Sapphire Engagement Ring Buyers Guide

Sapphire Engagement RingsOne of the most famous engagement rings in the world is a sapphire. You’re probably picturing the engagement ring originally given to Princess Diana and now worn by Catherine, Princess of Wales. It sparked a love affair with sapphire engagement rings that is still going strong today. Vintage sapphire engagement rings are royally approved and not just by the British royal family.

A sapphire engagement ring can be the ‘something blue’ for your special day. Sapphires are considered one of the ‘big four’ gemstones and make an ideal alternative to a traditional diamond ring. They have a 9 on the Mohs scale, making them a tough and durable gemstone you can pass on to the next generation.

We’re sharing our in-depth buyer’s guide to choosing the right sapphire engagement ring to help you pop the question.

The Symbolism of Sapphires

four sapphire ringsThe word Sapphire comes from ‘sappheiros’, the Greek word for blue, and reflects the history behind this gemstone. It’s the September birthstone and has been long associated with nobility and nobility, including in ancient history.

The Greeks and Egyptians considered sapphires as symbolic of faithfulness and truth. Giving someone a blue sapphire was considered a promise. The Persians believed the Earth sat on a sapphire, giving the sky its blue colour. It’s a piece of history that makes sapphire engagement rings even more special.

Rulers throughout history chose to wear sapphire rings, and during the Middle Ages, church leaders wore blue sapphires to symbolise the vow they had made to their faith. During this time, blue sapphires became associated with celestial beings.

One of the most famous sapphires is the St Edward’s sapphire, belonging to Edward the Confessor, which not sits in the Imperial State Crown beside the Stuart Sapphire, a stunning 104-carat blue sapphire.

Where Do Sapphires Come From?

sapphire and diamond cluster ringSapphires were originally mined in Ceylon, modern-day Sri Lanka, from as early as 500 BC. These sapphires feature in ancient texts, from the Old Testament to the writings of Marco Polo in 1292 when he visited Sri Lanka.

Some of the rarest sapphires come from Kashmir and have a velvet colour, with a clarity that reminds you of silk. They were first discovered in 1881 in the Himalayan mountains with only a small number collected. Sapphires of Kashmir origin, verified by a professional or with a GIA certificate, can fetch a premium on the luxury jewellery market.

Burma is also famous for its sapphires, which typically are darker in colour with a cleaner clarity. These sapphires also come at a premium, as Burma is associated with producing some of the best sapphires and rubies in the world.

Natural sapphires also have been produced in Australia, Cambodia, Madagascar, Thailand, and Tanzania. As sustainability and environmentalism have become a concern, jewellers are increasingly choosing to use synthetic sapphires instead of mining for new, natural gems.

Not Every Sapphire Is Blue

yellow sapphire ring

It’s a common misconception that all sapphires are blue. While you’ll a rainbow of blue sapphires, from royal blue to sky hues, it’s not the only colour that sapphires come in. Sapphires can be formed in any colour, though red sapphires are known as rubies. Most jewellers refer to non-blue sapphires as being ‘fancy sapphires’.

How Much Does a Sapphire Engagement Ring Cost?

two sapphire rings and one ruby ringSapphires are a more affordable alternative to diamonds, a fact that shocks most couples when they’re shopping for engagement rings. You’ll typically pay significantly less for a sapphire that’s a similar size to a comparable diamond. You can expect to pay more for a larger sapphire, especially if it’s set alongside diamonds or other gemstones.

Antique and vintage sapphire engagement rings come at some of the most accessible price points and have high-quality craftsmanship that most modern rings lack. Most antique sapphires are natural gemstones, unlike the synthetic stones that flooded the jewellery market in the early 1900s.

Vintage sapphires were hand-cut and set, making them more durable than synthetic sapphires, which can become brittle over time. These lab-grown sapphires are mass-produced, lacking the unique personality you get from a one-of-a-kind natural gemstone.

How to Choose a Sapphire Engagement Ring Stone

a tray of different sapphire engagement ring stylesThere are a few things you want to consider when choosing a sapphire engagement ring that will determine the price and look of your ring. The classic four Cs’ of gemstone grading are also applicable to sapphires, but there are some specific features to look out for when shopping for an antique or vintage engagement ring.

1. Colour

Colour is what will make your sapphire stand out. A blue sapphire can have a pure, royal blue look or be more violet in its colour. Green hues can sometimes come through on blue sapphires, but most that make it to the market have a medium or dark blue tone with a saturation that doesn’t compromise the stone’s brilliance and ability to sparkle.

A pink sapphire engagement ring is the perfect alternative to the traditional blue option if you want a more unique or feminine look. Pink sapphires are considered rare compared to their blue counterparts.

2. Clarity

It’s not unusual for sapphires to have visible inclusions when liquids and gasses become trapped inside the stone. However, these inclusions will rarely impact the sapphire’s value unless they distract from its overall look. Certain inclusions can create a ‘star stone’ effect in the sapphire, which is considered rare.


You want to consider the proportions of your sapphire. Stones that are too thin, thick, or long can look misshaped. Sapphires with a longer or thinner silhouette can become more fragile over time. You should choose a sapphire with a distinct shape that brings out the brilliance of the stone.

Buy an Antique or Vintage Sapphire Engagement Ring

We stock a range of antique and vintage sapphire engagement rings at Ellibelle Jewellery. Each ring is hand-selected to ensure its quality and professionally verified to give you added peace of mind. Fall in love with our sapphire engagement rings, or explore other vintage gemstone rings to get inspired for your big proposal.