Your Guide to Buying Sapphire and Diamond Engagement Rings

In this modern world, our partnership styles, tastes and proposals can seem as disparate as a planet's worth of Netflix queues. But when it comes to choosing an engagement ring, most of us are united in a common goal: We want our selection to be unique.

An easy — and beautiful — way to get there is to choose an engagement ring with a splash of color. Meaning, forgo the diamond-on-diamond monopoly and choose a ring in which a gemstone takes center stage in a diamond setting. One popular option are the sapphire and diamond engagement rings, which are a particularly eye-catching and trendy combination of color and sparkle.

sapphire and diamond engagement rings center stone

It's trendy because sapphires have surged in popularity since Kate Middleton began wearing an 18-carat royal blue sapphire that once belonged to Princess Diana. It can also check off a significant part of a bride's to-do list, serving as the "something blue" worn during the ceremony.

Benefits of a sapphire and diamond engagement ring

Diamonds are traditional, forever, a girl's best friend, etc. But sapphires are an excellent option for couples who want an engagement ring that truly stands out. No two sapphires are exactly alike, which guarantees that your ring will be unique. And they're a beautiful way to buy a striking ring on a budget: While both diamonds and sapphires are rare and precious, a ring with a combination of the gems can reduce the amount you would spend on rings with just one or the other. And the cut of a sapphire isn't as crucial as the cut of a diamond, because it's harder to see inclusions of a sapphire with the naked eye.

Different types of sapphire and diamond engagement rings

Sapphire and diamond engagement rings are found in a few main categories:

sapphire and diamond engagement rings setting styles

Sapphire as center stone
The most common type of sapphire and diamond engagement ring is one in which the sapphire is the focal stone. You can choose a round gem, or a more distinctive shape — Kate Middleton's is oval, which lends a vintage look, while square, cushion, and pear shapes are also popular. The stone can be surrounded by brilliant pavé diamonds, which can also extend onto the band. (Read on for the benefits of this style.) What makes a desirable sapphire? Learn more with our guide to sapphire grading.

Diamond as center stone
In choosing a diamond as the center stone, sapphires become the accent, and they can be configured in a three-stone or halo style. Here's what to look for in a diamond: The four C's — carat, cut, color and clarity.

Three stone rings vs halo rings
A halo ring is a type of setting in which a stone is encircled by a ring of round pavé (pronounced pah-vay) or micro-pavé diamonds. With a sapphire halo ring, diamonds encircle the entire sapphire.

The three-stone sapphire engagement ring offers a real chance for creativity. The usual setting is a center sapphire flanked by two smaller diamonds. But you can pair round gems with ovals, or cushion-cut with emerald-cut diamonds and sapphires. All provide a beautiful, timeless complement to one another.

To pavé or not to pavé
Pavé, in French, means "to pave," and in jewelry, the term refers to a pattern of small gemstones placed closely together, creating an impressive field of shine and sparkle. The biggest of the benefits of the halo engagement ring is that it can make the center stone look bigger. This can save you money on the center stone. A halo setting can make the center stone look up to one-half carat bigger, which can translate into hundreds of dollars of savings.

What you need to know about buying natural sapphires

How sapphire and diamond engagement rings compare in terms of price: Put simply, choosing this style can save you money. If you chose an engagement ring with an excellent-grade center diamond, you’d have to ensure that any other diamonds in that ring were equally brilliant and clear, or it would be noticeable. Sapphires are graded just as diamonds or any other gemstone. But a sapphire that is strong in color can be a little cloudy or mask an inclusion or two, especially with a radiantly sparkling center diamond. And by choosing a combination of stones, you save money because you aren’t buying an all-top-grade diamond or sapphire ring.

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How to clean and care for sapphire and diamond engagement rings

Be sure to avoid heat, household cleaning solutions, or submitting your sapphire ring to ultrasonic cleaning and repairs. (They can cause damage, as that treatment is not considered permanent or stable.) Read more about how to care for your engagement ring here.