White Sapphire vs Diamond - What Sets Them Apart


White Sapphire vs Diamond - What Sets Them Apart

Though it can be difficult to tell them apart initially, there are some significant differences when comparing a white sapphire vs diamond. A visual inspection will show a difference between the brilliance, or white sparkle, and the fire, or colored sparkle. You'll find that a high-quality white sapphire has exceptional brilliance, but not much fire. A diamond, on the other hand, will have both, with the fire becoming immediately apparent with a splash of color in the gem. However, there are many similarities between these gems that are making white sapphire an increasingly popular choice.

White Sapphire vs Diamond - The Similarities

Let's start by looking at what makes these gemstones very similar in appearance and use. White sapphires and diamonds are very similar in terms of color, being colorless and, depending on the quality, can feature very few inclusions. This gives them a similar appearance when cut, though lower-grade white sapphires can have a milkier appearance that enhances its brilliant appearance. This is also why white sapphire has only three tiers of clarity, while diamond has significantly more to cover the range of clarities you'll find in the carbon-based gemstone.

They also have a very similar hardness, with a white sapphire reaching a Mohs hardness of 9 and a diamond a 10. This means that a white sapphire is slightly softer than a diamond and can be scratched by a diamond or moissanite - but only by those stones. By comparison, other white stones tend to be much softer, which will impact their facets. Diamond and white sapphire both have very crisp, sharp facets, while white topaz, quartz, or simulated materials, and they'll last much longer when worn during use, as it will take much harder materials to 

Diamonds and white sapphires have the same weak point as any gemstone, in that they can be brittle when struck with something hard, causing them to chip. Given the high Mohs level of both stones, you're not less likely to chip one over the other, so taking care when doing hard physical work or in locations where a blow could hit the stone could cause damage. Though scratches can be repaired in some cases on white sapphire stones by adding a coating to the surface, this coating can be scratched away, so prudence is important in ensuring that the stone remains in good condition.

If you'd like to add moissanite into the mix, you'll find even more sparkle, but you'll lose the stone's natural origins, as moissanite is a manmade stone. If a genuine, rare stone is your end goal, you'd want to go with a diamond, then white sapphire, then moissanite. However, if some of the origins of diamonds bother you, you can enjoy a beautiful white sapphire while knowing that at a lower cost, it is much less likely to have been used to pay for violent ends.

White Sapphire vs Diamond - What Sets Them Apart

The biggest factor that everyone notices when comparing a white sapphire vs diamond is the cost. This is because for every million diamonds that are mined, only one is able to be polished into a one-carat stone, with the other 999,999 fitting a range of other roles including smaller cut diamonds and industrial use. However, there are many other differences between these stones that should be taken into consideration when you're selecting a stone for your jewelry piece.


Diamonds are a girl's best friend, we heard Carol Channing and Marilyn Monroe sing, or if you prefer, Nicole Kidman in Moulin Rouge. In many cases, that's a solid statement, with diamonds having a solid value that will hold for many years to come. Diamonds have a large price tag that will hold its value for many years to come, making it a good investment against hardship in the future. However, that value can be one of their drawbacks as well, as they are small, of high value, and can be quickly traded for other items, making them a target for theft and unethical practices.

As a classical sign of love and devotion, nothing can top a diamond. With its use in jewelry dating back to the crown of a Hungarian queen in 1074 CE, with the first diamond engagement ring that is known dating from four centuries later when Archduke Maximilian of Austria presented Mary of Burgundy with her betrothal ring in 1477, placing him above the other eight suitors for her hand (well, the diamond and the politics of the day). Since that point, the diamond has been one of the top choices for engagement rings, especially since mainstream mining began in Africa in the 1800s. 

Speaking of love and devotion, let's talk chemistry. Diamonds are formed by a rare crystalline matrix of carbon under extreme pressure, while corundum, which forms white sapphires, is a crystalline form of aluminum oxide, with both stones taking color from other compounds in the matrix in the form of sapphires, rubies, blue diamonds, yellow diamonds, and similar varieties of color. Carbon, aluminum, and oxygen are all very common, but it's the way that these stones are put under pressure during the geological process that makes them stand apart from coal, clay, or plants. 

Diamonds can have inclusions, as can white sapphires, but in some cases, the inclusions can be removed by drilling them out, often using a tiny laser to reduce the bore size as much as possible. However, drilling can also impact clarity, as the drill hole will leave a trail that does not refract light the same way that the rest of the diamond will, much like a bubble in water. Though diamonds can be treated to improve clarity, very few are, mainly due to the high pressure and temperatures that the stone is subjected to in creation. In some situations, a coating can be added to improve color, such as adding a blue coating to a yellow diamond to make it appear more white.

However, as our world has grown larger, the role of the diamond trade in paying for violent wars, slavery, and other ethical concerns cannot be ignored. Though it is possible to gain a lab-grown stone, that often doesn't have the same special feeling as a rare diamond. It is possible to find and purchase conflict-free diamonds, but that process, which allows you to trace the diamond all the way back to the mine, can also increase the cost of the diamond. But when nothing but a diamond will do, there are options to make sure that your diamond was not part of those kinds of unethical issues. That being said, the high cost of a diamond also means that it will have a high replacement cost if the diamond is lost, damaged, or chipped.

If you want a stone that fits a colorful aesthetic, a diamond, with its fiery heart, may be an excellent option to consider. When paired with a shiny or intentionally textured surface on a piece of jewelry, a diamond's sparkle will pop out from the dark, giving it more presence and light than a white sapphire, but at a much higher cost. But if you prefer a more suave and sedate brilliance to your stone, providing a more elegant and refined piece of jewelry, you may want to choose a white sapphire or other white stone.

White Sapphires

Though white sapphires don't have the same fandom and je ne sais quai as diamonds, they're still a beautiful and relatively rare stone, especially white sapphires of good quality. This can make a white sapphire more unique than a diamond in certain settings, especially when it's used in jewelry that has been more traditionally dominated by diamonds, such as ear studs, engagement rings, and tennis bracelets. By avoiding the flash and multicolored fire of a diamond, a properly-cut white sapphire has a beautiful white sparkle that manages to be elegant and subdued while putting out an amazing amount of brilliance from the heart of the stone.

A diamond may be a classical symbol of love, but it's also one that is very traditional and, in some opinions, may be overdone. If you want a stone that will stand apart from every other diamond, a white sapphire creates a unique look that will stand alone, with a purity in its light that is second to none. By having its own cool brilliance without the multicolored fire of a diamond, you'll have a beautiful, elegant piece that will definitely draw attention without being overstated and flashy.

As with diamonds, white sapphires are clear stones, but they're a different type of stone. A white sapphire is a corundum, where the red variants are rubies, and all other colors are considered to be sapphires, which is why you will only see red rubies, but you may run across not only white, but blue, green, pink, and yellow sapphires in less traditional jewelry stores. White sapphire can come in very clear, high-quality stones, but it's not uncommon to have a little bit of a milky tone to them, which can increase their appeal to individuals with a passion for moonstone, opal, and other translucent gems. 

Sapphires may be heat treated to improve clarity, which is a common practice in the industry that leaves permanent changes. This heating doesn't damage the stone but simply provides an improvement to some of the inclusions and the overall clarity of the stone. Overly-fractured stones should be avoided, as this only showcases a lack of strength in the stone's structure and matrix, and may include leaded glass in the fractures to try to improve the clarity of an inferior stone. 

White sapphires are also significantly less expensive than diamonds, which means not only can you save some money, but you can also avoid some of the ethical concerns. The lower value means that a white sapphire is less likely to have been used in unethical trades, and if it's accidentally lost, damaged, or chipped, it would be much less expensive to replace. Because it's much easier to buy larger numbers of white sapphires at a time, it's easier to trace them back to the mines they originated from, but for either white sapphires or diamonds, a reputable jeweler is able to manage this process for you.

If you prefer a satin-finished platinum ring that stays a bit low-key while still showing plenty of beauty and brilliance, a white sapphire is an exceptional choice. It provides a brilliant appearance while reflecting only white light instead of refracting light into a rainbow of colors the way a diamond will, and its lower refractive index can give a white sapphire a richer, deeper appearance than a diamond, making it an amazing option when paired with white metals such as silver, platinum, or white gold. 

Whichever stone you choose, you'll still gain a long-lasting, high-quality gemstone that will provide you with a beautiful look for many years to come. It's very easy to end up with a cheap diamond that you don't like at the same price as a truly stunning, top-quality white sapphire, so don't feel that you must go with one over the other as you shop. In many cases, you'll find that a white sapphire will provide you with an amazing piece of jewelry that would not work with a diamond.

In the debate of white sapphire vs diamond, what matters in the end is your personal preferences, lifestyle, and style choices, and Philophrosyne has a wide selection that you'll adore. Contact us today with any questions or concerns, and you'll soon find the perfect white stone for your next jewelry piece.

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