What is the Difference Between a Diamond and a Sapphire?


It’s simple isn’t it? Sapphires are blue and diamonds are white?

While that may be true some of the time, there are in fact many more differences between the two precious stones.

In fact, both stones come in a huge variety of colours, including rare colourless sapphires which, to the naked eye, can appear almost indistinguishable from traditional diamonds.


Lady’s hands with engagement ring

Sapphires belong to the Corundum family of stones, and the variation in colour comes from small amounts of metal oxide impurities. You ask, we bring the science. Over time, coloured sapphires have been known as oriental peridot (green sapphire), oriental topaz (yellow sapphire) and diamondite (colourless sapphires). Some, such as pink sapphires, have been thought to have magical qualities, including the ability to ward off ill health and misfortune.

Of course, diamonds have been the traditional choice for engagement rings since the Victorian era, because of their sparkling beauty and famed hardness of the stone, which symbolises durability and longevity. Blue sapphires are sometimes chosen as an attractive complementary stone, or eye-catching centrepiece (Princess Diana’s ring, anyone?).

Exotic stones from far-flung destinations like Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Kashmir were once accessible only to those who owned a Georgian pile and several hundred deer. Today, stones in a stunning array of colours are increasingly available, and as we tend to feel less bound by tradition, couples are choosing to incorporate diamonds and sapphires in shades ranging from champagne to deep reds in their engagement rings.

Coloured stones are also a perfect choice for special occasion jewellery, such as eternity rings, earrings and necklaces. The price of the stone will be influenced by its rarity (for example, colourless sapphires come only from Sri Lanka and are extremely rare), the quality and consistency of the colour, and whether the colour is naturally occurring or has been synthetically created.  

At Simon Wright jewellery, we are fortunate to be able to source an extremely wide array of coloured stones, from all over the world. We work with you one to one, to design your dream piece of jewellery, whether it’s a one-of-a-kind engagement ring that stands out from the crowd, or a pair of earrings to celebrate the most special of occasions. You will get a say in every stage of the design process, from the original sketches, through to selecting the stones and even getting to hold a 3D printed model of your design in your hand, before we start working with precious materials.

Curious to find out more about our stunning sapphires, diamonds and other stones, or about our design process? Make an appointment with us today. Maybe you’ll find out whether you can tell the difference between a diamond and a sapphire after all! 


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