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What to look for in a diamond engagement ring part III

February 27, 2014
Home / The Vault / What to look for in a diamond engagement ring part III

Here in this article on diamond engagement rings, we will look at other stones that match so well with diamonds, and the reasons why.

A diamond engagement ring can be as simple and elegant as a claw set solitaire diamond ring, a 3 or 5 stone diamond ring, or a diamond cluster ring, and all of these can be brand new or antique, yellow gold or platinum or a combination and really any other design that you can think of.

When another gemstone is added, it is usually either a ruby or sapphire.

The reason is simple - both rubies and sapphires come from the same gemstone family of corundum (Al2O3), and indeed both are the same stone except for colour. Ruby when it is red, sapphire when it is any other colour - blue, yellow, green, purple to name a few.

However it is not the range of colours available in sapphires, or the wonderful vibrant red of ruby that makes it so appealing, it is its hardness and durability.
After diamond, corundum is second in hardness. On Moh's scale of hardness diamond is at 10 and corundum (ruby and sapphire) is 9.
From a gemmological standpoint, we take any gem with a hardness of over 7 to be considered durable - there are a few gemstones that are borderline 6 1/2 or so and are used in everyday jewellery including engagement rings, but this is for another article.

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Over the centuries the most prized of all the sapphires have been the sapphires from Sri Lanka - formerly Ceylon and indeed sapphires from here are stilled called Ceylonese sapphires and are also sometimes referred to as "cornflower" blue, however this is a less common term used today.
Sapphires from Sri Lanka are often a wonderful medium blue colour and are available in quite large sizes commercially so it will be quite easy to find a lovely Ceylonese sapphire over 2 carats and even over 5 carats in size.

Rubies are also found in various parts of the world, but again one country can really take claim to some truly stunning examples and this country is Burma and here the rubies are just stunning to admire.
However even though rubies and sapphires are the same gemstone, finding a large good quality ruby is hard, and anything over 2 carats in size will start to become hard to find and quite expensive in relation to a similarly sized sapphire.
Lately lead filling rubies have started to flood the market and a 2 carat ruby that looks superb can sell for less than $1,000 however it is not a stable treatment and here in Australia its true value of "no commercial value" will be applied so remember the saying that, "if it's too good to be true, then it is", as these lead filled rubies (which do look superb- for a while) can really be bought for less than $50.

So there we go. Both sapphires and rubies are durable like diamonds and that's why they are popular gemstones in engagement rings.

But the story doesn't end there. In fact it really does just scratch the tip of the iceberg because sapphires and rubies have been adored for centuries and the history in sapphire and diamond is just wonderful, however these two gemstones and their history is another great article that will be delved upon soon.


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