Sapphire Engagement Rings NZ: What Is A Good Price For A Quality Ring?

Sapphire Engagement Rings NZ: What Is A Good Price For A Quality Ring? Cover Photo
9 min read19 November 2023

While typically known to be blue, sapphires come in lots of different colours and belong to the same family of gemstones as rubies. They are very strong, and sit on 9/10 of the Mohs scale (diamonds are 10 and moissanites are 9.5) making sapphire rings great for everyday wear.

But the trouble with buying a sapphire engagement ring, especially in New Zealand is the extreme variance in price. This article will walk you through everything that you need to know about sapphire stone rings, and where to get the most value for your proposal.

What Makes A Good Quality Sapphire?

There are three key components that go into the price of a sapphire. They are:

  • Uniformity of colour

  • Cut

  • Clarity

  • Carat equivalent size

The best sapphires are rich and uniform in colour

Sapphires without any mineral imperfections are typically white (known as a white sapphire).

It is only when trace minerals does a sapphire become other colours. For example, blue sapphire are “contaminated” with titanium to give its colour.

2 carat equivalent blue sapphire engagement ring featuring six accenting diamonds in a 14K yellow gold ring.
2 carat equivalent blue sapphire engagement ring featuring six accenting diamonds in a 14K yellow gold ring.

The richer and more uniform their colour, the more expensive they will be. Richer tones of colours will be more expensive than those with lighter tones, or multi-toned sapphires. Also, there is a big price difference between a rich blue sapphire and a green sapphire. But regardless of colour, poor quality and cheap sapphires tend to be grey-ish -- too light or too dark.

Below is an example of two different coloured sapphire engagement rings that we did — one in pink and the other in a purple where the colours are well balanced and uniform across the sapphire.

Pink and purple sapphire engagement rings next to each other
Pink and purple sapphire engagement rings next to each other

Also, sapphires come in lots of different colours - not just blues. At Four Words, the most popular sapphire colour is the teal sapphire. Below is an example of sapphire engagement ring that we did. It features an asymmetrically set 1.5 carat equivalent teal sapphire with accenting diamond stones in 14K yellow gold.

1.5 Carat Asymmetric Teal Sapphire Boho Engagement Ring With Accenting Diamonds In A 14K Yellow Gold Band
1.5 Carat Asymmetric Teal Sapphire Boho Engagement Ring With Accenting Diamonds

If you are looking for a lighter blue sapphire, this stunning 1.5 carat equivalent blue sapphire engagement ring features ten accenting diamonds in a yellow gold band.

Oval sapphire featuring 10 accenting diamonds in a platinum band
Oval sapphire engagement ring featuring 10 accenting diamonds in a platinum band

One of our customers wanted a true-blue sapphire with diamonds as part of an infinity ring. Together we designed a seven baguette stone blue sapphire ring — each being 1 carat equivalent with 12 round diamonds in a 18K yellow gold ring.

Baguette sapphires and round diamonds in a half eternity band
Baguette blue sapphires and round diamonds in a half eternity band

Lab grown sapphires can also be made but not in all colours. For example, it is very hard to make Parti, green-yellow or multi-coloured lab grown sapphires.

Most sapphires are cut like diamonds. And that's a red flag

Similar to moissanites, gemstone cutters typically work with mostly diamonds. So their techniques for cutting a stone are greatly influenced by diamonds. But here's the thing. The way you cut a diamond shouldn't be the same way that you cut a sapphire. They have different structural properties that mean they need to be cut differently.

Most natural sapphires are cut with "large windows" which means they can appear glassy (a typical technique used in cutting diamonds) and it actually takes away from the rich colour potential that the sapphire could have had.

It can be very difficult to find a well cut sapphire. But at Four Words, we work with the top sapphire suppliers in the world to get you exactly the colour that you are looking for. We also ensure that all the sapphires that we buy are cut specifically to the Four Words standard.

The best sapphires don’t have inclusions seen by the naked eye

Mined sapphire inclusions are different to diamond inclusions. Sapphire inclusions are called needles and look like little white lines similar to when you first crack your phone screen. This is the most obvious inclusion type typically seen by the naked eye. But you can also get partially healed breaks (they look like fingerprints on the surface of the stone which you can’t clean off), colour zoning (slightly different colours in the sapphire) and colour banding (slightly different tones in the sapphire).

It goes without saying, the fewer the inclusions the better. And unlike diamonds, sapphires only have two grades for clarity -- 'eye clean' and 'some visible inclusions'.

Eye clean typically corresponds to a diamond equivalent of being between F-VVS (flawless - very very slightly included). The term 'eye clean' used in sapphire grading means that with the naked eye, the sapphire looks flawless.

And at Four Words, when we are compelled to using a mined sapphire, we only work with 'eye clean' sapphires.

But this is where the beauty of lab grown sapphires come in. Lab grown sapphires are flawless and have no inclusions. This is because of controlled manufacturing processes.

Lab Grown Sapphires

Just as there are lab grown diamonds, you can grow other gemstones in a lab too. Lab grown sapphires are case and point. Lab grown sapphires are sapphires that are grown in a lab as opposed to mined. They have exactly the same chemical, atomic (aluminium oxide) and even optical properties as mined sapphires.

How are lab grown sapphires made?

There are two ways lab grown sapphires can be made:

  1. Flux method. This involves dissolving elements in a solution and letting them crystalise over time. This method to making sapphires have some internal inclusions - just like natural sapphires and typically come in smaller sizes.

  2. Flame fusion method. Typically grown in powders with lots of heat. This is the most common method of making lab grown sapphires because they are flawless and depending on the tuning, can product a variety of different colours.

At Four Words, we only work with the highest quality sapphires so you don’t need to worry about having to do this research yourself.

What about AAA Grade Sapphires?

You may have heard of AAA natural sapphires. This is actually more of a marketing ploy than an actual standard. Sapphires are typically graded on colour and clarity individually -- and not given a grading for its overall quality.

AAA grade sapphires are claimed to be mined sapphires with excellent colour, saturation and hue, doesn’t have inclusions to the naked eye, and is ideally cut to bring the best light performance of the ring.

At Four Words, whenever we use natural sapphires, we follow best practices when it comes to picking the best sapphires -- by examining colour, clarity and cut. We also don’t choose sapphires that have gone through any enhancements that try and hide inclusions or only have a temporary effect. These treatments are typically chemical treatments called Beryllium treatment, lattice diffusion and fracture filling.

Heat treatment on the other hand is a relatively industry wide practice and not something that should be feared. Sapphires are heated to around 1800 degrees Celsius and slowly cooled. During the process, small inclusions and purities are eliminated and the colour of the sapphire is enhanced and 'locked into the gemstone' as it cools.

If you decide to buy sapphires from any other jeweller, make sure that they first know what these techniques are, and if they are aware of if their sapphires have received any enhancements.

Collection of sapphires rings
Collection of sapphires rings

As the size of a sapphire goes up, so does the price

This is the same with most gemstones — rubies, moissanites and diamonds included.

One thing that you do need to watch out for is how other jewellers size a sapphire. At Four Words our sapphires are sized following diamond equivalent weighting (DEW). This means that when you buy a sapphire ring from Four Words, it will be the same size as a 1 carat diamond.

How Much Should You Spend On A Sapphire Engagement Ring in New Zealand

We scoured all the online stores that sell sapphire engagement rings and plotted all the sapphire rings on chart to show you how much you can expect to pay vs how much you can expect to pay at Four Words.

The prices come from a simple sapphire engagement ring with little or no accenting stones in a simple yellow 14K gold band.

Graph of prices of sapphires in New Zealand
Graph of prices of sapphires in New Zealand

Why Choose Four Words To Design Your Sapphire Engagement Ring?

Four Words only works with the best sapphires that the eye can see with an incredible range of colours and cuts.

We only work with the best sapphires that the eye can see

At Four Words, we only work with AAA sapphires. This means our sapphires don’t have any needles or cracks visible to the naked eye. Also, we have a wide range of cuts and colours in our studio for you to check out before making a decision. And if you are looking for a very specific colour, we can source it for you.

Round pink sapphire stone.
Round pink sapphire stone with other coloured gemstones in the background

You can design your own sapphire engagement ring with our creative team

Most sapphire engagement ring retailers don’t offer you the ability to design your own. At Four Words, we have designed over 1,000 engagement rings in a variety of gemstones. We know what works and what doesn’t. And if you want to add diamonds, moissanites or other exotic gemstones, we can source it all. Interested in designing your own sapphire engagement ring? Check out our custom design process.

All our engagement rings are climate positive

We have partnered with CarbonClick to ensure that every piece of jewellery we make — from earrings, pendants to fine jewellery and engagement rings, we offset our carbon by 5x. This means that for every purchase, we are actually making the world a better place than it was before your purchase. This is luxury you can feel good about.

Collection of sapphire and diamond rings with a branch in the background
Collection of sapphire and diamond rings with a branch in the background

We do all types of jewellery

If you can dream it, we can make it. Want your sapphire engagement ring to sit flush against your wedding band? Or want an sapphire earring studs or necklace pendant that matches your bridal set? We have done thousands of designs right across the board. We have also done birthstone rings and tennis bracelets in a wide variety of diamonds and gemstones.

Different coloured sapphire rings featuring diamonds.
Different coloured sapphire rings featuring diamonds.

Expert advice

When you work with Four Words, you are working with designers and jewellers with a minimum of five years of experience. And when it comes to custom designs, we will provide recommendations to ensure that your sapphire ring will last lifetimes. We also offer a free resizing (within 2 UK sizes) and a complimentary professional ring clean after 12 months. We also offer free shipping and GST free if you are flying out of New Zealand.

Common Questions

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Diamond Illustration

Whether you’re just starting out or have done all your research, we are here to help.

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