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Gemstone Fever? Here Are the 6 Best Diamond Alternatives (2021)

Would you like to get diamonds but are short on cash? There are some alternatives you can consider. You will spend less and still get the same sparkle and fire just like diamonds.

You have stopped at the right site. Here, you will learn a few things including:

  • The best engagement ring gemstones you can buy in place of diamonds
  • How each of our picks on this list compares in prices
  • The color changes in each diamond alternative
  • And a lot more

Thinking of buying a beautiful pair or earrings, an engagement ring or perhaps bracelets? There a myriad other options that offer the same brilliance as natural diamonds do. You can pick any of these alternatives without denting your wallet too much.

If you are ready, let’s go straight to the options.

Best 6 Diamond Alternatives

Here is the list for the best diamond alternatives you can get for wedding and engagement rings. Along the list are best online places from where you can get each of the options and how they compare to each other.

  1. Lab grown diamonds from James Allen
  2. Moissanites from Helzburg Diamonds
  3. Cubic zirconia from Amazon
  4. White Sapphire from Brilliant Earth
  5. Opal from Blue Nile
  6. White Topaz from Zales

Why Opt For A Diamond Alternative?

Truth be told, diamonds are very expensive and daunting to shop for.

Before you even start shopping, let’s start from understanding the basics of diamonds: the 4Cs: carat, clarity, color and cut.

These four factors will help determine the quality of diamonds hence impacting on the final beauty and price of diamonds, once you understand this, you will find exactly what you are looking for and some remainder change too.

If you are looking for a gemstone that sends a statement and you cannot afford to buy diamonds, a diamond alternative is a good choice, just what you need.

Cubic zirconia, white sapphires and white topaz jewelry all offer the same beauty as diamonds at a lower cost. Apart from their similarity with diamonds, they offer a bonus in terms of their own unique features.

Get to know more about top diamond alternatives below.

1. Synthetic (Lab-Created) Diamonds

No doubt lab grown diamonds would top this list.

In case you did not know, lab created diamonds is similar to naturally formed diamonds just that they are created in the lab. They are the same in atomic value.

Lab diamonds have recently become very popular since they are cheaper than the diamond that forms in the ground over years. They are also a more legally and ethically accepted ways of purchasing diamonds. This is because you are sure the stone originated from the lab and not from a war torn area.

I pulled out a screenshot from Google Trends just to show you how lab diamonds have been fairing on for the last five years. Check it out below.

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Brilliance

There is actually no difference in brilliance between synthetic diamonds and natural diamonds. They are both diamonds after all with identical atomic structure. Lab diamonds are made from carbon atoms and not cubic zirconium. Cubic zirconias are made from zirconium dioxide and not carbon. Because of this structure, lab diamonds give you the same scintillation and fire you would get from mined diamonds.

Color

The same color grade system used in natural diamond is the one used to grade lab-created diamonds. The extremely tinted colors being graded from S-Z while the colorless rests at grade D.

RECOMMENDED READING: How the Color of Diamond Affects its Price

Price

This is where the big difference comes.  With lab diamonds, there is no cost incurred in mining and transportation from mining sites to warehouses. For this reason, the price of synthetic diamond is 50% less than that of natural diamonds.

Lab created diamonds start in the lab as small crystals and end in the lab as large gemstones. Therefore, there is no cost incurred in transporting it to the market for selling.

Below is an image that shows the same color of diamond, similar carat weight, identical cut and clarity but a big difference in the price. The one that is less than half the other is a lab created diamond.

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Lab diamonds just had to be the first on the list because you get nothing less than what you would with natural diamonds at a more affordable cost. Plus, you get to ethically buy diamonds.

Ready to but lab diamonds? Go straight to James Allen, you will get the best. Clean Origin has better priced pieces but their selection is limited.

2. Moissanite

Moissanites are the second hardest stones after diamonds with a rating of 9.5 on the Moh’s scale. They were discovered in 1893 by a French scientist known as Henri Moissan. Because of their high hardness rating, moissanites were initially thought to be diamonds.

After some time, it was found out that moissanites crystals were indeed made of silicon carbide.

RECOMMENDED READING: The Top Online Stores that Sell Moissanite
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Moissanites are very rare and that’s what makes them unique. The moissanites found today are mainly lab created. This gemstone is an excellent alternative to a diamond but very different from real diamond.

Brilliance

Diamonds are known to reflect light in three ways: scintillation, fire and brilliance. Moissanite on the other hand reflects light in very clear rainbow flashes (something similar to a disco ball). The difference in how these two gemstones reflect light is brought about by their faceting patterns.

Moissanites have a larger refractive index of 2.65 than diamonds which are 2.4, this makes it shine more. The bigger the moissanite piece you are looking at, the easier it is for you to notice the differences between it and real diamonds.

Color

Most of the moissanites you will find are colorless, although there are a few which have a grayish or yellow hue. If you compare colorless moissanites to colorless diamonds, you will notice that the moissanites appear to be colored and not bright.

Price

Moissanites are a cheaper option if you cannot afford real diamonds. Their prices tags are quite affordable compared to diamonds. The price of moissanites is determined by whether the gemstone is super premium or premium and also the size of the stone. If the moissanite features any other precious or additional stones, the price will definitely go up.

Of all the online jewelry stores, Helzburg Diamonds is the best place to buy moissanites. Brilliant earth is also a good place to get moissanites only that their prices are a little higher by 20%-30%.

3. Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia or CZ is a diamond stimulant commonly used in modern day jewelry designs. It is one of the best alternatives to diamond.

Von Staclzelberg and Chudoba are the two German miners who discovered cubic zirconia in 1937. It is created in the lab using zirconium dioxide and looks very similar to natural diamonds.

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When compared to other gemstones, CZ is number 3 on the hardness scale at 8.5 behind moissanite. Cubic zirconia is not as durable as diamonds; they can easily get scratched or chipped if not carefully handled.

Because of its delicate nature, it is hard to find jewelry owners taking their cubic zirconia pieces to a jeweler for repair.

Brilliance

Remember the brilliance in moissanites? The same is exhibited in CZ gemstones. The light dispersion of diamond and CZ is 0.044 and 0.066 respectively. With this level of dispersion, diamonds may appear whiter in sparkle. Cubic zirconia on the other hand emits very conspicuous rainbow strands.

Cubic zirconia has a refractive index of between 2.15 and 2.18: this is lower than diamonds. If brilliance is your top factor, I suggest you buy moissanites instead of cubic zirconia.

Color

A larger portion of cubic zirconia is synthesized in the lab. This gives freedom to gemologists to control its coloring. You will find that most cubic zirconia jewelry have a beautiful colorless look rated at D on the color grade.

You will also be lucky to find a few pieces of colored CZ that are identical to colored diamonds at lower prices.

Price

Cubic zirconia stones are created to exactly look like real diamonds making them colorless, blemish-free and in a range of shapes. This is arguably the cheapest diamond alternative that you will find on the market in princess and marquise cuts.

A diamond like this one from James Allen is I carat, is blemish free in D color range and fine cut is well over 411,000. 1 carat zirconia is an amazing low price, just $20. Notice the enormous difference, reason why CZ is a much better diamond alternative.

RECOMMENDED READING: How to Tell the Difference Between Ral and Fake Diamonds

4. White Sapphire

For a long time, white sapphire has been used to duplicate the beauty of diamonds in different types of jewelry. The commonly found sapphire stones include ruby and blue sapphire, although there are many other colored varieties of corundum.

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White sapphire is always obtained from corundrum that is free from trace elements. If such elements are present in the stone, the result is heavily colored corundrum.

White sapphire is a good option if you do not want diamonds. They boast of a desirable degree of hardness at 9 (higher than CZ and topaz) making them ideal for jewelry like rings meant for everyday wear. The tough nature makes it easy to withstand damages.

Brilliance

White sapphire does not shine as bright as diamonds, their refractive index is 1.77. This is one of the aspects that put white sapphire way below diamonds.

Color

In general, white sapphires are dull and unattractive. They have a milky or cloudy color and not colorless like diamonds. While shopping, pick a colorless white sapphire so that you can get the beauty of the ring or band.

Price

Diamonds are the most expensive of all gemstones. For you to get a beautiful alternative and in bigger carat weights, consider buying white sapphire. You can get white sapphire of the same carat size as diamonds for up to 15 times less.

5. Opal

Opal has recently become popular among jewelry lovers who are running a low budget. Just by looking at it, you can clearly see how different is from diamond. One outstanding feature of opals is that they have spectacular color displays that make them look very beautiful.

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Opal forms when silica gel fills in the cracks found in rocks. When water evaporates, the silica gets deposited in form of small spheres that pile on top of each other like minute ping-pong balls.

Opal is not as hard as other stones on this list; it scores between 5 and 6.5 on the hardness scale. This is very far from how hard diamond is. With this degree of hardness, opals are at risk of chipping, cracking and scratching. So, it would be wise if you keep any opal rings you may have for special occasions.

Brilliance

Opals do not shine, that is it. They don’t sparkle like other gemstones here and therefore we cannot even start comparing them to diamonds.

Most opal jewelry is referred to as being brilliant when they display vibrant colors and you can be able to distinguish one color from the other. When the colors are more intense, the opal is said to be more vibrant.

Color

Blue, red, orange, brown, dark grey to milky white, you can find opals in all these colors. Since we are comparing opals to diamonds, we shall concentrate more on light opal that has a milky white base.

The silica spheres found in the opal cause it to display different vibrant colors like violet, green, red, blue and other colors that are in that range. Opal that has big spheres causes the gemstone to produce red colors whereas smaller spheres produce violet rays. Other rainbow colors like green, yellow and blue are normally produced by spheres whose sizes fall in between.

When it comes to opals, there are no two gemstones that appear the same or have similar composition. This is common in diamonds.

Price

Just like other options from diamonds, opals can be acquired without getting into the extreme depths of your pocket. Even with the cheap cost, you will not compromise on the value. Let’s take these one carat diamond studs and compare its price to these pair of 7mm opal stud earrings. Both these pieces are 14K white gold, and almost the same size. The opal is 7mm while the diamond is 6.5mm. As you can see, the diamond studs are more expensive, 14 times expensive to be exact.

6. White Topaz

Want a quirky touch to your bracelets, engagement rings, wedding rings or any other jewelry, buy white topazes.

From fluorine and aluminum forms the not so precious white topaz. Of all the kinds of topazes, white topaz is the commonest and the purest. This topaz is normally treated in the laboratory to get more colors like blue.

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In terms of hardness, white topaz sits at 8 on the Measure of Hardness scale being more delicate that cubic zirconia and moissanite. We can therefore say that white topaz is too soft to be worn on daily basis since it can scratch and chipping very easily. This means that if you look to buy an engagement ring, white topaz is not the best option.

Brilliance

When compared to diamonds, white topazes are not that bright, their refractive index is 1.64. You will also realize that since white topaz is prone to scratches, it will slowly reduce its sparkle. The scratches and chips make it have a cloudy and dull look.

To be sure to get the most out of white topaz’s brilliance make sure you choose a stone that looks clean when viewed by the naked eye. It should not have any inclusions as this can affect its brilliance.

Color

The name white topaz does not mean that the gemstone is white in color. White topazes are colorless and look like glass. This is different from the scintillation and fire exhibited by diamonds.

Any impurities existing inside the gemstone have an effect on its color. In most cases, they make white topaz appear milky.

Price

White topazes are very common unlike real diamonds, the reason you will find them bearing affordable price tags. They are the perfect alternative to natural mined diamonds.

If we go with the same one carat and size of the earlier mentioned diamond, you would get white topaz jewelry at about $100-$150. This is an amazing 110 times cheaper.

Which is te Best Diamond Alternative?

The best diamond alternative can only be decided by you. There is no one fit for all. Personally, lab created diamonds would be a good fit.

By looking for an alternative, you are probably in search of a gemstone that replicates diamond properties but at a cheaper cost. If you wish to get more color, opal would be the best.

Read through the options we have discussed above and you are sure to get something that suits your needs, style and budget.

 

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