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Lab Created White Sapphire vs Diamond: Which Is Better?

Have you been wondering what the difference is between lab created diamonds and white sapphire? You will get the answers here.

In this comprehensive guide, you will learn about:

  • The comparison between synthetic white sapphire and diamond
  • The differences in appearance between lab diamonds and sapphire
  • Comparison between the prices of lab sapphire and mined diamond
  • And other topics

A pretty blue shiny gemstone comes to your mind when you hear someone mention sapphire. This is most likely because you hear it being mentioned a lot in Septembr, after all it is the birthstone for the ninth month.

Most of the time you will hear blue sapphires being advertised as similar to diamonds but that is not the case. Diamonds are much classier than sapphires. Let us look at a little more details about the origin of each and the process they undergo before landing in your jewelry case.

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Lab Grown Diamonds Vs White Sapphires: What’s Their Source?

Carefully polished mineral corundrum is what you hear being commercially referred to as “sapphire”. It comes in a range of colors but you will never hear “red sapphire”. What you wuld like to call red sapphire is instead known as ruby while colorless corundum is called white sapphire.

Lab Grown White Sapphire

Rubies and sapphires were among the first gemstones to be artificially made in the lab. Since pure white sapphire is rarely found naturally, we can assume that the more than 90% of the brilliant white sapphire we find in stores is a result of lab creation by professional gemologists.

Sapphires can be created using two distinct ways: solution and melting. The melting process was the first to be used and is inexpensive. Here, flame fusion is done.

The main mineral in corundum is aluminum oxide. It is this aluminum oxide in powder form that is melted using a flame. The melted powder then forms a boule (forms into the shape of a teardrop). When other minerals are added to this, different colors of sapphire are obtained.

The solution process of sapphire creation is also called hydrothermal synthesis and it emulates the natural or physical way that sapphire forms. A minute seed of naturally obtained sapphire is put in a chamber placed under high temperature and extreme pressure similar to that in the earth. While under these conditions, the crystal seed creates other sapphire crystals.  This happens when the mineral solutions starts to rise.

This process is the same as that used to create lab diamonds.

Diamonds

Diamonds occur naturally, they are mined from the ground. There are also diamonds created in the lab. The fact is both of these are real diamonds.

About 100 miles deep into the ground exists graphite. graphite is the mineral form of carbon, and carbon is used to make diamonds. Inside the ground, immense pressure and temperature forces the molecular structure of graphite. this process takes place over billions of years and in turn, diamond is formed.

We have no way for sure to know if this is what exactly happens but scientists assure us that is it. Furthermore, there is no machinery that will enable us to drill that far into the ground.

The fairy tale of Snow White can be a good place to start if you have little information about diamonds. You will see large sparkly diamonds being gotten from the dwarves’ mines. This is, however, a little misinforming.

Natural diamonds look rough and not shiny when extracted from the earth’s crust. Wondering how they got there? The truth is, diamonds crystals are formed deep into the earth’s mantle they are pushed into the crust by use of kimberlite pipes. These are volcanic pipes that are used to push diamonds from deep within up to the crust.

During a volcanic eruption, a substance is forced from the depths of the earth onto the surface. Many years ago, this force was very powerful than it is today. When the force is full, the diamond shots up through the kimberlite pipes and settles on the crust. This diamond comes very hot from the mantle. When the heat cools down, the diamond becomes rough.

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Lab Grown Diamonds Vs White Sapphire: Their Appearance

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For someone who is not trained or educated to tell the difference, natural diamond and artificial white sapphire are typically the same thing. To an average customer, both of these stones are colorless and shiny. This is the reason you find most people buying white sapphire  as simulated diamond.

Although the two gemstones may appear the same, there is a great difference in their brilliance. A diamond refracts light to give a subtle rainbow spectrum with white light in it. With cubic zirconia, you will see rainbow light that overpowers the diamond sparkle.

Unlike a diamond, white sapphire gives off a dull silver color. This majorly because the refractive index of diamond is higher that makes it disperse a beautiful light. The video below shows you’re a side by side clear distinction of the appearance of both diamond and white sapphire.

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A high refractive index results in deep rainbow light. It also gives you an opportunity to assess how good the gemstone is at showing brilliance even through daily use. White sapphires have a refractive index of 1.77 and diamond’s is 2.42. This actually tells you that white sapphire will need more maintenance to stay brilliant than diamond.

Mined diamonds that have no flaws, inclusions or blemishes (whether seen with naked eyes or magnification) are rare and if found are sold very expensively. These inclusions are crystals normally found in diamonds with low clarity grades. Blemish-free diamonds are rare to find particularly in high carat weights. Diamonds which have low clarities like SI and I look very unattractive and lower the gemstone’s brilliance.

The clarity grading process for colored gemstones or sapphire is very different from that of diamonds. The best white sapphire is one which appears clean through the naked eye, although they do have inclusions too. Compared to the inclusions in diamonds with low clarity, white sapphire inclusions normally look mre cloudy.

Lab Grown Diamonds Vs White Sapphire: Retail Price

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Naturally occurring sapphires retail at very high prices but their artificial counterparts are quite affordable even if you want large stones. These prices are going to be big in the future.

The price of a white sapphire engagement ring will be determined based on the metal in which they are set. You will find more white sapphire rings set in sterling silver since it looks more fashionable than precious.

This princess cut white sapphire solitaire engagement ring from Zales.com is a good one. It is 5mm, a little close to 1 carat diamond.

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The ring is set in an affordable 10K white gold retailing at $299.

Larget white sapphires are very popular and their pricing technique is not really based on size. This is the reason I prefer white sapphire to real diamond. If you opt for a big diamond piece, be sure its going to be more expensive than a big white sapphire.

Natural diamonds are as much as we can mine from the earth. Lab created white sapphires can always be artificially made when need arises. This is the main reason why diamonds are more expensive than white sapphires.

Another reason for pricing difference is that diamonds’ quality is graded differently. White sapphires are largely considered and fall within the family of colorless gemstones. In general, colorless gemstones have varying kinds of grades compared to diamonds.

Diamonds follow the 4cs system of grading. This system was developed by GIA and gives strict guidelines for assessing the quality of diamonds. Using this technique, the quality of diamond is divided into 4cs: Clarity, Carat weight, Cut and Color. By use of carat weight, the price of diamond can be increased or decreased. Other qualities such as color and clarity need to be on the high side for larger diamond pieces.

14K, 18K, 24K or platinum settings are usually reserved for diamonds and in some instances, moissanite rings and you will rarely find such in lab grown white sapphires. Rings that are made from platinum are usually tough, strong and heavy, they do not need to be rhodium plated like white gold.

Artificial White Sapphire Vs Diamond: Worth

Natural mined diamonds and lab manufactured white sapphire differ in their worth. You already know the major reasons why lab created white sapphire is far much cheaper than natural diamonds.

Several of those reasons incline more on the value of the stone. So what does value mean to you? Maybe it is what the gemstone may be worth in future or probable the value is sentimental.

Whatever the case, consider buying a diamond and not white sapphire created in the lab. The value of diamond depreciates, it may not cost as much as you bought it when you try to resell. However much the worth decreases, diamonds are still more valuable than white sapphires. They have zero resale value since they are unique.

There are strong emotions and sentiments attached to events such as weddings and engagements, probably the reason people hold on to engagement rings and wedding bands for as long as they can. Hey take care of such jewelry as if their life depends on it.

If this jewelry is made of white sapphire originating from the lab, you need to regularly clean them so that they stay in shape. Even with all the maintenance, this gemstone will still cloud leaving the stone permanently looking dull.

If you but a diamond ring and take good care of it, it will last for generations. If you buy white sapphire simply because it looks like diamond you may need to replace it. This means you have lost the sentimental value of the stone thus the need to replace.

Diamond Vs Lab Grown White Sapphire: Other Factors

There are plenty of reasons for some people to prefer cubic zirconia to lab created diamond or viceversa. Here are some of the reasons.

Conflict-Free Diamonds

Natural diamonds are mined from underground, some from places where conflict is the new normal. With lab created white sapphire, you can rest assured that it originated from the lab and not from a place where blood is shed in plenty. Prior to the Kimberley Process being introduced, jewelers were not really able to trace the origin of diamonds. You most likely have watched the movie Blood Diamonds or at least heard about them. This is exactly what happens in African countries like DRC, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Angola and CAR, where diamonds are mined solely to fund war and criminal activities facilitated by people in government. A lot of blood is shed and there are many casualties and fatalities as a result of this.

This situation was so disturbing that players in the jewelry industry congregated in Kimberley town in South Africa do develop a system of ensuring blood free diamonds are distributed in these countries. This meeting gave birth to the Kimberley Process. This process has since been used to ensure that diamonds are sold commercially without blood being shed or atrocities commited in diamond-rich regions.

Even with this process in place, there are still opponents of how the whole process is done. Brilliant Earth, an online jewelry store seems to think that the Kimberley Process is not reliable enough. For this reason they have a “Beyond Conflict Free” program where they go a step further to find out the source and history of the diamonds in their collection.

The guidelines found in the Kimberley Process do not protect white sapphire or any other colored gemstone for that matter. Since we know that the lab grown sapphires are just that-lab grown, we are sure they are conflict free.

Another sure way of knowing you are buying blood free diamonds is to buy synthetic diamonds. As much as lab diamonds are grown in the lab just like lab sapphires, they are very much similar to mined diamonds. Only skilled jewelers can tell the difference between the two. Lab diamonds can be more than half the price of natural diamonds.

If you fear ending up with blood diamonds, you do not necessarily have to buy white sapphire, go for lab diamonds instead, you will get the same benefits as you would have mined diamonds. Not to mention you will spend less.

Durability

We all want to adorn our beautiful jewelry daily. How possible would that be if the piece you have is not long lasting. Which gemstone you buy will be determined by the durability of the gemstone. With a durable wedding or engagement ring, you get to wear it everyday.

According to the Mohs scale of hardness, diamond is the hardest mineral existing on earth. Diamonds rate at 10 in hardness. Corundum (sapphire and ruby) follow at a close 9. Topaz, Quartz and Orthoclase follow each other respectively on the scale.

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Contrary to what many people believe, the hardness of a mineral is measured by how hard or easy it is for it to me scratched. Hardness does not mean that the diamond or sapphire can be broken or chipped. Both of these gemstones cab be shattered, chipped or cracked.many people assume that high quality jewelry is one which lasts a lifetime. These are natural materials which are bound to chip if hiy with enormous pressure including gold and diamond.

It is not common for gemstones to chip, but still possible. Thanks to the different kinds of settings offered by jewelers, you can protect the gemstone from chipping. The diamond shape you pick too reduces the chances of the stone cracking.

Among the best ring settings for stone protection are flush, bezel and tension. The low setting that these settings offer means that the diamond is not likely to knock around. Diamonds put on high setting risk being caught in fabrics or sticking out. High settings also leave the prong snagging and you may end up losing the center stone as the prong wears down.

Tension settings do not offer the same protection for all diamond shapes. Diamond cuts that have elongated pavilions with pointed culets are vulnerable. Cushion, princess and round shaped diamonds expose the culet which means they risk being chipped. Asscher and Emerald shapes do not chip easily as they do not have the same characteristics, although they are hard to find.

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Conclusion: Diamond vs. Lab Grown White Sapphire

If there is anything that you have grabbed from this article it should be that there are different factors that determine the best gemstone for you, not just in terms of price.

In terms of cost, synthetic sapphire used a center gemstone will save you money, but that is just it, cheap nothing more. The sapphire has is scratch resistant, but not as much as diamond is.

Diamonds may not hold the same sentimental value at the time of attempted resale, but at least they do monetary value. From the online store you buy, you can trade-up or resell via a policy. James Allen for example allows you to trade-up a diamond you bought from them for another, only if it is double the price that was paid for the original. This means when you trade in your diamond, you get 50% more expensive gemstone.

You won’t get a chance to see any added advantages of white sapphires. Several stores like Kay give customers lifetime warranty on sapphire jewelry covering stone loss. This warranty will cover the stone only if you have it inspected in Kay stores every half a year. In case you lose the stone it will be replaced.

You have already established that with time, white sapphire if not regularly maintained, becomes dull and appears milky white. Now ask yourself, is the low price worth the value? Diamonds do not suffer such depreciation; they are resistant to many harsh conditions apart from extreme temperatures.

Haven’t you read between the lines yet? Our recommendation is you should buy diamonds: whether created in the lab or natural and not white sapphire. Here is why? You will rip a lot of benefits, there is a wide selection and are found in almost all the online stores. Furthermore, diamonds are durable and can withstand our daily routines without losing their brilliance and sparkle.

Now, diamonds can be a little expensive for many people to afford. If you still so much desire to have diamond jewelry but cannot afford the huge cost, a moissanite jewelry is an option too.

Both synthetic white sapphire and diamonds are good looking, have advantages and disadvantages but the final decision solely depends on you.

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