Cheaper Alternatives to Diamonds
There are several diamond alternatives available to suit individual preferences and budgets. These include moissanite, cubic zirconia, white sapphire, and lab grown diamonds.
If you’re not adamant on a certain gemstone shape, you could save around 10% by choosing less popular cuts. Remember, though, that not all stones are as hardy as diamonds and may become dull over time.
Moissanite is the most wallet friendly diamond alternative gem, offering the best sparkle and durability. It also comes in several different colors and shapes and is available in both round and princess cut.
It is made of silicon carbide and was discovered in 1893 by a French chemist named Henri Moissan. It was originally thought to be a diamond until it was determined that they did not possess the same molecular structure as real diamonds. Moissanite is considered a diamond simulant, meaning that it is crafted to mimic the visual characteristics of natural diamonds.
Another popular choice is cubic zirconia, which is a lab created gemstone that can be shaped to look very similar to a diamond. This option is much more affordable than diamonds and offers a brilliant sparkle that can be seen even in dim lighting. However, it is not as durable and may need to be re-polished after some wear and tear.
2. Cubic Zirconia
If you’re looking for a diamond alternative, cubic zirconia is one of the best options on the market. Although it isn’t as durable as moissanite or diamonds, it’s much cheaper and still a beautiful gem in its own right.
CZ is a crystal that was first discovered in Russia in the 1970s and is made in a laboratory. While it’s not a natural mineral, CZ is just as hard as diamonds and looks very similar. In fact, it can be difficult to tell the difference between a diamond and a cubic zirconia by sight alone.
While CZ is a good choice for those on a tight budget, other options like Moissanite and lab grown diamonds offer more durability and a closer look to natural diamonds. So if you’re interested in a real diamond, we recommend sticking with those options.
3. White Zircon
As its name suggests, White Zircon is a natural diamond substitute. It is mined in East Africa and usually heated to achieve its colorless appearance, but it is sometimes found in unheated forms. It is a very affordable gemstone, much less expensive than a real diamond.
While diamonds and white zircon may appear similar at first glance, they differ in their composition, hardness, and price. Understanding gemstone properties like refractive index and dispersion allows individuals to select a gemstone that will provide the best value for their individual needs and budget.
Whether choosing a natural sapphire for its durability, moissanite for its brilliance, or lab grown diamonds for their cost effectiveness, each gemstone offers unique benefits that can appeal to different preferences and budgets. Educating yourself about the various characteristics of gemstones ensures that you will be satisfied with your selection for years to come. This article originally appeared in Rock & Gem magazine. Click here to subscribe!
4. Lab Grown Diamonds
Lab diamonds are human-made, chemically, physically and optically identical to natural ones — so only specialist equipment can distinguish them. They are also ethically sourced (instead of mined) and have a smaller environmental impact than mined diamonds.
Because they are so new to the market, however, it isn’t known how well lab grown diamonds will hold their value over time. For this reason, if you’re considering a piece of jewelry that you might want to sell or pass down in the future, we would recommend a natural diamond.
Still, if you’re an eco-conscious buyer looking to make a socially responsible purchase, lab diamonds are worth considering! And the options are ever-growing. One of our favorite places to shop for lab created pieces is Blue Nile. They prioritize customer education and provide transparent pricing so you can find the best deal. Plus, they work with respected vendors who adhere to the Kimberley Process standards so you can feel confident about their sourcing.