Gem Guide

Legends & Lore of Gemstones

White Sapphire Gemstone Lore & History

White Sapphire are sometimes classified in the more general category of Fancy Sapphire.  Fancy sapphire is a term used to describe any sapphire that is not blue.

White gemstones are receptive and ruled by the moon. They are linked to the night, sleep, protection from disturbing dreams, walking at night alone, and psychism.

White gemstones were linked to the moon goddess and used for purifying of the spirit. It was said that priestess and nuns wore them for maintaining chastity and for healing the sick during the dark ages.

In America, moonstones, white sapphire and diamond are considered to be lucky stones and are worn to bring good luck to the wearer.

The ancients wrote that rubbing white stones on the temples took away headaches and cleared ones thinking. Also, rubbing white gems on the breast of mothers who were having problem lactating enough milk for their babies and was said to help the flow of milk.

Some white gemstones are moonstones, white chalcedony, white opal, white sapphire, and white quartz. 

White (Colorless) Sapphire is kind of an enigma to many. I collected sapphire since I was in my early 20’s, but never even heard of a white sapphire till many years later

So, what is a white sapphire?  Essentially, it’s the purest form of a sapphire.  White sapphires are colorless sapphires. Blue and fancy sapphire receive their color from the trace elements in the earth when the crystal forms for example trace amounts of titanium and iron give blue sapphire its color. It only takes a minute amount of these impurities (<.01%) . White sapphire lacks these impurities so the sapphire appears colorless. 

So, is white sapphire like diamond? In the sense that ideally, it’s a colorless gemstone yes, but realistically its like trying to compare oranges to apples, they are both beautiful and delicious, but each has its pluses and minuses.


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White Sapphire



 What are the pluses of white sapphire?

White Sapphire is elegant, durable (9 on the Mohs hardness scale with diamond being a 10), comes in large sizes, and is available in so many cuts and sizes.  People love the value white sapphire brings to the table. Being a beautiful, natural stone that can be worn every day, and its affordable! I can’t tell you how many white sapphires I’ve sold for engagement rings over the years. I want a beautiful natural sapphire for my engagement ring….but one that won’t break the bank.

What are the negatives of white sapphire?

The drawbacks to choosing White Sapphire are lower sparkle and more frequent cleaning. That’s because White Sapphire’s sparkle is silvery and subtle. But, in exchange, you get a larger stone for far less money. I’ve always suggested to my clients that white sapphire is wonderful as a center stone, wonderful as side stones, but don’t try and mix white sapphire in diamond in the same setting as the difference will be apparent. 

The best white sapphire generally comes from Sri Lanka, although supplies of uncut white sapphire rough seem to be scarce the past few years, especially with the larger pieces. I’ve also seen white sapphire from other locales but it seems most times to have undertones of brown, yellow, or green to it, while the Sri Lankan material is usually cleaner and brighter. White sapphire is most times enhanced with heat, it’s a slow traditional process that takes several days. The temperature can be anywhere from 400 degrees Celsius to as high as 1700. This is considered a standard enhancement as  it doesn’t change the stone, only enhancing what was already there. 

There is also a lot of synthetic (lab grown, created, or manufactured) material out there, manufactured mostly in Southeast Asia, so just be careful and understand what you buying.

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