Ten reasons you should ask that important question with a sapphire engagement ring!
This article favors our favorite gemstone – the sapphire!
1. Ethics: For many decades, diamonds have been the traditional standard for engagement rings, however, it got a huge setback in 2006 when the movie “Blood diamond” was released. People became more aware of all the ills inherent in the diamond trade, from mine to market. Even though the international community have come together to ensure diamond proceeds are not used to fund war or child labor, this has not done enough to change some people’s minds from turning to alternatives. One of these alternatives is Sapphire.
2. Source: It is easier to trace the source for a sapphire than a diamond. This is because diamond mining is typically carried out through large scale operations with several conduits for distirbution int the world market. A significant portion of these diamonds would pass through cutting houses in India and Israel, and once cut, it is tough to know exactly where they come from. In contrast to sapphires, mining is around the world is usually on a smaller scale by artisanal miners without the complex distribution and cutting channels that is seen with diamonds. This makes it much easier in tracing the origin of the sapphire. Knowing the source of a gem goes a long way in finding out the ethics behind the sourcing, and knowing that your engagement ring stone is free of child labor, slavery, funding of terrorism or rebellion etc, is always a good thing.
3. Not a monopoly: The diamond industry is controlled by a few big companies, that controls about 50 – 60% of the world’s diamond supplies. Well, people hate the monopoly. However, the control of sapphires is more decentralized making a monopoly almost impossible.
4. Rarity: According to the Gemological Institute of America, a fine blue sapphire is 10x rarer than an equally fine white diamond. It takes 150 – 200 million years to replace a mined sapphire. In contrast, diamonds are made to be perceived as rare in order to control the price. in reality diamonds are much more common than it is portrayed.
5. Durability: Even though diamonds have a hardness of 10 in the Moh’s hardness scale, sapphires are next in line! Meaning they are highly resistant to scratch except it is scratched by a diamond or another sapphire (corundum).
6. Cost: With $2,000 – $7000 you can get a nice 2 carat quality blue or blue-green sapphire (As far as you are not buying a Kashmir or the finest royal blue from Sri Linka). You would struggle to get a 1 carat color D-F white diamond with such an amount. Almost impossible. Yet, with same amount of money you are getting a sapphire that is 10x rarer and beautiful!
7. Royalty: Sapphires have remained a symbol of royalty for many centuries. It adorned the fashion of kings, queens, princes and princesses such as: King Solomon of the Bible, the Wife of Napoleon, Pope Innocence III, Catherine the great (337ct of sapphire on her crown!), late Princes Diana, Kate Middleton’s 12.5 carat sapphire engagement ring, Princess Eugenie of York’s padparadscha sapphire ring, etc.
8. Faith: For those that belong to the Christian faith, sapphires were mentioned as a stone of importance throughout the Bible, from being the stuff that the gates of heaven is made up of, to a reference on it being laid as a foundation, Isaiah 54:17 “O afflicted one, storm-tossed, and not comforted, Behold, I will set your stones in antimony, And your foundations I will lay in sapphires.”
9. Investment value: Because of the rarity of sapphires, its resell value is almost always higher than its purchase value, (except you bought it at a very wrong price). This is the opposite for diamond – it’s very rare to make any profit reselling it.
10. Colors: Asides blue being the classic and most-sort-after color for sapphires, other colors are gaining grounds! Sapphires come in several colors: Blues, blue-green, green, salmon pink (padparadscha), yellow, orange, white, etc. Diamonds are mostly just white. However, If you find a blue or a pink diamond, be prepared to punch a big hole in your bank account!