Bridge Bride

Frenam ipsum dolor sit amet, consecte tur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tondemi.

The Most Popular Diamond Alternatives You Have To Consider

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on reddit
Reddit
Diamond Alternatives

You will find on the market lots of offered diamond alternatives, from diamond simulants with their outer similarity to out-of-the-kind colored stones. Not to be lost in this deep sea of alternatives, we prepared for you and your loved one this guide to the most popular options. From our experience as professional jewelers creating custom-designed rings, clients usually face the same difficulties of choice. Below, you will learn about the most beloved diamond alternatives according to the brilliance, hardness, and uniqueness of every option. It will give you a very clear and precise idea about all their benefits & flaws without unnecessary wording and redundant technical details. 

Table of Contents

Color & Brilliance

Moissanite

Color: lab-created moissanite can come in almost any color you can imagine. Crystal clear diamond-like moissanites are very popular.
 
RI or brilliance: with an index of 2.65 to 2.69, moissanite is the world’s most brilliant gemstone. And yes, its RI is higher than diamond (2.42)
 
Hardness: with a hardness of 9.25-9.50 on the Mohs scale, moissanite is harder than all other gemstones except diamond.
Diamond Alternatives

Moissanite is the most attractive and beloved diamond alternative that in some points even outstrips diamond. Moissanites have a higher refractive index score, which means they will appear more brilliant than diamonds and cubic zirconias. What’s more? Moissanite’s fire of 0.104 is more than twice that of diamond (0.044). This means that moissanite has more rainbow-colored sparkles than diamond. 

 

Moissanite is durable, tough, and extremely resistant to scratching and abrasion. It can be worn and styled totally like diamond yet it will have its own great brilliance. Also, compared to diamond jewelry, it will offer great savings as well. Even spending under $1,000, you can get a stone the size of a one-carat diamond. For a diamond this size, you’d pay at least $3,000, with significant compromises in color and clarity. 

CVD и HPHT lab-created diamonds

Color: both HPHT and CVD synthetic diamonds can come in a variety of colors.
 
RI or brilliance: lab-grown diamonds have a 2.42 refractive index, the same as natural diamonds. 
 
Hardness: lab-created diamonds are just as hard as mined stone — a 10 on the Mohs scale.
Diamond Alternatives

Lab-created or man-made diamonds are real diamonds, with the same internal crystalline structurу and density. They will sparkle with the same brilliance as natural diamonds. Lab-created diamonds are real diamonds, which can not be said about diamond simulants. (More about it you can also read here).

The difference between these two kinds (CVD vs. HPTP) of lab-created diamonds is laboratory growing methods. Most lab-grown diamonds are grown under 2 techniques: chemical vapor deposition (CVD) or high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT). Synthetic diamonds of both these types are 100% eco-friendly, causing no environmental toxins or damage. They have the same purity & clarity as high-quality natural stones and they won’t get cloudy. 

 

As for pricing, lab-created diamonds cost up to 40% less than earth-mined diamonds. However, in comparison to moissanite, a lab-created diamond can cost 3-4 times higher. Also, it will actually not have any resale value: so, if you buy a lab-created diamond, you’ll have a real stone with all its great qualities, yet no jeweler will buy it back. 

 

Because here we are talking about long-lasting engagement rings and not investment jewelry, a lab-created diamond is still a nice choice for a bride’s ring. 

Cubic zirconia

Color: a good CZ is often entirely colorless, equivalent to a perfect “D” on a diamond’s color grading scale. 
 
RI or brilliance: CZ has an RI of 2.15–2.18, compared to a diamond’s 2.42. So, a diamond has a greater depth of brilliance which the CZ cannot match.
 
Hardness: 8-8.5 on the Mohs scale. 
Diamond Alternatives

It’s one of the most inexpensive diamond simulants. To the untrained eye, a new high-quality CZ looks like a real diamond, and many people may take him for a real diamond in a ring. However, we as professional jewelers don’t recommend putting a CZ in gold because after 2 years it will get really scratched. Yes, CZ falls between 8 and 8.5 on Mohs Scale but still, it does not make it scratch-proof. Over time, you will get a scratched cloudy stone that to all other lost parts of its brilliance. So, a CZ may be a good choice for an inexpensive fashion ring, but for an engagement ring, it’s better to look at other alternatives.

White topaz

Color: though usually, topaz comes in a yellow hue, you can find also a perfectly transparent one, the so-called white topaz. Still, it can contain natural impurities affecting its color.
 
RI or brilliance: white topaz has 1.64 of brilliance as opposed to the diamond’s 2.42. In general, diamonds are much brighter than white topaz.
 
Hardness: 8 on the Mohs scale.
Diamond Alternatives

White topaz is another good alternative to diamonds, though not perfect. White or clear is the most common color of topaz and it’s not expensive. For example, pink and red-colored topaz stones are more valuable. Still, a white topaz has beautiful sparkles even not as much as diamonds. It is also less hard than a diamond and can get cloudy and scratched over time.

Spinel

Color: spinel is most often seen in many colors, including red and black. When this mineral is pure, it’s colorless (white). Natural colorless spinel is the rarest ‘ color’ but there are lots of lab-created colorless spinels.
 
RI or brilliance: synthetic spinel has an R.I. of about 1.727. It is also sparkling and shiny but not like diamonds. 
 
Hardness: 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs scale.
Diamond Alternatives

Remember that almost all colorless spinels are synthetic, as it rarely occurs colorless. So, a synthetic spinel is inexpensive and common compared to natural spinel that has always been a rare gem. White synthetic spinel is quite high on the hardness scale and it can only be scratched by harder items such as diamonds and sapphires if stored together. Very often, spinel is compared to sapphire: having similar RI and hardness, they both come in a wide range of colors including transparent.

White sapphire

Color: sapphires naturally occur in a variety of colors. Natural colorless sapphire is extremely rare. So, a diamond-like transparent sapphire will be (with a probability of 99%) lab-created.
 
RI or brilliance: synthetic white sapphire have 1.766-1.774 of RI, they have less white sparkle and fire in comparison to diamonds
 
Hardness: a sapphire is rated as a 9 on the Mohs scale which makes him the second hardest natural stone used in jewelry.
Diamond Alternatives

A white synthetic sapphire ring has a similar look to a diamond with a few small compromises: in most cases, white sapphires are actually yellow or grey stones that have been heat treated or chemically treated. Secondly, they have less brilliance and fire than diamonds. Still, they are harder than white topaz, which has a rating of 8 on the Mohs scale. So, they don’t get scratched easily. And lastly, colorless sapphires have a much lower price than diamonds. Their affordability and hardness — they are durable enough for everyday wear — make them a great diamond alternative and the perfect choice for an engagement ring. 

 

As you see, according to outer similarity and brilliance, there is quite a range of diamond alternatives you can choose from. In case you need more detailed information to know about the benefits & flaws of diamond simulants check our comprehensive guide to diamond simulants: we describe there even rare and vintage alternatives. Or just contact us for a free consultation.

Hardness & Durability

Here we are going to talk about the hardness of stones. There is no need to explain why the durability of a stone is important. But which level of hardness is preferable for a stone in an engagement ring is a more subtle question

 

Discussing this question, we always advise customers to look at their style of using things with an open mind: just to understand whether they are careful with things or not. If you after 2 years of using your mobile still have it in great condition, with a high probability even a less durable ring will feel great with you 🙂 If you are not sure about it, define your limits: it’s better to purchase stones with more than 8 points hardness on the Mohs scale. 

 

However, you are not obliged to stick to hardness 8 or above. Just in case of purchasing less durable stone, keep in mind it’s not for everyday wear. Many of our clients buy the second and third engagement rings of different styles and with different stones: the first ring they can wear constantly, other rings they wear occasionally. Actually, it’s a common practice among celebs and people loving jewelry. 

Diamond Alternatives

Keep in mind that scientifically speaking, hardness measures the ability to resist scratching, not more than this. Yes, it influences the general wearability of a stone, but still, it’s only one of many points to consider.

Further, we are going to list diamond alternatives according to hardness (not the color!) for those for whom the durability of a stone is a decisive factor by purchasing. 

Salt&pepper diamond

Hardness: the full diamond’s 10 on the Mohs scale 
 
Color: salt & pepper refers to white and black inclusions, which give a stone different grey hues.
 
RI: the brilliance of them is lower than colorless white diamonds.
Diamond Alternatives

Inclusions are the most prominent key of salt & pepper diamonds. These small spots create a unique various look of every single diamond: stones can be close to black, dark or light gray, milky, and even almost colorless. 

 

Due to their inclusions,salt & pepper diamonds are technically a bit weaker on the inside than colorless ones. Still, they are real diamonds and surely harder than any other stones. They are also less expensive than clear stones simply because they sparkle less and have a lower refractive index. But their uniqueness (you will not find two identical salt & pepper diamonds) and durability make them a great option for an engagement ring. More about the qualities & value of these stones you can read here.

Corundum stones: ruby & sapphire

Hardness: 9 on the Mohs scale and it’s a great result in comparison to other non-diamond stones. Only diamond & moissanite are higher!
 
Color: ruby’s color can vary from blood-red to any tones of red, orange, and pink. Sapphire can be any color, including colorless and black.
 
RI or brilliance: 1.762-1.778 for both of them in comparison to diamond’s 2.42: diamonds refract more light than sapphires or rubies do, appearing more brilliant.
Diamond Alternatives

Ruby and sapphire are from a family of corundum. In general, ruby is a red sapphire: they are identical in all properties except for color. The red color comes from traces of chromium. Corundum stones with other than red color are called sapphire. According to hardness, a diamond is much harder than ruby or sapphire, even though they’re only one division apart on the scale. Because Mohs scale is not absolutely linear, corundum is twice as hard as topaz, and diamond is four times as hard as corundum. Still, both ruby and sapphire are considered very durable stones great for everyday and lifelong wear.

Diamond Alternatives

Color is the most significant factor affecting a ruby’s value. The finest and very expensive ruby has a pure, vibrant red without overtones of orange and purple. Such rubies can be more expensive than diamonds of the same size. But most rubies on the market are considerably less expensive than diamonds. 

 

As for sapphire, the more intense and uniform the color is, the more valuable the stone. Though people know sapphires as blue stones, they can occur in any color except red (which is ruby). You will be surprised, but thу rarest color of a sapphire is …orange. Still, because people are most in need of vivid blue sapphires, these can be also quite expensive. As for the average price, a 1 ct sapphire will cost less than a 1 ct diamond. For you as a customer, it means that you can purchase a nice colored quality ruby or sapphire for your engagement ring at a reasonable price and it will stay with you bright and lustrous for years. 

Alexandrite

Hardness: with a hardness of 8.5 on the Mohs scale, alexandrite is softer than sapphire or ruby but still harder than most other gemstones
 
Color changing: green in natural light, purple to purplish-red in incandescent light
 
RI or brilliance: 1.746 to 1.755 as any chrysoberyl stone: when cut well, gems are quite brilliant, but lack fire (= colored sparkle). 
Diamond Alternatives

Alexandrite is a fascinating and unusual option for an engagement ring. Its color-change is really beautiful, it displays different hues from green to red in changing lights. Besides, alexandrite is a nice option in terms of strength due to its 8.5 out of 10 Mohs hardness. Natural alexandrite is very rare and expensive. But a lab-created alexandrite has the samу physical and optical properties as natural, plus it will be quite affordable. It will be chemically identical to natural alexandrite. But nowadays, there are lots of fake lab-created alexandrites on the market like color change glass, CZ, or spinel. More about how to choose a real high-quality lab-created alexandrite you can read here

Hardness & Durability

Alexandrite is a fascinating and unusual option for an engagement ring. Its color-change is really beautiful, it displays different hues from green to red in changing lights. Besides, alexandrite is a nice option in terms of strength due to its 8.5 out of 10 Mohs hardness. Natural alexandrite is very rare and expensive. But a lab-created alexandrite has the samу physical and optical properties as natural, plus it will be quite affordable. It will be chemically identical to natural alexandrite. But nowadays, there are lots of fake lab-created alexandrites on the market like color change glass, CZ, or spinel. More about how to choose a real high-quality lab-created alexandrite you can read here

Morganite

Color: morganite is a member of the beryl family with the color variation ranging from almost white to dark pink. This stone has usually a light hue and you will find an almost white morganite (probably with light pinkish hues) easily. Pure pinks to purplish pinks are the rarest and most valuable morganite colors. 
 
RI or brilliance: Morganite has the RI of 1.572-1.592 and it’s actually a bit far from diamond’s sparkle. So, morganite has its special delicate shine. 
 
Hardness: 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs scale, it is quite suitable for an engagement ring, though not as durable as diamond.
Diamond Alternatives

Compared to diamonds, morganite is not as resistant to scratches, yet is still durable enough, especially if handled with care. It is often paired with rose gold and has an alluring and romantic look in a ring. It does not require replacement over time. Morganite has a pleasing transparent pinkish hue which actually isn’t so close to diamond’s purity and brilliance, but it still sparkles. For your engagement ring, you can find an almost colorless morganite and a really big one: morganites are a lot less cheap and affordable compared to diamonds. According to the 2017 engagement ring survey by the Knot, it’s the second most popular non-diamond stone, after sapphire.

Emerald

Color: only gems that are medium to dark green are considered emeralds
 
RI or brilliance: Morganite has the RI of 1.572-1.592 and it’s actually a bit far from diamond’s sparkle. So, morganite has its special delicate shine. 
 
Hardness: 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs scale, it is quite suitable for an engagement ring, though not as durable as diamond.
Diamond Alternatives

Emerald is a gemstone of the beryl family and has to be medium to dark green to be called emerald. Otherwise, with light tones of green, it is called green beryl. All beryls have a hardness of 7.5–8 on the Mohs scale, which is quite good for wearing in an engagement ring. Still, many emeralds have surface-reaching inclusions, cracks can occur more easily. So, it’s importaте to choose a fine quality emerald whose tone will not be too dark. Its color has to be vivid and the stone itself — transparent. High-quality natural emeralds can be more expensive than diamonds. However, a lab-created emerald will have fewer inclusions, its price will be significantly lower than of a natural one. Here you can read more about this eye-catching gemstone. 

Amethyst

Color: amethyst’s color is from light lavender to a deep purple hue
 
RI or brilliance: 1.544-1.553 in comparison to diamond’s 2.42. Amethyst (as all members of the quartz family) will not sparkle, yet have rather an attractive twinkle effect.
 
Hardness: has a Mohs hardness of 7, which is generally speaking hard enough for almost any jewelry use.
Diamond Alternatives

Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz. It may occur in many violet tones, though the deep bright colors are the most valuable. On the market, a high-quality amethyst will have a vivid reddish-purple or purple with no visible color zoning. It shouldn’t be too dark, otherwise, the brightness will not be clear. The value of amethysts depends almost entirely on color, so light-colored amethysts are the most affordable between them. Amethyste with a hardness of 7 is a nice option for an alternative engagement ring that can last a lifetime with the right care. One more interesting variety of quartz with a unique coloration is ametrine that has two colors. 

Moonstone

Color: moonstone comes in a variety of colors, from quite bright to almost transparent milky white
 
RI or brilliance: with the 1.518 – 1.526 RI, moonstone has a white shimmer, similar to moonshine, not sparkle
 
Hardness: moonstone ranks 6 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale which is not extremely hard, so care must be taken. 
Diamond Alternatives

Moonstones can range from colorless with almost perfect clarity to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink. The most beautiful moonstone will have a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and transparency. A high-quality moonstone will have a strong bluish glow which is called adularescence. However, moonstone rings with a white, orange, or light blue adularescence are easier to find and they are the same beautiful. As you see, the clearer the stone, the more valuable it is. So, prices for moonstones range from $10 to $1000, depending on their purity and absence of inclusions. As a ring stone, it’s better to use a protective setting around the moonstone such as a bezel, for example, to make him more durable. A moonstone engagement ring is nowadays one of the biggest trends in wedding jewelry according to the Knot 2020 Jewelry & Engagement Study, and in this article, we collected all the reasons why it became so popular.

Opal

Color: opals have a very bright spectrum of colors. Even they might display two or three colors or all the colors of the rainbow.
 
RI or brilliance: with 1.37 – 1.47 RI opal doesn’t sparkle but has a delicate glow depending on its coloration and clarity.
 
Hardness: varies from 5.5 to 6.5 and is considered as a rather moderate hardness.
Diamond Alternatives

You may see opals in almost every color that you can imagine. Black opals are considered to be the rarest, while white opals are more common. The ‘dominant color’ in an opal can affect its value. Red color may also command the highest cost. White opals are generally the most affordable type of opals.

 

Due to their physical qualities, opals are quite soft stones so they have to be handled with care. There are a variety of reasons the stone can become discolored including exposure to water, cleaning solutions, soap, perfume, and heat. Though they are more fragile than for example sapphires or moissanites, their unique delicate beauty makes them a great and unusual choice for an engagement or anniversary ring. 

 

 

If you need to dive deeper into the world of colored gemstones, we have a great illustrated guide of alternative engagement rings, where gemstones are listed by colors. We have also a short video explaining the most popular alternatives to diamond engagement rings, where we consider the options according to their color, durability, and price (you will find there some options starting from $1500 🙂

Share This Post

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on pinterest
Pinterest
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on reddit
Reddit
Sergey Green

Sergey Green

I went from being an entrepreneur in my early 20s to being a wedding photographer, and now back to an entrepreneur. It's always about passion and true feelings and emotions for me. I'm creating a family legacy, pieces of history. Not just a ring.

Read this next