of jewelry with a white sapphire would need to be cleaned more often than one featuring a diamond – if you want to keep its wonderful shine, that is.
“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” they say – and this comparison only supports that.
While diamonds are the ultimate gem for jewelry – especially engagement rings – that doesn’t mean they are what everyone is looking for, really. Sparkle can draw many buyers to diamonds, but some individuals enjoy the white sapphire’s more muted, subtle shine.
So, in terms of how beautiful each of the stones is, we’d say: It’s entirely subjective.
Related Read: Can You Test a Sapphire With a Diamond Tester?
Durability And Hardness
It’s important that our jewelry stands the test of time – which means that our gems need to be durable and withstand scratches.
On the Mohs hardness scale, white sapphires are a 9, while diamonds are a 10. However, in everyday life, that makes very little difference. Diamonds can only be scratched by other diamonds, while the white sapphire can be damaged by diamonds and moissanite.
However, both are resistant to everyday damage such as nails, coins, dust, etc. So, don’t worry about your sapphire getting damaged while you’re running errands. It’s a tough gem.
As far as durability goes, we’re talking about a gemstone’s ability to withstand physical blows. Most gemstones are quite brittle and prone to chipping, and white sapphire isn’t much different. Both a diamond and sapphire can chip if hit at the right spot.
Related Read: Can A Diamond Chip If Dropped?
Price And Size
It’s no secret that white sapphires are more affordable than diamonds – and that’s why they are becoming an increasingly popular alternative for diamonds when it comes to engagement rings and other jewelry.
No matter the carat size, white sapphires will not break the bank as much as diamonds will.
So, if you want a huge stone on your ring, and you don’t care too much about the sparkle, white sapphire might get the stone for you. That way, you’ll get a much bigger stone for the price of a smaller diamond.
Keep in mind that the bigger the sapphire, the more noticeably different it looks to a diamond.
So, if you want a stone that will look like a diamond, stick to smaller ones, as the differences are more difficult to spot in that case.
Diamonds Vs. White Sapphires – The Verdict
Ultimately, these are two different gems with different characteristics that can serve some of the same purposes. In terms of jewelry, white sapphires could be a wonderful substitute for diamonds – but they can also be what some people are looking for without trying to emulate the look of a diamond.
They have a unique, sliver hue to them and can seem much softer and subtler than diamonds. They’re also more affordable and easier to find, so they’re available to a broader market. That said, diamonds are a better choice for someone that has particularly fallen in love with their characteristic rainbowy sparkle, their rarity, and history.
Both gemstones are pretty sturdy and damage-resistant in terms of scratches in everyday life – but they are both prone to chipping, much like other gemstones. Both have lab-grown alternatives, which are not as popular – but have undoubtedly been getting there in the past years.
All in all, whichever one you choose, you won’t get it wrong. They’re both stunning, and deemed precious, so neither are short of remarkable.