Diamond Alternatives: The Best Gemstones That Look Like Diamonds

Diamond alternative

We get it–you want bling on your ring but either aren’t as obsessed with diamonds as the rest of the world, or diamonds are a little out of the budget. No sweat! There are several diamond alternatives to choose from, so let’s dive right in! 

Why Choose A Diamond Alternative?

Unless you’ve inherited a family diamond or have a large budget, diamonds can be quite pricey. While your budget might allow for a .3 carat diamond, you could swoop up a 1-carat diamond alternative for the same amount.

Will anyone notice it’s not a real diamond? Chances are slim, unless they are a gemologist or diamond specialist. With a diamond substitute, you essentially get more bang for your buck. 

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What About The Sparkle?

Here’s the truth: no gemstone is going to sparkle the way a diamond does, but there is one gemstone that comes exquisitely close. So close, in fact, that it’s capable of tricking everyone into thinking it’s a diamond. Which stone? A synthetic stone called…

Moissanite

How is it possible that moissanite stones have a sparkle as brilliant as a diamond, for about 10% of the cost? Moissanites are lab-created gemstones fashioned after natural moissanite. Natural moissanite is so incredibly rare because allegedly, the original material came from an ancient meteor, hence their fantastical nicknames, stardust and space diamond. And seriously, who doesn’t want to rock a space diamond?

Why are moissanites all the rage and considered the best diamond alternative in 2019? Because moissonates are:

  • Brighter than a diamond
  • Harder than sapphire, making them highly durable and long-lasting
  • Incredibly brilliant, with a unique and fiery “rainbow effect” 

More and more buyers are choosing moissanite over diamonds. Plus, jewelers are incorporating moissanites into more of their creations, making it a buyer’s market with limitless options available.

White Gemstones Instead of Diamonds

Diamonds form as tiny carbon atoms that live deep in the earth. The combined pressure of weight and extreme temperatures bond together to form the beautiful crystal structure we know and love. If nature is capable of forming such a beautiful stone as a diamond, are there any other natural diamond alternatives? You bet! 

White Sapphire

Sapphires are the birthstone for September, and occur naturally in a variety of colors, including white. White sapphires are a choice diamond alternative for small accent stones. However, large white sapphires appear more cloudy because they are not completely colorless. 

To choose the most brilliant and high-quality stones, buy AAA white sapphires. White sapphires are a great diamond substitute for those who work with their hands, as they rank at 9 on the Mohs hardness scale, second to diamonds. 

Lastly, white sapphires are a budget-friendly precious stone, yet only cost 20% of an equivalent diamond. Bear in mind that sapphires accumulate dirt and grime must faster than diamonds, so you will have to factor in regular and ongoing maintenance and cleaning costs.

white sapphire - diamond alternative

White Topaz

White topaz stones are colorless and highly affordable, making them a popular diamond substitute. However, white topaz is only a fraction as bright as diamonds, with a Refractive Index of 1.64 to a diamond’s 2.4. 

Additionally, they are not as durable as diamonds, ranking at 8 on the Mohs scale. Does this mean white topaz is a bad buy? Not at all. You’ll just have to be sure to buy a protective setting, and reserve white topaz for jewelry items you won’t wear every day.

White Quartz

One of the best diamond alternatives is white Quartz, which is often confused for a diamond. That’s because white quartz gemstones are faceted to emit the most amount of light, making them appear more sparkly than they actually are. The best way to differentiate white quartz from a diamond is on large stones, which have a glassy feature. 

While white quartz is a great option for accessories, you might not want to consider this gemstone as a diamond substitute for engagement rings, as it only costs about $10 per carat and damages easily due to its softness.

white quartz - diamond alternative

White Zircon

One of the oldest minerals from the earth is also the best diamond imitator: white zircon. In fact, zircon is the leading gemstone alternative to diamonds. What makes zircon such a great diamond substitute? It refracts light similarly to a diamond, and disperses it throughout the stone creating a luster and brilliance that sparkles almost as brightly as a diamond.

Additionally, zircon gemstones have great clarity with minimal inclusions, however they are regarded as a brittle stone, not nearly as hard as diamonds despite the fact that they weigh 1.5 times more. Zircons also scratch and chip easily, which eliminates them as an ideal engagement ring centerstone candidate. 

white zircon - diamond alternative

Still, zircons are extremely rare, which is why they fetch hundreds of dollars per carat. Zircon is an incredible natural gemstone and a great alternative to diamonds. However, they’re not to be confused with…

Cubic Zirconia

While cubic zirconia is used in designer jewelry, it’s relatively affordable because it’s actually a lab-created stone. In general, cubic zirconia is a great diamond substitute for necklaces, earrings and bracelets. However, it’s not an ideal diamond alternative for engagement rings as it requires repeated polishing. It is not nearly as brilliant or sparkly as a diamond.

cubic zirconia - diamond alterniative

Goshenite

One of the lesser known diamond substitutes is called goshenite, and is a natural gemstone from the beryl family with beautiful transparency and clarity. However, unlike diamonds and some of the other diamond alternatives we’ve listed, goshenite stones don’t have the same brilliance or brightness. They also don’t hold up to diamonds as far as durability, however they have a hardness of 7.5-8, making them a good comparison to white topaz.

How To Choose The Right Diamond Alternative

As you can see, all of these colorless diamond alternatives have pros and cons, yet are in general cheaper than diamonds. How you choose to wear your diamond substitute will dictate with gemstone you choose. For example, if you want a durable gemstone and can afford more than a synthetic stone, white sapphire may be your best bet. If you’re buying diamond alternatives for earrings and want the brilliance of a diamond, choose white zircon. Lastly, if you want a placeholder while you’re on vacation or your ring is getting cleaned, cubic zirconia is your best bet.

Ready to find your perfect diamond substitute? Browse our wide collection of high quality natural gemstones!

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