If you’re the type of bride looking to break tradition with your engagement ring, a sapphire engagement ring is a stunning way to do so. Popularized by Princess Diana in 1981, and now Kate Middleton (who wears the late princess's engagement ring), sapphires are a regal choice for jewelry.
What Is Sapphire?
Sapphire is a versatile gemstone belonging to the corundum family of minerals. Sapphire is also the September birthstone and was once believed to have spiritual qualities.
"Unlike diamonds, which are known for their fire and brilliance, sapphires are known for their variety of colors," explains Kate Earlam-Charnley, design director at Taylor & Hart. "Sapphires are often bought not because they are more affordable than diamonds, but because of their outstanding colors...from rich indigo blue to ocean spray blue, from white (colorless) to orange, champagne, and even green."
Ahead, learn about the pros and cons of sapphire engagement rings, how to care for sapphire, and more.
Pros and Cons of Sapphire Engagement Rings
"A sapphire is the perfect balance of classical beauty and contemporary expression, allowing you to choose one that reflects you or your partner’s personality," says Earlam-Charnley of choosing this gemstone for an engagement ring. Another plus? Sapphires come in a variety of colors (not just blue!) such as purple, pink, yellow, green, orange, brown, black, and even white— although Kashmir and Ceylon blue are the most sought-after.
However, some of the lesser-known sapphire colors are incredibly rare. Earlam-Charnley says, "The rarest type of fancy sapphire is the Padparadscha, a delicate balance of orange and pink. The variety and range of color ensure that each gemstone has subtle differences."
The cost of a sapphire engagement ring can vary greatly as well as it is dependent on carat weight and quality. Typically, sapphires cost slightly less than diamonds and can range from about $500 to $2,000 per carat, but Earlam-Charnley admits, "the sky’s the limit."
What to Look For in a Sapphire Engagement Ring
Considering a sapphire for your engagement ring? Here are a few questions and answers you should know before you look for the perfect stone.
- What is the most important factor of sapphires? Earlam-Charnley explains, "While all sapphire engagement rings are graded by foundational factors such as cut, clarity, color, and carat, a sapphire’s quality is primarily determined through its color and shape." Whether or not a sapphire is heated is also hugely important and has a great deal of impact on pricing. Unheated sapphires, for example, can cost more than double the price of a similarly heated sapphire.
- What stone cut works best with sapphires? Although sapphires can look beautiful cut in any way, the oval cut shows off a sapphire's vibrant color best. She explains, "Oval cuts allow the most light to travel through the gemstone, enhancing its color and making sure the sapphire does not appear flat."
- What settings and metals work best with sapphires? "Sapphires look stunning in both contemporary and traditional ring settings," says Earlam-Charnely. "Given their diversity of colors, sapphires look wonderful against white metals like platinum and white gold, and depending on the shade of stone you select they can look lovely against the warm hues of yellow and rose gold."
- How durable are sapphires? Sapphires are actually quite hard and score 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. "Second only to diamonds," Earlam-Charnley points out. This means that sapphires are suitable for everyday wear. "A sapphire should last a lifetime and can be passed down for generations."
- Where should I source my sapphire from? Per Earlam-Charnley, some of the best sapphire stones are from Kashmir, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka, adding, "source of origin is usually a factor in price." Commercial-quality sapphires typically come from Thailand.
How to Care for a Sapphire Engagement Ring
"While diamonds and precious metals are not easily damaged, they do need frequent care," cautions Earlam-Charnley. "Pick up your ring from the band, not the center stone. This keeps your setting from becoming loose. And avoid touching the stone, you’ll protect it from the build-up that comes from our skin’s natural oils."
Wearers should store their sapphire jewelry separate from other pieces and always remove their ring when participating in physical activity or coming in contact with household cleaners.
As for cleaning a sapphire engagement ring, Earlam-Charnley also recommends doing so at home monthly and professionally annually. She says, " With a small drop of washing up liquid, gently scrub your ring with a soft clean toothbrush. Rinse your ring under warm water and gently scrub again to remove any soap residue. Dry with a microfibre cloth."
Think a sapphire engagement ring is right for you? To help, we've researched the best options available. If you want something sweet and dainty, we recommend the Laurie Fleming Cyndra Ring and the Barbela Sapphire Stellan Ring. For the bold bride-to-be, we love the Kenneth Jay Lane Double Blue Sapphire Cushion Ring and the Kwiat Vintage Collection Small Argyle Ring.
Read on for the best sapphire engagement rings.
Trumpet & Hor Braswell Ring
This Victorian-inspired sapphire and diamond engagement ring is guaranteed to make any bride gasp. The midnight blue sapphire is surrounded by round brilliant-cut diamonds that dazzle upon inspection. As part of Trumpet & Horn's vintage-inspired line, each ring is one-of-a-kind and made to order.
Price at time of publish: $6,100
Brilliant Earth Sapphire Valencia Diamond Ring
This customizable sapphire diamond ring can be admired from every angle. Choose from a round, cushion, oval, or emerald-cut shape and then specify the dimensions of your center stone. A gallery of micro-pavé diamonds will have you feeling like a million bucks.
Price at time of publish: $3,640
Anna Sheffield Bea Three Stone Ring
Emerald-cut classics like this won't fall in and out of style. Equal parts timeless and sophisticated, a blue sapphire center is surrounded by trillion white diamonds on both sides. You can choose between 14K recycled rose, yellow, or white gold.
Price at time of publish: $8,500
Barbela Sapphire Stellan Ring
An understated, but no less glam-worthy, sapphire ring to pique your interest. A 14K yellow gold band is accompanied by a sapphire stone and two diamonds for a look of pure elegance.
Price at time of publish: $600
Laurie Fleming Cyndra Ring
An engagement ring with celestial appeal? Right this way! A solid 14K gold tapered band is set with a combination of glistening blue-green Australian and Madagascan sapphires.
Price at time of publish: $1,325
Diamondère Henrietta Ring
Less can definitely be more sometimes. In a sea of glitzy sparklers, there's something to be said about a minimal design that emphasizes a center stone. Here, a round sapphire serves as the focal point while a single diamond accent stone strikes an interesting juxtaposition.
Price at time of publish: $1,493
Jennie Kwon Ceylon Sapphire Dew Equilibrium Ring
For the princess (bride) in training, we recommend this insanely gorgeous sapphire ring. All eyes will be on the oval Ceylon sapphire and side-by-side flanking diamonds. Milgrain detailing on the band lends a vintage twist.
Price at time of publish: $1,147
ILA Solana in Blue Sapphires
This dainty, yet exquisite ring contains Art Deco-era influences. An emerald-cut blue sapphire is flanked by rose-cut diamonds on both sides, while the band is constructed from 14K sustainable gold.
Price at time of publish: $1,360
Sofia Zakia Clara's Dream Ring
Meet the fairytale-esque sapphire ring of your dreams. With inspiration stemming from The Nutcracker, this otherworldly piece is as fantastical as it gets. A midnight blue sapphire is flanked by cultured pearls and diamonds on a solid gold band.
Price at time of publish: $1,380
Helzberg Diamonds Shades of Love Sapphire and Diamond Ring
Take after Princess Diana with this oval sapphire engagement ring that's simply elegant. If you want to feel like royalty, then the 28 round brilliant-cut diamonds (not to mention the two baguette-cut diamonds flanking the sides) will surely win you over.
Price at time of publish: $1,649
Wwake Organic Triangle Ring
It was written in the stars: This organic triangle ring from Wwake is destined for artful brides. Pale sapphires combine with a brilliant tiny diamond for a look of enchantment.
Price at time of publish: $965
Nora Kogan Blue Velvet Ring
Sometimes a pared-down engagement ring with a minimalist setting is all the heart desires. An understated 14K yellow gold band is elevated by a deep blue emerald-cut sapphire sourced from Sri Lanka.
Price at time of publish: $1,950
Kwiat Vintage Collection Small Argyle Ring
Go big or go home with a girly pink sapphire that speaks to your inner femininity. As part of the Kwiat Vintage collection, this ring is meant to evoke the heirloom designs of a bygone era. Bound by diamonds and set in 18K white gold, this extravagant statement piece will give you something to remember.
Price at time of publish: Must inquire for price
David Yurman Capri Engagement Ring in Platinum with Blue Sapphire
It's David Yurman signature classics like this one (backed by quality craftsmanship and impeccable design) that require no introduction. A mesmerizing blue sapphire stone is surrounded by hand-set pavé diamonds that sparkle like the deep blue sea.
Price at time of publish: Must inquire for price
Jemma Wynne Prive Diamond Pear and Blue Sapphire Open Ring
If you want something other than a classic solitaire, dare to be different with a one-off design. This 18K yellow gold ring consists of a diamond pear and blue sapphire. The open design makes it easy to stack and wear 24/7.
Price at time of publish: $8,190
Bario Neal Custom Pear Cut Montana Sapphire Lash Ring
There are few cuts more captivating than an exquisite pear cut. Paired with a 14K rose gold and polish finish, this Cinderella-esque Montana sapphire is here to make all your dreams come true.
Price at time of publish: $2,842
Kian Design Three Stones Oval Pink Sapphire and Diamond Ring
Don't let anyone ever dull your sparkle. We've fallen head over heels for this gorgeous 18K gold ring featuring an oval pink sapphire and white diamonds. Designed in an Art Deco style, this heirloom-inspired piece is a perennial classic.
Price at time of publish: $9,680
Kenneth Jay Lane Double Blue Sapphire Cushion Ring
Why settle for one sapphire when you can get two? Set in rhodium-plated brass, this double sapphire cushion CZ ring is ready for its closeup.
Price at time of publish: $125
Jennie Kwon Green Sapphire Arch Ring
This muted green sapphire is a refreshing departure from the classic blue gemstone we all know and love. The stone itself is crowned by an arch of diamonds that glistens in all the right ways. You can snag this exceptional ring in 14K yellow, rose, or white gold.
Price at time of publish: $995
Danhov Classico Unique Handmade Engagement Ring
A sapphire ring to satisfy any bride. Available in platinum, 18K gold, and 14K gold, this cushion-cut solitaire ring commands attention with approximately 20 stones adorning the sides of the band.
Price at time of publish: $2,940
Erica Courtney Emani Orange Sapphire Ring
This orange sapphire 18K gold ring is fire. As if the tangy hue wasn't enough of a statement, the center stone is flanked by surrounding 0.58ctw diamonds for a hint of glamour.
Price at time of publish: Must inquire for price
Grace Lee Demi Demi Plus 8 Blue Sapphire
This 14K domed gold ring is for the ethereal bride with a penchant for beautiful things. A pear-shaped blue sapphire and seven diagonal-positioned diamonds adds old-world charm to a simple 5mm band (you can choose between 14K yellow, white, or rose gold).
Price at time of publish: $2,880
Meet the Expert
Kate Earlam-Charnley is the design director at Taylor & Hart, a custom engagement ring and wedding band jeweler.
Why Trust Brides
Maggie Kreienberg joined the Brides team in June 2019 as a digital producer and social media assistant, reporting on wedding-related celebrity news, fashion trends, and real weddings. In October 2020, Maggie became an associate editor for Brides where she regularly edited and published content on fashion, wedding décor, travel, relationships, and more. She is currently an editor.