Top 4 Diamond Alternatives
“Diamond alternatives offer beauty, ethicality and affordability
Looking for a good alternative to a diamond? Whether you have budgetary concerns or a sense of social consciousness and strong ethical feelings about purchasing a so-called “conflict” or “blood” diamond, there are several viable options available these days.
Much has been done in recent years to prevent diamonds from areas of conflict from entering into the supply chain. Diamonds nowadays are monitored at every point of the diamond pipeline, from mining through to retail. Today it is said that 99% of all diamonds certified through the Kimberley Process are conflict free, but nevertheless concerns remain.
Often times it’s this concern over a conflict free gemstone that will lead people to purchase a diamond alternative. Often man-made. The two other reasons: budget and personal preference.
Lustour for a Diamond Alternative
Lustour, a carbon-based, laboratory produced, patented, artificial stone that that has the brilliance and luster of a diamond, but without the possible stigma that may be attached to natural diamond production.
A Lustour stone costs much less than a diamond, and it is almost always flawless and colorless, graded D-E-F. It has 8 point Hearts and Arrows patterns and is available in all popular shapes, sizes, and cuts such as a Round Brilliant, Cushion, Princess, Pear, Emerald, Marquise, and Asscher.
Lustour has almost the same hardness as a natural diamond (9.5 vs. 10 on the Mohs scale) and for all intents and purposes is equally as durable. You can also buy Lustour stones in pink, blue and yellow as well as clear. They make a beautiful and durable alternative to a diamond.
A side note about the Lustour Diamond. Although it’s not an actual diamond, we have NEVER seen anything quite like it. Simply put, you can’t tell the difference with your naked eye. You would be hard pressed to see the difference under a microscope. We’ve been selling them as a diamond alternative for about 5 months now, and not only are we impressed, but our customers have been, as well. Not just about it’s beauty, but at the extremely low price. If a diamond is not in your budget, you should definitely call and ask us about the Lustour alternative. It’s the best of the best in diamond alternatives.
Moissonite as a diamond alternative.
Moissanite, also known as silicon carbide was first discovered in 1893 by the Nobel Prize-winning French chemist Dr. Henri Moissan at the site of a huge meteorite strike in Arizona.
The tiny particles he unearthed were initially mistaken for diamond due to their hardness and brilliance, but after testing them, they were identified as naturally-occurring silicon carbide. This fascinating new stone was named Moissanite in his honor, and Moissan spent the rest of his life attempting to re-create this exceptional mineral, which is among the hardest on Earth (9.25 on the Mohs scale,) in his laboratory.
Moissanite is a unique, near colorless jewel – and is not a diamond simulant. It is its own jewel. This means than when you compare real Moissanite to a diamond you are looking at two different gemstones with different qualities. Naturally occurring Moissanite is very rare; however, since 1995, advanced technology has allowed the firm of Charles & Colvard to develop a way to duplicate it and they hold the patent for its manufacturing process as well as for its use as a jewel.
Moissanite is forever brilliant, brighter, more scintillating and less expensive than a diamond at about $700 – $800 per carat compared with $1400 – $1600 per carat for a diamond. Its fire, or dispersion is 2.4 times that of diamonds. It is scratch resistant, does not break easily and is extremely heat tolerant. And, of course, it is also conflict free and sustainable.
If we had to put these in order of the best to the worst of the best, Moissonite as a diamond alternative would be ranked right up there directly behind the Lustour.
Cubic Zirconia as a diamond alternative.
We’ve all seen jewelry made of Cubic Zirconia. In scientific terms it is actually the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide. It is a hard, synthetic material, and to the untrained eye looks absolutely flawless. It is usually colorless, but can come in a variety of different colors including yellow, pink, purple, green, and even multi-colored.
It should not be confused with zircon (zirconium silicate). In fact, Cubic Zirconia is often mistakenly called “cubic zirconium.” It is very low cost and very durable, though not quite as hard as a natural diamond (Cubic Zirconia has a rating of approximately 8 on the Mohs scale vs. 10 for a diamond.) A Cubic Zirconia gemstone can become scratched and cloudy with time, not only because it is softer than a diamond, but because it also has a tendency to absorb oils.
Because of the difference in hardness, Cubic Zirconia jewelry pieces – especially every day wear such as wedding ring sets and bands – require a lot more special care than rings and jewelry made with diamonds. On the positive side, Cubic Zirconia has an excellent refractive index of 2.15–2.18, compared to a diamond’s 2.42 and its dispersion is very high at 0.058–0.066, exceeding a diamond’s 0.044. It is often flawless, equivalent to a D color rating, which is very rare in a natural diamond.
Does a cubic zirconia look fake? Some people say they cannot tell the difference. The larger Cubic Zirconia stones tend to sparkle too much (if that’s possible), giving themselves away, so that will be an issue if you don’t want people to suspect you have an artificial stone in your ring. You can often see an overly brilliant rainbow effect in the stone, which can also look fake.
As a rule, using a cubic zirconia as a diamond alternative would serve you better if the carat weight was small. .45 cts. or less. This is because they have a tendency to look fake and cloudy the bigger the carat weight. However, this is just our opinion. But if you were to put a cubic zirconia next to a moissonite, a lustour, and a diamond you would definitely see the difference.
White sapphire as a diamond alternative.
What about white sapphires? These are a colorless form of sapphire used in a wide range of jewelry as a substitute for a diamond.
Sapphires tend to be much less expensive than diamonds, and are “politically correct.” Most white sapphires are heat or chemically treated to obtain the desired clear color, as it is very rare to find naturally occurring white sapphires.
Natural sapphires are found in Southeast Asia, India, parts of Africa, the Middle East, and in the Western states of America. The stones also come in a wide range of colors including purple, yellow and brown, despite the traditional association with the color blue. Grey to light yellow natural stones are often treated to become clear, and some companies also grow their own stones, creating synthetic sapphires which are chemically identical to the real thing.
A synthetic white sapphire tends to be less expensive, because laboratory-grown gems are seen as inferior, however the quality can be almost as good as in a natural sapphire. White sapphires can be cut and polished to be an extreme degree of brilliance. They are extremely hard (rating of 9 on the Mohs scale), making them almost as durable as diamonds.
White Sapphires as a diamond alternative is a tricky one to predict. There are some sapphires that you would swear are diamonds, others not so much. You have to picky and choose a white sapphire that has an excellent cut. This is why whenever a customer wants a white sapphire in place of a diamond, we always check the sapphire out ourselves.
Personally, I would choose a white sapphire over a cubic zirconia. They are very pretty, they are tough, but definitely have a professional look them over for you to see how well it’s cut.
This is a Lotus Flower Ring in yellow gold featuring a one carat white (colorless) sapphire center gemstone. All Sapphire colors are available including Yellow, Pink and Blue. Various shapes and sizes also available.
Conclusion to Diamond Alternatives.
There are many alternatives to the traditional diamond, especially if budget is an issue. At bloomingbeautyring.com we can suggest ways to help you by, for instance, substituting your center stone for Moissanite or another alternative diamond, to help you stretch your budget to the max – and still create a stunning ring.
If you ask us for our opinion on what’s the best diamond alternative, the order would look like this:
- White Sapphire
- Cubic Zirconia
Keep in mind, for the most part, no one will ever know that you have a diamond alternative, especially if it sparkles. In the end, the best thing you can do, is stay within your budget, and we can help you with that. Whatever your budget we will always do our best to work within it to give you the best unique engagement ring possible. Over time, if you choose, you can always upgrade to a diamond.