When it’s time to buy an engagement ring most people are looking at precious stones for the first time in their lives. For some, their dream ring seems unattainable after seeing the price tag. Others may find diamonds unappealing for ethical reasons.
Whatever the reason for considering a diamond alternative, you have options. Let’s take a look at two diamond alternatives that will look just as good and last just as long as a natural diamond.
Moissanite was discovered in 1893 by French scientist Henri Moissan. He initially thought he had found diamonds, until realizing his discovery had a different chemical compound.
It’s easy to see why Henri was fooled - you need a sharp eye to tell the difference between a diamond and a moissanite. Natural moissanite is quite rare, so today they are lab created and engineered to look incredibly similar to diamonds.
Just like diamonds, moissanite will have a range of color quality. Some moissanite will have a bit of a yellow or green tint, and some will be closer to colorless. The color you choose for your stone should depend on the size of the stone and your ring setting. The larger the stone, the more noticable any color will be.
If a moissanite and diamond are side by side the main difference is the sparkle.
Moissanite is actually more brilliant than diamonds and you can see a wider spectrum of colors in the sparkle. This characteristic, along with the more affordable price tag, has made
moissanite a major player in the jewelry industry.
Lab Created Diamonds
Lab created diamonds are exactly the same as a natural diamond except for one thing: where they're formed. Lab created diamonds are grown in a lab by a scientist instead of formed in the earth’s mantle. They share the same chemical composition so even an expert gemologist would not be able to tell the finished product apart!
It’s a common misconception that lab grown stones (also called cultured or engineered diamonds) are flawless, but that is not the case. Just like a natural diamond, they will have imperfections and vary in quality. Lab created diamonds are graded using the 4 C’s so you can pick the quality that works for you. These stones aren’t the least expensive diamond alternative, but they will save you about 20%-30% compared to a natural diamond.
As long as you’re okay with your diamond taking 8 weeks to grow in a lab instead of 1 billion years in the ground, there’s no reason not to consider a lab created diamond.
Moissanite and lab created diamonds are the best option for someone wanting a look that’s as close to a diamond as possible. Moissanite is the gemstone that will deliver the most similar look at the best price. But, other gemstones can also be used as a diamond alternative. They won’t have the exact look of a diamond, but a unique white gemstone can really make an engagement ring stand out.
White sapphire and topaz are the most common substitutes for a white diamond, while citrine can give you the look of a canary diamond. You can learn all about those and other popular gemstones - in our Guide to Engagement Ring Gemstones.
There are more options than ever before when it comes to engagement rings. Get to know your options and decide what will work best for you! No matter what look or budget you are going for, the perfect stone is out there.