White sapphire is a lesser-known color of the gemstone sapphire. It’s often used as an alternative to diamonds, particularly in engagement rings.
Is a white sapphire a real sapphire? Yes, colorless to white sapphires form naturally, though naturally colorless sapphires are rare. Oftentimes, white sapphires have been treated or created synthetically.
Though sapphires are famously blue, they actually come in various colors — including no color at all.
Fans of white sapphire love its affordable price, durability, and versatility in jewelry. These sapphires also have an important role in Vedic astrology.
Curious to know more? Join us as we go over white sapphire properties, prices, astrological connections, and more!
The gem serves as the state gemstone of Montana, USA, and Queensland, Australia.
As a type of corundum, white sapphire is an aluminum oxide mineral. Ruby and sapphire are the two corundum varieties.
The mineral often forms barrel-shaped, flat-ended prismatic, or bipyramidal crystals. It can also be granular, massive, or rolled pebbles.
Thanks to impressive hardness, the stone can be used industrially for watches, circuit boards, LEDs, scratch-resistant glasses, and even phone screens.
White sapphires with certain inclusions (parallel bunches of diaspore or rutile) can display asterism or chatoyancy, two similar optical phenomena creating multiple or single rays of light, respectively, reflected on the surface.
The remaining white sapphire properties are:
Mohs hardness: 9
Color: Colorless or white
Crystal structure: Hexagonal (trigonal)
Luster: Adamantine (diamond-like), vitreous (glassy), or pearly
Transparency: Transparent to opaque
Refractive index: 1.76-1.77
Fracture: Irregular/uneven or conchoidal
Luminescence: Moderate fluorescence (natural) - Light red-orange in LW-UV; Sometimes weak fluorescence (synthetic) - Bluish-white in SW-UV
Pleochroism: None (present in other sapphires)
Optical effects: Sometimes asterism; Sometimes chatoyancy
The most well-known type of white sapphire jewelry is engagement rings. White sapphire engagement rings are one of many non-diamond alternatives, along with gems like moissanite, white topaz, and morganite.
How do white sapphires compare to diamonds, though? Here are some key differences to consider when deciding on an engagement ring stone:
Color: Both stones can be completely colorless and transparent, but white sapphires tend to be duller and sometimes cloudier than diamonds.
Sparkle: Every aspect of sparkle — refractive index, dispersion, and scintillation — is stronger in diamonds than sapphires.
Durability: Sapphire is only slightly lower in hardness than diamond on the Mohs scale. Both have brittle toughness.
Price & Size: White sapphires are more budget-friendly, generally one-quarter of the price of similar-quality diamonds. You can also get a much larger white sapphire for a fraction of the price of a smaller diamond.
Another factor is the ethics involved, as many newlyweds want to avoid conflict diamonds. Since white sapphires aren’t as pricey, they’re usually not sold for funding conflicts.
Back to the individual traits, what does white sapphire represent?
White sapphire represents purity, prosperity, and new beginnings. Added to these is the general meaning of sapphires, which symbolize truth, heaven, and commitment.
Some historical Christian lore describes the star sapphire as the “Stone of Destiny,” its rays representing destiny, faith, and hope. Various ancient cultures viewed star sapphires as protective from evil.
In Vedic astrology, white sapphire is a planetary stone for Venus or Venus and Jupiter.
The planet Venus, or Shukra, governs beauty, luxury, love, and partnerships, be it marital or business-related. A weak Venus placement in your astrological chart can cause issues in your relationships, finances, and personal wellbeing.
White sapphire strengthens your Venus placement, encouraging stronger, warmer relationships and greater prosperity overall.
When white sapphire harmonizes Venus with Jupiter — the ruler of good fortune, wealth, and knowledge — this harmony extends to prosperous finances and relationships.
Sapphire mining goes back millennia to 800 BC. In fact, sapphire engagement rings started in ancient Rome, long before diamond rings started in the 1400s.
Ancient Greeks first found white sapphire on Naxos, a Greek island. They linked it to Apollo, god of the sun, light, and prophecies. One legend claims the white sapphires were a gift from Pythia, the Oracle of Delphi.
The word “sapphire” may come from the ancient Greek sappheiros, meaning “blue stone.” But some etymologists argue “sapphire” comes from the Sanskrit śanipriya, meaning “sacred to Saturn.”
Support for the Sanskrit origin is the traditional belief in Hindu astrology that sapphire benefits anyone with a weak Saturn placement.
Corundum’s name came in 1725, but the entire family wouldn’t be officially classified until French mineralogist René Just Haüy described corundum in 1796, then linked them all in 1805.
Sapphires are now September birthstones, but this is a modern tradition. While white sapphire is now considered an alternative April birthstone, all sapphires were considered April birthstones from the 1400s to 1900s.
That changed in 1912, when the American National Retail Jeweler's Association created the first standardized birthstone list, designating sapphire for September.
Besides repping your birthday, what are the benefits of wearing white sapphire?
Wearing white sapphire as a healing stone offers various benefits. White sapphire, like other white gemstones, can boost healing, hope, and inspiration. These crystals are great crown chakra stones, balancing the energy center to bring enlightenment and wisdom.
Crystal healers claim physical white sapphire benefits include treating:
Historically, Persians ground sapphire as a cure-all medicine. Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible used sapphire for heart and muscle strength.
White sapphire crystals are said to dispel negative emotions, promoting optimism and confidence. They’re believed to help you hone your talents and dispel habits or thought patterns that aren’t helpful.
The crystal can also boost courage and encourage marital harmony.
From a financial standpoint, is a white sapphire valuable? That depends on its quality.
White sapphire’s value is determined by its color, cut, clarity, transparency, and carat weight. We’ll also discuss the effect of treatments and synthetic processes.
Color is the number-one value factor for sapphires. The stone is allochromatic, meaning colorless when pure; other sapphire colors come from impurities.
White sapphires often have a blue or yellow tinge, but the most valuable specimens appear closest to purely colorless.
Most white sapphires in jewelry are faceted, with the exception of star or cat’s eye sapphires that must be cut as cabochons. Virtually any faceted cut is possible, with round brilliant shapes popular for imitating diamonds.
The quality of the cut affects value. The highest-value cuts are symmetrical and bring out the sparkle best. Misshapen or disproportionate cuts can result in a dull-looking, less valuable gem. Custom cuts can help you ensure maximum sparkle.
Common inclusions in white sapphire are:
Hexagonal color banding or growth lines
Zircon crystals, often with dark “halo” fractures
The best gems are eye-clean, meaning no inclusions visible to the naked eye. More visible inclusions means lower value and often lower durability.
Transparency is somewhat taste-based. The most transparent sapphires, particularly faceted gems, are most valuable.
White sapphires are often cloudy or “milky.” This effect can create a white glow, but it’s less desirable for faceted gems.
Faceted white sapphires are available up to 15 carats Generally, price-per-carat will increase from 0.5-2 carats, 2-5 carats, and over 5 carats.
White star sapphires can be larger and don’t significantly change in price-per-carat by weight.
The most valuable sapphires are untreated, but many sapphires are treated. Heat treatments are fairly standard and stable for improving clarity and/or color, so they won’t affect the price much.
Since natural white sapphires are rare, most on the market have been heated to be colorless. Some may be coated to be whiter. Stress fractures around crystal inclusions are a good indicator of heat treatment.
Synthetic white sapphires help with supply given the natural material’s rarity. Lab-grown methods include melt processes — flame fusion or the Czochralski process — or solution processes like hydrothermal growth.
Differentiating synthetic vs. natural stones is tricky, but here are some indicators of a synthetic sapphire:
Curved growth lines
Curved color banding
“Nail head” inclusions
Now, how does natural white sapphire form?
Corundum stones like white sapphire form inside metamorphic or igneous rocks. In igneous rocks, the stone crystallizes as the rock cools from magma. Longer cooling times creates larger crystals.
The igneous rock must be aluminum-rich and silica-poor, like nepheline syenites. The amount of trace element impurities must be very low for white sapphire to form.
In metamorphic rocks, the crystals form when ancient sea beds undergo metamorphism from hot, aluminum-rich waters.
Often, the rocks holding sapphires wear away, allowing water to carry the gems into alluvial deposits like riverbeds.
The top sapphire sources are Kashmir, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.
Other important sapphire sources include:
Star sapphires come from Canada, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
Seeing the prices of white sapphire vs. other sapphires, you may wonder: why is white sapphire so cheap?
White sapphires aren’t as inexpensive as say, cubic zirconia, but they’re less expensive than other sapphires simply because they’re deemed less attractive than well-known colors like blue or Padparadscha sapphires.
However, white sapphires come in all kinds of shapes and sizes at accessible prices.
We’ll start with the white sapphire price per carat ranges for faceted gems:
0.5 to 3 carats: $50 to $200 per carat
3 to 5 carats: $100 to $700 per carat
5 to 15 carats: $500 to $800 per carat
White star sapphire cabochons can vary by the brightness and number of rays. Overall, these stones go for $25-$150 per carat.
Lastly, let’s discuss gemstone care. White sapphires can get cloudy quickly, so regular cleaning is often needed to resolve cloudiness.
Clean white sapphire by soaking it in a mixture of warm water and mild soap for 20-30 minutes. Gently scrub with a soft toothbrush, then rinse away residue. Let it air-dry or dry it with a lint-free cloth.
White sapphire’s durability and lack of cleavage mean everyday wear is safe. You may want protective settings for a white sapphire ring, though.
Be careful with fracture-filled, dyed, or cavity-filled stones, as even acids like lemon juice can harm them. Only clean these sapphires with a damp cloth.
Keep treated and untreated white sapphires away from boric acid.
Blue sapphire may be the standard, but white sapphire brings in a set of new meanings and benefits. Can’t decide on a sapphire color? White sapphire is perfect for matching with any outfit, offering you a boost of confidence to feel truly celestial.
Was this article helpful?