Sapphire vs Diamond: What to Know Before Choosing

Mariana is a writer living in Waterloo, Ontario. She loves using jewelry to add the perfect…

Shopping for jewelry can be an overwhelming task. With so many stones in the market nowadays, deciding what to pick can be stressful. Should you get a sapphire vs diamond ring?

Sapphires and diamonds are both great options for jewelry, especially if it is something you plan to wear every day. Both precious stones are durable and hardly get damaged with daily wear. However, both gems have their differences. Let’s get into these differences and similarities so you can pick the perfect one for you.

Sapphire vs Diamond: Side by Side

Before going into the specifics of each gemstone, here is a quick comparison of the two:

OriginSedimentary rocksRare earth mineral
Durability9 on the Mohs Scale10 on the Mohs Scale
ColorMay vary, but original was violet blueMay vary
BrillianceLess brilliant than diamondLow refraction
WeightAbout 14% heavier than diamond200 mg per carat
PriceDepends on karat, cut, color, and clarityDepends on karat, cut, color, and clarity

What is the difference between sapphire and diamond?

When thinking about sapphires, the blue gemstone might be the first thing that pops into your head. As for diamonds, you might think of a dazzling clear or white gemstone. However, both precious stones come in a variety of colors. Although similar in that sense, diamonds and sapphires have striking differences.

sapphire and diamond engagement ring


While the diamond is made of pure carbon, rarely having any impurities, sapphire has its beautiful and classic coloring because of impurities.

Sapphires are made of corundum, an aluminum oxide found in igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary rocks. The stone’s coloring depends on the level of impurity present in the corundum, giving way to producing sapphires or rubies. 

Sapphires may contain iron, titanium, chromium, or magnesium traces. However, they can also be produced in laboratories. In 1902, Auguste Verneuil developed the process to make synthetic sapphire more affordable.

Diamonds are created by heating and pressurizing carbon particles deep within the earth. The crystallization of the carbon particles occurs during the process, creating the coveted gemstones. 

In 1797, it was discovered that diamonds were made of pure carbon. Afterward, many tried to create a synthetic version to make it more affordable. However, it was only in 1879 that James Ballantyne Hannay successfully created synthetic diamonds.

white diamond


Both the diamond and the sapphire have been very prominent in history. While the diamond is the epitome of the classic, the sapphire has become a symbol of royal love. Both are sure to dazzle anyone who gets to take a look at them.

💡 Did You Know? The first sapphire was of a violet-blue shade and came from the Kashmir region of India between the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Additionally, Australia was one of the places with the largest stone deposits. However, that changed when new deposits were found in Madagascar in the 90s. The blue gemstone became a symbol of royal love in 1981 when Prince Charles gave Lady Diana a 12-carat blue sapphire engagement ring.

Diamonds are the most classic stone out there. Rarely will someone not know what a diamond looks like! The dazzling stone has been in the market for many years, and its purity is one of the main selling points. There is evidence of the use of diamonds for engagement rings in ancient history by the Romans.


When measuring the durability of a stone, people often use the Mohs Scale. This scale measures the hardness of a stone on a scale of 1 to 10. The higher the score, the harder the stone and the more difficult it is to damage it. 

Diamonds sit at a 10 on the scale since they are the most durable stone. However, sapphires are not far behind, sitting at a 9 on the scale. These stones are very durable and great options for an engagement ring.


For most natural gemstones to have coloring, they need to contain some impurities. While the most common diamond coloring is the clear or white diamond, there are other colors. However, these colors are very rare — and thus pricey — if you are looking for naturally grown diamonds, making them very pricey. 

💡 Did You Know? There are yellow, pink, and even red diamonds. With lab-grown diamonds, there is an even wider possibility of colors at a more affordable price.

Sapphire comes in a variety of colors, including white, clear, blue, green, yellow, orange, pink, brown, purple, gray, black, and multicolored. Some of the most valuable sapphires are the cornflower blue from the Kashmir region of India, the orange-pink Padparadscha sapphire, and color-changing sapphires.


A stone’s brilliance is defined by how much light is refracted when it hits the stone. Diamonds have a high refraction and dispersion rate. When light hits the precious stone, white prisms will make it sparkle. On the other hand, white sapphires will spark a more muted white-gray tone when hit by light.  

Additionally, a diamond has a higher refractive index, meaning that it continues to sparkle even as it gets dirty with daily wear. In contrast, a sapphire will need more routine cleaning to continue to sparkle with daily wear.


Gemstones are usually measured in carats. A carat of a diamond is 200 mg, but a carat of sapphire is slightly heavier because the sapphire weighs 14% more than diamonds. However, the sapphire will still be more affordable than a diamond of the same size. 


Both gemstones come in a wide range of prices depending on the size, shape, cut, color, quality, and much more. Usually, one carat of sapphire will cost less than a diamond because the diamond is much more durable and harder to find. 

blue sapphire

The most expensive sapphire is blue, which is also the most popular one. Usually, the more brilliant stones are the most expensive.

Sapphire vs Diamond: Which Should You Choose?

Choosing which precious stone is the best can be difficult. If you want a white or clear stone, a diamond is better. The brilliance of the white sapphire is not even close to the diamond. 

Since diamonds can be expensive, lab-grown diamonds are a great option if you want something clear and sparkly.

But if you want something reminiscent of royalty in a blue shade, sapphires are the way to go. While there are colored diamonds on the market, their coloring is not as deep as the sapphires. Additionally, the durable stone is a great option if you want something that adds a touch of color to a classic piece of jewelry.

Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about sapphires and diamonds might lead to more questions. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions to help you.

Can you tell the difference between diamond and sapphire?

Diamonds and sapphires’ biggest difference is the coloring. The classic diamond is usually white or clear, while the classic sapphire is blue. However, comparing diamonds and sapphires of the same color is trickier. 

The diamond is much more durable and sparkles even with the dirt that will build up during daily wear. The white sapphire refracts a grey spark, which is not as beautiful as the prismatic sparkle that the diamond emits.

If you want to get even more technical when trying to detect this, a diamond tester is a great tool to use. This tool will test the conductivity of a stone. Since the diamond has higher conductivity than the sapphire, you should easily get your question answered.

Is sapphire worth buying?

Yes, sapphires are one of the most valuable and rarest blue gemstones. This precious stone is a great investment because of its beautiful colors, hardness, durability, and luster. Although sapphires are not as luxurious as diamonds, they are still beautiful stones, especially in their classic royal blue coloring.

How can I tell if my sapphire is real?

When trying to identify a real sapphire, you will need total darkness. Using a flashlight in the direction of the sapphire, the light emitted through the stone should be of the same color as the stone itself. If the sapphire is fake, meaning it is made of glass, you will see other colors refracted upon shining the flashlight.

Is sapphire better than diamond?

In short, no. Diamonds are the most durable and most sought-after precious stones. Additionally, its durability of 10 on the Mohs scale is very important if you plan on wearing the piece of jewelry every single day. 

However, the sapphire is also a beautiful stone. While it is not as durable as the diamond, it comes in various beautiful colors that make it just as special as the diamond.

Why is sapphire so expensive?

Much like diamonds, a sapphire’s worth is measured by its karat, cut, color, and clarity. The higher a sapphire ranks in all four categories, the more expensive it will be. This means that the more brilliant and purer the color of sapphire the most expensive it will be. Additionally, a natural sapphire will be more expensive than its synthetic counterpart. 

The classic royal blue sapphires are the most sought after. This coloring of sapphire is also one of the most expensive because of the large sizes. The great thing about the sapphire is that it comes in a myriad of colors and price ranges to fit into your budget.  

Is sapphire a precious stone?

Like diamonds, rubies, and emeralds, sapphires are considered precious stones. This definition is made because the four stones are the most sought after. However, some semi-precious stones are more expensive than some precious stones. For instance, the pearl can be worth more than a low-quality precious stone. 

Can sapphire go in water?

An easy way to figure out if any stone can go in the water is by looking into where it stands in the Mohs scale. If the stone is a five or below on the scale, it should not be put in water. This is because the stone is very delicate and can get damaged by the water. However, anything six and above can go in the water.

Will sapphire pass diamond tester?

No, a sapphire will not pass the diamond tester. This tester is a pen that measures a stone’s thermal conductivity. 

The tester uses a small metal point that touches the gem’s surface, measuring how quickly heat travels through it. Diamonds have a higher conductivity than sapphires. A sapphire will not have high enough thermal conductivity to pass the test.

What are sapphires good for?

Besides the use in jewelry, the traditionally blue gemstone is also used in various other ways. Since it is quite durable, the sapphire is used to create watch crystals for watches. Additionally, it can be used to create scientific instruments, electronic wafers, and high-durability windows.

Choosing Between Two Classics

The diamond and sapphire are great precious stone options to adorn an engagement ring. Both stones are very durable, withstand daily wear, and look beautiful.

If you prefer a colored stone, sapphire is your best option. The corundum-derived stone comes in beautiful shades of blue, pink, orange, and even white. Sapphires are not as brilliant as diamonds, but they will still look gorgeous on your finger. 

Diamonds have a higher brilliance rate, providing a beautiful sparkle to any ring. Additionally, the precious stone originates from carbon, making the most durable among precious stones. A diamond is a classic way to celebrate the union of your love. 

Whichever precious stone you choose is surely a great option. Whether you like the beautiful colors of the sapphire or the unique sparkle of the diamond, one is sure to be the one for you. Both are a beautiful option to add to your collection since they are very durable.

💎 You should know: We use affiliate links throughout our site. This means we may earn a cent or two when you make a purchase on our site. Thanks for adding to our shine.