Channel Your Inner Kate Middleton with a Sapphire and Diamond Engagement Ring

couple holding hands and woman wearing sapphire and diamond engagement ring

There was only one thing everyone wanted to talk about when Prince William announced his engagement to Kate Middleton in 2010: Her gorgeous sapphire and diamond engagement ring — the same ring once worn by his beloved mother, the late Princess Diana.

William told reporters that the ring is “very special to me, and Kate's now very special to me, so it was only right to put the two together.” And it’s definitely a special ring: The stunner is definitely one of the top sapphire and diamond engagement rings out there. Luckily, this beautiful ring combo isn’t just for royalty — you can have it, too.

Quick Sapphire Facts:

  • Sapphires are a rare gemstone that can take millions of years to form naturally in recrystallized limestone and metamorphic rocks.
  • Like rubies, sapphires are made from the mineral corundum or aluminum oxide, which gets color when there are other minerals present during formation.
  • There are many sapphire color varieties including pink, yellow, and most popularly blue.
  • Sapphires represent a calming presence, enlightenment, and wisdom.
  • Blue sapphires are the birthstone for those born in September.
  • The royal blue variety are traditionally gifted for the 5th, 45th, and/or 70th wedding anniversary.
  • Blue sapphire are very popular because of their blue color, hardness (second only to diamonds), durability, and luster (sparkle from light performance within the gemstone).

Things to consider when buying a sapphire and diamond engagement ring

Sapphires are an instant conversation piece when added to an engagement ring — and the combination of the gemstones make a striking pair that’s as durable as it is beautiful.

Blue Sapphire Pricing

Like diamonds, sapphires are priced depending on a number of factors, including weight. The actual cost per carat can vary from rather inexpensive (less than $50) to thousands of dollars. In general, they’re typically less expensive than diamonds, so opting for a sapphire center stone with diamond accents can be a more cost-effective alternative to the traditional diamond engagement ring.

Even better: Your sapphire and diamond engagement ring can increase the sparkle, which means you can come down on sapphire quality if you need to. Lower clarity sapphires can seem a bit dull, but a diamond halo can offset that effect — and not all sapphire and diamond engagement rings are sapphire stones with diamond halos. You can have a sapphire solitaire with a diamond band or even a sapphire center stone with two side stone diamonds.

sapphire and diamond engagement ring styles

And as for how sapphires compare to diamonds in terms of strength? Though some gemstones are significantly softer than diamonds, sapphires are not one of them. The gemstones are 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, so you don't have to worry that they'll get scratched if they're a big center stone.

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.

sapphire and diamond engagement rings versus all diamond

Different types of sapphire and diamond engagement rings

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

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.

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.

Sapphire and diamond engagement rings from With Clarity

Eager to work with our expert gemologists on crafting your perfect sapphire and diamond engagement ring? Check out our page for custom gemstone rings. We work privately with customers on these projects to ensure you're getting the exact ring of your dreams, and that she'll be happy for a lifetime.