Sapphires are some of the most beautiful gemstones out there and they’re becoming more and more popular as alternative gems for engagement rings. Why have a diamond when you can have a sapphire ? You might be wondering whether sapphires sparkle, especially white sapphires, if they get cloudy, and how you can make that sapphire pop even more.
Do sapphires sparkle ?
Yes, sapphires do sparkle a little but they will pale in comparison to a diamond, moissanite, and even cubic zirconia. The reason sapphires, even white ones, sparkle so much less is because their cut quality and clarity aren’t as high as the previously mentioned gemstones. Sapphires have a slightly hazy look to them, even the eye-clean ones, and they aren’t as well cut as a diamond.
A hazy gemstone will not permit light to travel unobstructed through it, and this means it won’t return as much light and it won’t have as clearly defined as a perfectly clear gem.
A poor or less than perfect cut means the facets are misaligned, the pavilion is too deep or too shallow, and overall the gemstone will not return as much light as it could.
Sapphires also have a lower refraction index (1.77) which is important when it comes to the rainbow sparkle (fire). Most of the light return from a sapphire (of any body color) is white.
Overall you’ll notice that sapphires do sparkle a bit, they are not dull. But they are not as sparkly as you would maybe expect. If you want a diamond alternative that also sparkles, try moissanite. And if you’re looking for a sapphire that is colored but also sparkles like a diamond, try colored moissanite as it has the clarity, sparkle, and color you may be looking for.
Can you tell white sapphire from diamond ?
Yes, you can easily tell a white sapphire from a diamond because a sapphire will be far less impressive when next to a diamond, in terms of sparkle, clarity, and cut quality. It will also look a little bit hazy or milky, depending on the clarity.
Sapphires are also softer than diamonds. They score a 9 out of 10 on the Mohs scale, while diamonds score a 10 out of 10 on hat same scale, meaning a diamond can harm a sapphire but a sapphire cannot harm a diamond.
Does this mean white sapphires are bad ? Not at all ! If you’re looking for an alternative diamond ring then white sapphire is a great option and quite affordable. Just don’t expect it to perform the same as a diamond.
Do white sapphires get cloudy ?
White sapphires can get cloudy due to tiny scratches, but this happens over the course of a decade or longer. If and when your sapphire gets cloudy, a simple re-polish should do the trick. Always make sure to clean your sapphire jewelry with a very soft toothbrush and warm soapy water to ensure the cloudiness isn’t from accumulated dirt and oils.
Keep in mind that sapphires are a little bit hazy to begin with, be they white, purple, blue, or other colors. A sapphire, even in its highest clarity, will still be a tiny bit foggy inside when compared to truly clear gems like diamond, moissanite, or cubic zirconia. This is because sapphires are in fact a form of corundum with trace amounts of other elements, that give them their color. And corundum often has very fine silk-like inclusions made up of rutile.
Those rutile inclusions appear as white, smoky patches and they are incredibly common in corundum but are usually removed via heat treatment. But a heat treatment turns a sapphire from translucent light blue to that deep cornflower blue you know and love. This doesn’t happen for white sapphires, otherwise their color would change.
So, white sapphires will only be as clear as they come out of the earth, which means some cloudiness is to be expected. Some people appreciate white sapphires for their soft glow, and in some cases a soft white sapphire could be confused with a high0quality faceted moonstone until you take a closer look.
How to make your sapphire sparkle
Alight, you’ve got your heart set on white sapphire, now what can you do to make it sparkle more ? or make it stand out more from the crowd. We’ll discuss how to make your actual sapphire look better if you already have it, what kind of sapphire to look for if you don’t already have it, and what you can tweak in terms of setting and accents.
Always make sure the sapphire is clean
The first and most important point is to make sure your sapphire is always clean, or as clean as you can get it without washing it every day. With daily wear your sapphire will get a bit grimy and will need a cleaning every few weeks. It takes less than a minute and the results are amazing, but it’s never the first thing you want to do as you wake up.
Get the softest toothbrush you can find, and prepare warm soapy water. Dip the ring in the water, and very gently scrub the ring and the gem, making sure to get into any difficult spots with the bristles. You’ll likely be able to get most of the ring clean and the effect will be immediate. Pat the ring dry, and you’re good to go.
To avoid having to do this too often, take your sapphire ring off when cleaning, cooking, showering, getting into the pool, applying lotion or body oil, or doing anything that may leave a layer or grime or dirt on your ring.
Choose a high setting with plenty of light (prongs)
A high setting simply means one that isn’t a low profile or nestled too deep into the ring shank. A high profile setting for your white sapphire (or any sapphire, really) will give it plenty of light, especially if it’s a prong setting. We recommend getting a 6 prong setting vs a 4 prong one, simply for added security. The more light the sapphire receives, the better it will look since these gems are not the sparkliest.
Go for a high clarity sapphire, even if it’s lab-grown
Clarity is very important in sapphires, regardless of their color. Their best clarity grade is eye-clean, meaning you won’t notice anything within the gem when looking without a magnifying glass. There are inclusions, but they are so small and fine you won’t see them without a lot of zoom.
Lab-grown sapphires tend to have better clarity than natural ones but even so, be sure to get the highest possible clarity for your sapphire because that impacts the light performance.
Get a perfect cut on your sapphire for the best light performance
And finally, make sure your sapphire has a perfect cut. Meaning there should be no windowing, the facets should be perfectly aligned, ad the gem isn’t cut too deep or too shallow. We find that not all cut styles suit gems that aren’t diamonds, especially gems that tend to be a bit cloudy.
Step-cuts allow the most light into the gemstone and focus their individual color. This is also why a diamond in a step-cut will show color more than a brilliant cut. But what if your sapphire is too dark, or you just want it to look brighter and whiter ? Then a brilliant cut is good, but we recommend going for a Portuguese cut, or elongated cushions and radiants.
Round and princess cuts are often too deep and make the sapphire too dark, while ovals, pears, and marquise have bow ties and points that might make the sapphire look darker than it really is.
I’m the main author for shinyfacts.com. I started this site after we did tons of research before our wedding and noticed that there is information about rings, jewelry, and so on that is really hard to find on the internet.