It goes without saying…diamonds are quite expensive. Lab created diamonds and their natural counterparts are increasing becoming popular in the jewelry industry.
In this article, we’ll explore everything you need to know about diamond look-alikes, otherwise known as diamond imitation stones available in the jewelry industry.
Gemstones that Look Like Diamonds
Diamond Imitation Stones
Diamond imitation stones or look-alikes are not actual diamonds but gemstones that resemble it. These stones are known as diamond imitations or diamond simulants. Some of them are natural while other are lab created.
Common Gemstones That Can Replace Diamonds
Moissanites are considered more of viable diamond alternatives than diamond simulants since they’re gemstones on their own. The moissanites in the jewelry industry are all lab created.
Henri Moissan, discovered natural moissanite in Arizona in a crater. He initially thought the gemstone was diamond but later came to realize that it was a different gemstone. Originally, moissanite stones were thought to be as a result of a single meteorite collision on earth hence the name Stardust or Space Diamond.
Moissanite is extremely sparkly and equally brilliant as compared to diamonds since they have a high refractive index. Plus, moissanites have a disco ball effect. Moissanite stones are flashier when placed next to a diamond.
RECOMMENDED: Where to Buy Moissanite Rings Online
Unlike diamonds, moissanite stones don’t have the Gemological Institute of America’s 4Cs grading system. However, they come in Super Premium and Premium quality. Charles & Colvard is a renowned company that’s known to produce lab created moissanite stones and they carry Forever One Moissanite – the highest quality moissanite stones.
If you’re looking for a viable alternative to a diamond engagement ring, then moissanite is the way to go. It’s rated at 9.5 on Mohs hardness scale which means it has a pretty decent scratch resistance level. Diamonds are rated at 10 which makes them the hardest minerals on earth.
In this case, hardness always translates to Scratchability as opposed to the stone’s vulnerability and breakability. All gemstones can break or chip when hit at the right spot with a lot of pressure.
AVAILABLE ON CHARLESANDCLOVARD
Cubic zirconia, otherwise known as CZ is one of the most popular manmade stones. It’s a relatively cheaper diamond alternative on the market. Scientists came up with a way of synthesizing natural cubic zirconia owing to its rarity. In this case, you’ll need to take zirconium dioxide in powdered form then melt it with magnesium and calcium.
Natural cubic zirconia is a combination of zirconium dioxide, magnesium and calcium. Cubic zirconia crystals tend to form as the mixture cools down. At this point, they’re cut and faceted to relatively cheap diamond imitations.
Premium grade cubic zirconia jewelry pieces are quite limited since the gemstones aren’t set in precious metals like platinum and gold. There are a ton of options online even though you might not get hold of them in physical stores such as Zales and Kay Jewelers.
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One carat of cubic zirconia usually goes for about $5 to $30 which means that it’s quite affordable. The price of cubic zirconia rings is based on the metal and not the stone.
Cubic zirconia has a rating of 8 to 8.5 on Mohs scale of hardness. It works well for diamond imitation earrings and trainer jewelry for younger children as opposed to cubic zirconia engagement rings. What’s more, cubic zirconia comes in a range of colors that’s why it passes off as colored gemstones especially in cheap birthstone jewelry.
As earlier mentioned, cubic zirconia appears flashier when set side by side with an actual diamond. Diamonds usually have subtle brilliance while that of a cubic zirconia is quite noticeable. Cubic zirconia is known to display a brilliant rainbow light.
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Most people aren’t conversant with white sapphire as they tend to believe they only come in blue. Sapphires are from corundum a mineral that comes in a wide range of colors depending on the impurities mixed with it when forming.
Each color of corundum is sapphire save for red. Red corundum is usually known as ruby. If corundum doesn’t mix with any elements as it forms it results in colorless sapphire which is known as white sapphire in the jewelry industry.
Corundum usually has impurities when forming that’s why natural white sapphire is quite rare. For the most part, white sapphires available on the market tend to be lab created. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean that natural sapphire doesn’t exist.
White sapphires, lab created or natural are relatively cheap. Unlike other gemstones, their prices don’t go up based on setting and carat size. In fact, getting hold of 1 carat white sapphires is a bit tricky because the center stones of white sapphires are usually 2 carats and above.
You need to take proper care of white sapphire as they tend to become cloudy especially if left unattended. It’s brilliance and that of diamond stones is equally different since it has a more gray-toned and silvery light.
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Topaz comes in a variety of colors since it’s a semi-precious gemstone. White topaz is also known as colorless topaz in the jewelry industry. Topaz comes from silicate minerals and is a relatively affordable gemstone.
One of the most popular topaz colors are orange and blue. The latter is often confused for citrine. London blue topaz and blue topaz are usually sold together especially in fine jewelry. However, white topaz is rarely used as a center stone on engagement and wedding rings.
Just like diamond, white topaz is equally colorless but that’s where their appearance differs in similarities. The brilliance of white topaz is nothing close to diamond’s fire. That’s why white topaz is mostly used as a side stone. Check out this Blue Nile earring.
AVAILABLE ON BLUENILE
Topaz is cheaper than white sapphire. Plus, it falls on the lower side of the pricing spectrum. However, most people prefer white sapphire to topaz. The latter is rated at 8 on Mohs hardness scale which typically means that white topaz is more susceptible to scratch from dirt and dust in the air especially when worn daily.
Topaz is not best suited as a center stone for engagement rings because it doesn’t hold up well for long without scratching. A topaz center stone should be in protective settings like bezel or flush setting.
- Removable charms
- Keepadding on
- Make great gifts
- It tends to snag on fabrics
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You can find zircon all over the world including Sri Lanka, Burma, South Africa and United States among others. It’s one of the oldest diamond simulant and gemstone in the world.
Zircon is a word derived from the Persian dialect to mean gold colored. In addition, zircon comes in a variety of colors and a colorless version is no exception. Colorless zircon is one of the most sought-after diamond simulants.
Zircon jewelry pieces were quite popular before the inception of other trendy diamond imitations. Surprisingly, it’s brilliance and luster are almost similar to that of diamonds as compared to other gemstones on our list.
Unlike diamonds, zircon usually have double refraction. This means that a ray of light in the crystal is split into two, slowed and bent. Double refraction is also known as birefringence. Birefringence causes a rainbow light effect.
The rainbow light effect is quite stunning although it can make the zircon look fuzzy so ensure you check them out in different lighting. It’s as easy as it affordable to buy to buy zircon without inclusions since most of them are usually eye-clean. However, we can’t say the same about diamonds.
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Zircon are cheaper in smaller sizes but the prices can increase significantly when looking for large stones. The price of zircon ranges from $45 to $400 per carat. Zircons are not best suited for wedding and engagement rings.
Zircon is rated at 7.5 on Mohs hardness scale which makes it more susceptible to scratching. You might want to wear zircon jewelry pieces occasionally since they dull when scratched. Plus, it has a lot of negative reviews that make potential customers question their credibility.
However, most people tend to confuse zircon with cubic zirconia which is a cheaper manmade diamond simulant. Zircon and cubic zirconia are two different gemstones.
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Uncommon Gems That Look Like Diamonds
Clear quartz doesn’t come as traditional diamond simulants. For the most part, quartz is usually used in crystal healing and boho jewelry as opposed to in fine jewelry pieces. It’s often used in home décor more than it is in jewelry.
In addition, quartz comes in a wide range of colors. Yellow and purple are the most common quartz colors available on the market. Purple quartz is also known as amethyst and is the birthstone for those born in February.
The yellow version of the gemstone is known as citrine, the birthstone for those born in November. There’s a major difference in optical properties that’s why quartz is a less popular diamond simulant.
Quartz has a lower refractive index which means it doesn’t give of higher dispersion and neither does it sparkle. It also has double refraction with a brilliance that’s more like a twinkle. You can find quartz in fine jewelry retail stores. In this case, you might want to check out what your local jeweler has in store or go online.
Quartz is rated at 7 on Mohs scale of hardness just after white topaz. You might want to explore other options if you’re looking for everyday wear especially if you plan on using quartz as a diamond simulant. Most people usually wear quartz jewelry pieces with no connection to the stone’s transparency.
Clear quartz should be cut remarkably well to create the illusion of an actual diamond. You can grade diamond stones as good cut without compromising on their appearance but that doesn’t apply to quartz. Unlike diamonds, carelessly cut quartz tend to appear hazy or cloudy.
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Goshenite is beryl mineral in clear form. There are many types of mineral beryl but the most popular ones include pink, light blue and dark green gemstones varieties also known as morganite, emerald and aquamarine.
Most people don’t even know of the existence of goshenite even though it’s not frequently used as a diamond simulant. Goshenite is often used in crystal healing and metaphysical that’s why it doesn’t quite pass off as a diamond look-alike especially since lab created diamonds rose in popularity.
The refractive index of goshenite is lower than that of diamonds although it has a sparkle. Goshenite will sparkle but not as much as a diamond would. However, no one can really tell the difference in sparkle from a distance.
Goshenite is high maintenance as compared to diamonds which means it requires regular cleaning with mild soap and water after every wear. Beryl is rated at 7.5 on Mohs hardness scale meaning it’s prone to scratching especially when you wear it every day.
The stone can cloud over time and that’s where a jeweler comes into play since it’ll need polishing. You might want to explore other diamond look-alike alternatives if you don’t have time to keep up with your goshenite jewelry pieces.
You might notice that some of the gemstones mentioned above are barely used in jewelry pieces. Enter glass!
Glass is one of the cheapest diamond simulants when it comes to jewelry. However, it’s not an actual gemstone. It’s quite effective since it’s being mined constantly by people that are looking for gemstones. You can use glass in different types of jewelry pieces but a little less in top-notch retailers.
Most glass jewelry pieces are usually associated with handmade jewelry along with different cultures. Plus, the material passes off as a move valuable gemstone but it’s quite safe to use. However, there are situations that can occur when you buy from unknown or little known companies and gemstone dealers.
Glass isn’t sold anywhere especially as an engagement ring but an underhanded practice. This is because clear glass is rarely used as engagement rings. Check out the video below if you want to learn how glass rings are created;
It’s always advisable to buy jewelry pieces from a reputable retailer with a GIA certificate. You also need to go through the company’s return, refund and exchange policies in case you’re not satisfied with what you buy.
Always buy engagement rings or loose diamonds that usually come with diamond certification or a grading report especially when looking for authentic gemstones. You should go for gemstones with either AGS or GIA certification to avoid buying fake ones.
AGS and GIA certificates will not only help you get jewelry insurance but also ensure you get what you pay for without a hassle.
However, just like the gemstones, people have mastered the art of faking GIA certificates as well. That’s why you need to be cautious when shopping for authentic gemstones on the market. Avoid unknown sellers and skim through customer reviews to get a rough idea of what to expect from the company in question.
The reports are rarely fake. However, that doesn’t rule out the possibility of you landing on one especially on social media platforms like Facebook.
Final Thoughts – Gemstones that Look Like Diamonds
There’s a wide variety to choose from if you’re looking for diamond look alike gemstones available on the market.
All our recommendations of gemstones that look like diamonds come with their own advantages and their fair share of limitations. That’s why it’s always advisable to choose a gemstone that not only suits your lifestyle but also situation.
For instance, white topaz or clear quartz would be an excellent choice for a nurse that usually covers the ring or choose to keep it away when on duty. You might need to go for a gemstone with a higher hardness rating on Mohs hardness scale if you barely have time for routine maintenance and frequent upkeep. In this case, white sapphire or moissanite stones come highly recommended.
Moissanite stones are the best alternatives when it comes to diamond look-alike gemstones on the market. They’re relatively cheaper than diamonds but are the most expensive diamond simulants in the jewelry industry.
What’s more, you can get larger moissanite stones that shines brighter and have excellent fire as compared to diamonds at a cheaper price. Moissanite stones require very little in terms of upkeep that’s why they’re best suited for engagement rings owing to their high scratch resistance level.
Some people still believe that diamonds are the best gemstones in the world and others cannot compare. You might want a diamond but can’t just afford it and that is where its look-alikes come in handy.
Fortunately, there are a variety of gemstones that look like diamonds on the market. You can go for a lab created diamond if you’re looking for a premium grade eye-clean diamond at a relatively lower price than its natural counterpart of the same grade.
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Lab created diamonds are authentic diamonds with the same physical and optical properties like real diamonds. The only difference is that they’re grown in the lab for a few weeks as opposed to being produced in the ground for a couple of years.
Besides, you can’t tell the difference between natural and lab created diamonds with your bare eyes unless you do it under a microscope. James Allen comes highly recommended if you’re looking for high-quality lab created diamonds thanks to their free lifetime warranty and competitive prices.