A clear, even color is the most prized quality in a sapphire. At Brilliant Earth, we perform a close-up examination of each gemstone to verify an even color with minimal color spotting or zoning. We pay close attention to how these areas affect overall beauty. Color is evaluated on three different characteristics: hue, tone, and saturation.
Hue refers to the actual body color of the sapphire. It is usually comprised of two parts, the color that has the strongest presence, and any other colors that may be slightly noticeable. Examples include greenish-blue, slightly violet-blue, or violet-pink. In each of these, the modifying color is listed first, with the main color listed second. Brilliant Earth's standard blue sapphires range from slightly greenish-blue to slightly violet-blue. We also offer a broad variety of yellow, orange, pink, peach, white, purple, and green sapphires.
Tone is the term used to describe the depth of the color present. For example, if you were to compare a sky blue sapphire to a midnight blue sapphire, you would be able to say that the hue or color is the same but that the tone is different. The sky blue sapphire has "light" tone, and the midnight blue sapphire has "dark" tone. Brilliant Earth offers sapphires in a range of tone, from "light" to "dark," with our standard for blue sapphires being in the "medium-deep blue" range.
Saturation is used to describe the purity of the sapphire's color and whether the gem is exhibiting any gray or brown hues. Sapphires with the highest levels of saturation display the cleanest and truest colors. These are referred to as having "vivid" saturation. Brilliant Earth only carries sapphires with "strong" to "vivid" saturation.
Gems vary in density, so a sapphire and a diamond of the same carat weight are visually different sizes. Because sapphires tend to be heavier, a one carat sapphire is generally slightly smaller in size than a one carat diamond. For ease of selection and setting, size is a more useful measurement, which we list in millimeters (mm). Our standard size for a round sapphire is 6 mm, which is approximately one carat.
A personalized cut is crucial to bringing out the unique personality of a sapphire. Unlike diamonds, there are no standard "ideal" cuts for sapphires, as each individual sapphire crystal must be custom cut to help the finished gem display the best color and brilliance. Since sapphires come in such a broad variety of colors, each with its own unique properties, there are no specific proportion requirements. Because of this lack of standardization, sapphire cuts are generally not graded by gem laboratories. Instead, jewelers set their own standards for cut and focus on the color of a sapphire to determine quality.
A well-cut sapphire will display the color of the gemstone to its best ability while still enhancing luster and brilliance. Often, gemstones exhibiting a lighter tone of color will be cut deeper to add dimension and intensity to the color. A sapphire of a very dark color will likely be cut shallower to allow more light to reflect within the gemstone, softening and brightening the color. Both methods will enhance a sapphire's unique beauty. Regardless of the shape of the sapphire, the edges should be symmetrical and even. The facets on the top of the gem, the "crown", should be even in size, shape, and location. The largest facet on the top of the crown, known as the table, will be symmetrical in shape and well-centered. When the sapphire is rocked and tilted, it should produce bright color flashes as it moves, with no dull spots present.
Brilliant Earth hand-selects all of our sapphires to provide only premium cut sapphires that are symmetrical, smoothly polished, and even in color and light reflection.
Sapphires are among the most highly prized gemstones, offering an almost limitless array of options in color, size, and shape. As these enduring gems have long symbolized loyalty, sapphires are increasingly becoming valued as a modern engagement ring option.
Sapphires are very durable and ideal for everyday wear, much like diamonds. Sapphires are rated a 9 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, indicating excellent hardness. Sapphires also have excellent durability, meaning they are difficult to chip or break, so they can be worn all day without fear of being damaged. Finally, they have very good to excellent stability, meaning they are not particularly sensitive to heat, light, or chemicals.
Sapphires are more affordable than diamonds, making it possible to maximize the size of your gemstone while staying within the same budget.
Clarity in sapphires is viewed in a much different way than it is with diamonds. Sapphires form in an environment rich with trace minerals that can easily become trapped within the gemstone itself. Some of these might show themselves as small crystals or needle-like inclusions, so it is an accepted fact that all sapphires will have some clarity characteristics or "inclusions." Because of the depth of color that a sapphire possesses, clarity characteristics are often easily masked and unnoticeable. Sapphires with no inclusions easily viewable with the naked eye are deemed "eye-clean" and offer an excellent value. Brilliant Earth only selects eye-clean sapphires. We also offer very high clarity sapphires at a premium.