December 01, 2022

Are you looking for the perfect engagement ring but on a tight budget? Are you looking for a less expensive diamond alternative for your jewelry collection? In that case, you came to the right place for advice.

Although people are opting for the non-traditional style and going for more colorful gems, it’s hard to say no to the classic white brilliance of the diamond that goes so well with everything. Diamonds, however, are known to be expensive piece-of-jewelry, which is why people are trying to find low-cost alternative options. People are resorting towhite or colorless gemstones as great alternatives. We will discuss each of the best kinds with you, so keep reading!

With cutting-edge technology, we live in a world where we can cater tohigh-class jewelry that can both be eco-friendly and budget-friendly. However, we all know that nothing is made perfectly. There are both advantages and disadvantages to choosing alternatives.

Pros Of Diamond Substitutes

Cost is the top issue that people have with diamonds. Diamond substitutes are less expensive than naturally mined diamonds by 20-40%.  Another aspect of choosing diamond alternatives is its impact (or lack thereof) on the environment. Water and energy usage, carbon emissions, and the waste generated are the products after mining. It shows how this is a harsh process for the environment to get your gems. It is why environmentalists prefer lab-made diamonds.

Cons Of Diamond Substitutes

In terms of durability, nothing beats a diamond’s strength. If you opt for diamond alternatives, especially other natural crystals that might not fit your active lifestyle. Also, other crystals would not have the same sparkle as the diamond. It is hard to recreate that.

To aid you in the best option for diamond alternatives, these would be your best bet;

1. Lab-made Diamonds

Lab-made diamonds are the by-product of people who have long studied the reproduction of gemstones produced under heat and pressure deep within the earth’s crust. The research into making the perfect lab-made diamond started in the mid-twentieth century and was first manufactured by a General Electric Chemist named Tracy Hall.

Due to the advanced cutting-edge technology, the replicated diamond is known to be physically, chemically, and optically identical to mined diamonds. They are considered the closest replica of a diamond on the same 4Cs scale. They also rank tenth on the Mohs scale of relative hardness. Due to these attributes, it is the most expensive choice among diamond alternatives. 

2. Moissanite

Moissanite can be both a naturally grown and lab-made mineral made up of very rare silicon carbide. It was discovered over 120 years ago and has been lab-grown since 1990. Scientists used to heat and pressure to create crystals from silicone and carbon, identical to the natural structure of moissanite. It is a long process of two to three months to take a single gem to be created.

Comparing this to the diamond, this costs roughly one-tenth of a mined diamond. It is cheaper and ranks 9.25-9.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. They are considered the hardest naturally occurring mineral, ideal for everyday wear. It has over twice the dispersion value of a diamond, which creates a rainbow-like reflection compared to the white light reflection of the diamond. Also, in a diamond, the color range may vary. Moissanite traditionally has a yellow or green tint. 

Unlike how you would shop for a diamond thinking about the 4Cs, for this gem, you have to think of brilliance and variety. Its brilliance may be more than a diamond and other gemstones in general. 

3. Cubic Zirconia

Cubic Zirconia has been a great competitor for diamonds, gemologically and economically, since its production back in 1976 because of its durability, low cost, and visual likeness to diamonds. However, as a lab-grown gem, its high competitor is the lab-grown Moissanite.

This gem is known for its brilliance and dispersion. Dispersion or “fire” is the colors of a gem coming from within a finely cut gem.

However, one of the disadvantages of this gem is its weak durability. It is also porous, which absorbs oils from your skin that make it dull over time. 

Natural Gemstones

If you prefer to keep it all-natural, there are natural gemstones that could take the place of diamonds in yourrings. Here are the best types of gemstones for you.

4. White Sapphire

Do you also associate sapphires with the royal blue color? You’re not to blame here because that color has been considered a classic for sapphires. However, sapphires have other colors like peach, pink, teal, yellow, and white.

White sapphire has elevated quite a bit in popularity when used for engagement rings. You may also find lab-made white sapphires now, but natural gems are still preferred. It ranked ninth on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which meant it has excellent durability for everyday wear and tear. Moreover, this is much less expensive in comparison to the price tag of a diamond. 

A notable difference that this could have with a diamond is its scintillation. With this, consumers could tell how the white sapphire has a softer appearance than a diamond.  Another downside of the white sapphire is that you will find inclusions in it since it is a naturally-made stone. Inclusions may be able to enhance the look of colored sapphires, but for white sapphires, this dulls their look.

5. White Zircon

Zircon is different from cubic zirconia. Zircon is a natural mineral, while cubic zirconia is now often lab-made because of its clarity. Zircon’s winning characteristics are its brilliance and dispersion. Zircon already has a long history of being a diamond before cubic zirconia and moissanite were popular.

It’s not as hard as the sapphire but still ranks a high refractive index, more fire than sapphire, and about 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs Scale.

Not to be confused with synthetic cubic zirconia, zircon is a natural mineral. With its excellent brilliance and dispersion, it has a long history as a diamond simulant. In terms of appearance, zircon comes closer to diamond than any other mined gemstone. However, in terms of durability, it's far more fragile. It will easily chip and abrade with wear. Nevertheless, white zircon is affordable and readily available, making replacement easy.

Those are your top 5 options on the market. Remember these choices, as there could be many other cheaper options you could choose from, but they are far lesser than the diamond.  

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