When England’s dashing young Prince William became engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Kate Middleton, he opted to seal the deal with a sapphire engagement ring rather than the more common diamond engagement ring, instigating a greater interest in sapphire engagement rings. The choice was a sentimental one for him, as the ring was the same that his father, Prince Charles, had presented to his mother Diana upon their engagement.
Color and the Sapphire Engagement Ring
While most will envision a brilliant dark blue stone when thinking of a sapphire, a sapphire can be many colors. A sapphire gemstone is a form of the mineral corundum, which is a type of aluminum oxide. When the corundum is red, it is called ruby, but all other shades of corundum are called sapphires.
Sapphire is a 9 on the mohs scale, which measures gem hardness. In comparison, diamond, the hardest gem, is a 10, while amber is 2. The sapphire’s high ranking in hardness means it will not scratch or break as easily as softer gems, which makes it good choice for an engagement ring, which a woman may wear all day, every day for the rest of her life.
Engagement Ring History
In western cultures it is traditional for a man to present a woman with a ring upon becoming engaged, as a sign of their promise to wed one another. The practice has a long history, and was common in ancient Rome, but did not come into use again until around the 13th century and did not become common practice in the west until the 1800s.
Sapphire Engagement Ring Settings
While diamond engagement rings are by far the norm, more and more couples are opting for colorful gem stones in their engagement rings, including beautiful sapphire stones. Some opt for a large sapphire stone in the center of the ring setting with smaller diamonds surrounding it or to the sides, while others go with the traditional diamond in the center but accent it with sapphire baguettes or small round sapphires.
Sapphire Gemstone Cuts
The sapphire can be cut in a variety of shapes, and it is really up to the couple to choose which they like best. While the oval cut is perhaps the most common for sapphires, these stones can also be cut in other shapes, such as round, pear, marquise, square, cushion and princess.
Sapphire Engagement Ring Metals
Again, the type of metal used with sapphire jewelry is a matter of choice. Many find diamonds, blue sapphires and a white metal like platinum or white gold to be a striking combination, while others find it cold and prefer the warmth of yellow gold. Both can make for a lovely engagement ring that will be cherished for a lifetime.