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White Sapphire vs. Diamond — What's the Difference?

Edited by Tayyaba Rehman — By Maham Liaqat — Published on March 2, 2024
White sapphire and diamond differ mainly in brilliance and hardness; diamonds are known for their exceptional sparkle and hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, while white sapphires, softer at 9, offer a subtler shimmer.
White Sapphire vs. Diamond — What's the Difference?

Difference Between White Sapphire and Diamond


Key Differences

White sapphire and diamond are both popular choices for jewelry, but they have distinct differences in optical properties, hardness, and price. Diamonds, formed from carbon under high pressure and temperature, are renowned for their brilliance and durability, scoring a 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. This exceptional hardness makes diamonds the most durable and scratch-resistant gemstone available, ideal for everyday wear.
White sapphires, on the other hand, are a colorless form of corundum and rank just below diamonds in hardness at 9 on the Mohs scale. While still durable, they are more susceptible to scratches compared to diamonds. In terms of optical qualities, white sapphires do not have the same level of brilliance and fire as diamonds. They tend to display a more subdued shimmer, as they lack the intense refraction and dispersion of light that characterizes diamonds.
Price is another significant difference between the two. Diamonds are typically more expensive than white sapphires, reflecting their coveted brilliance, rarity, and the demand in the jewelry market. The price of diamonds also varies greatly based on the "Four Cs" (cut, color, clarity, and carat weight), with higher quality diamonds fetching premium prices.
White sapphires offer an affordable alternative to diamonds, making them an attractive option for those who prefer the look of a colorless gemstone without the high price tag. They are often chosen for engagement rings and other fine jewelry by individuals seeking a durable and less costly option than diamonds.
Choosing between white sapphire and diamond depends on personal preferences for sparkle, budget, and values. While diamonds are sought after for their unmatched brilliance and durability, white sapphires present a more accessible yet elegant choice, appealing to those who prioritize cost-effectiveness without significantly compromising on beauty or durability.

Comparison Chart


9 on the Mohs scale
10 on the Mohs scale


Subdued shimmer, less brilliance
Exceptional brilliance and fire


Colorless corundum


Very durable, but more prone to scratches than diamonds
Extremely durable and scratch-resistant


Generally more affordable
More expensive, price varies by the "Four Cs"


Less rare than diamonds
Considered more rare and valuable

Ideal Use

Engagement rings, fine jewelry for those on a budget
Engagement rings, luxury jewelry, investment

Light Refraction

Lower refraction, less sparkle
High refraction, intense sparkle

Cultural Significance

Valued for its clarity and as a diamond alternative
Symbolizes love and commitment, highly coveted

Compare with Definitions

White Sapphire

Less brilliance compared to diamonds, with a more subdued sparkle.
The white sapphire's gentle glow was perfect for her understated style.


The hardest natural material, known for its unrivaled brilliance.
The diamond sparkled with every color of the spectrum.

White Sapphire

Ranked 9 on the Mohs scale, indicating high hardness.
Despite daily wear, her white sapphire necklace maintained its clarity.


Highly valued in jewelry for its sparkle and durability.
His choice of a diamond engagement ring symbolized enduring love.

White Sapphire

Popular as an affordable alternative to diamonds.
Opting for a white sapphire engagement ring allowed them to save for their future.


Symbolizes love and commitment, often used in engagement rings.
The diamond ring on her finger was a testament to their love.

White Sapphire

A colorless gemstone offering a subtle shimmer and elegance.
Her white sapphire earrings glinted softly under the light.


Prices vary based on cut, color, clarity, and carat weight.
The flawless, one-carat diamond was priced significantly higher than others.

White Sapphire

Durable and scratch-resistant, but less so than diamonds.
The white sapphire ring was chosen for its durability and affordability.


Exceptional hardness at 10 on the Mohs scale ensures longevity.
Her diamond bracelet had been in the family for generations, still flawless.


An extremely hard, highly refractive crystalline form of carbon that is usually colorless and is used as a gemstone and in abrasives, cutting tools, and other applications.


A piece of jewelry containing such a gemstone.


A rhombus, particularly when oriented so that one diagonal extends from left to right and the other diagonal extends from top to bottom.


(uncountable) A glimmering glass-like mineral that is an allotrope of carbon in which each atom is surrounded by four others in the form of a tetrahedron. Category:en:Carbon
The saw is coated with diamond.


A precious stone or gem excelling in brilliancy and beautiful play of prismatic colors, and remarkable for extreme hardness.


A transparent piece of diamond that has been cut and polished and is valued as a precious gem


Very hard native crystalline carbon valued as a gem

Common Curiosities

Can white sapphires scratch or chip easily compared to diamonds?

While very durable, white sapphires are more prone to scratches than diamonds due to their slightly lower hardness.

How do the prices of white sapphires and diamonds compare for similar carat weights?

White sapphires are generally significantly less expensive than diamonds of similar size, making them a cost-effective alternative.

How does the durability of white sapphires affect their use in jewelry?

White sapphires are durable enough for everyday wear, though they may require more frequent cleaning to maintain their sparkle compared to diamonds.

What are the most popular types of jewelry for white sapphires and diamonds?

Both are popular in engagement rings and wedding bands, but diamonds are also highly sought after in luxury jewelry pieces.

Can the average person tell the difference between white sapphire and diamond with the naked eye?

Without close inspection or gemological knowledge, it might be difficult for the average person to distinguish between the two, especially in smaller sizes.

How does the choice between white sapphire and diamond reflect personal style?

A preference for white sapphire might suggest a value for subtlety and elegance, whereas choosing a diamond might reflect a desire for traditional luxury and brilliance.

Can the setting of a ring make a white sapphire appear more like a diamond?

Yes, certain settings can enhance the appearance of white sapphires, making them seem brighter or more brilliant, but they will not fully mimic the unique properties of diamonds.

Why might someone choose a white sapphire over a diamond?

Budget considerations, ethical concerns, or personal preferences for a less flashy gemstone might lead someone to choose white sapphire.

Is there a noticeable difference in appearance between white sapphire and diamond?

Yes, diamonds display more brilliance and fire, while white sapphires have a more subdued shimmer and are less clear.

How does light affect the appearance of white sapphires compared to diamonds?

Diamonds refract light more effectively, resulting in a brighter sparkle, while white sapphires may appear more muted under the same lighting conditions.

Do white sapphires and diamonds have the same care and maintenance requirements?

Both require regular cleaning to maintain their sparkle, but diamonds are more forgiving of rough handling due to their superior hardness.

Are there ethical or environmental considerations that might influence the choice between white sapphire and diamond?

Yes, some consumers prefer white sapphires due to concerns over the environmental impact and ethical issues associated with diamond mining.

What makes diamonds more brilliant than white sapphires?

Diamonds have a unique ability to refract light intensely, resulting in superior brilliance and fire.

What should someone consider when deciding between a white sapphire and a diamond for an engagement ring?

Considerations should include budget, aesthetic preferences, durability for daily wear, and any ethical or environmental concerns.

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Author Spotlight

Written by
Maham Liaqat
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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