What are the Best Alterative to Diamonds?

Sharif Khan
Sharif Khan
Last Updated    EST 
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Are you in the process of shopping for new jewelry or considering the purchase of an engagement ring? Some of the most popular precious stones used in creating engagement rings include natural diamonds, lab-grown diamonds, natural gemstones, white sapphires, and moissanite. However, there are significant differences in their brilliance as well as their cost. This article aims to provide comprehensive information about each of the listed stones to assist you in making the right decision before investing your hard-earned cash.

Key Highlights

  • We have collaborated with thousands of clients, including those on a tight budget. As a result, we have determined that the best option by far is a natural, unenhanced diamond graded by GIA.
  • In the second category, we highly recommend lab-grown diamonds.
  • We strongly advise against choosing white sapphires as they tend to be dull and lack fire and brilliance. Three years ago, we purchased two white sapphires and set them in beautiful diamond settings. However, we didn't even consider selling them to our clients because of their lackluster appearance. Eventually, we removed them from the settings and disposed of them.
  • To summarize, if you have a decent budget, opt for a GIA-graded natural diamond. If not, consider a high-quality lab-grown diamond or Moissanite.


Diamonds are considered to be among the most widely used and most popular stones in the jewelry industry. Right from the first engagement ring made from diamond, recorded in 1477, to today, diamonds are always in high demand. Popularly known for their fire and sparkle, most people are known to spend billions on jewelry made from diamonds every year. The total amount spent on buying diamond rings is often more than all the other stones combined.

How Diamonds are formed

Diamonds do form naturally below the crust of the earth. At first, they start as carbon which is exposed to extremely high temperatures which is approximately 2,200 degrees Fahrenheit and thereafter squeezed using immense pressure of around 725,000 pounds in every square inch. The hot rocks are thereafter blasted to the surface through the deep eruptions of the volcano. They cool down at the surface, retaining their shape.

After the diamond has surfaced, the natural form of the diamond is rough with milky skin, which is responsible for hiding the spark inside. It is never easy to get precise cuts, and it will take an experienced cutter to get cuts that will give the diamond the brightest shine.

The facets are known to work like mirrors, making light bounce in and out of the stone's clearest part.


“Diamond Forever” is one of the most common slogans used worldwide. This slogan symbolizes everlasting love and is a real diamond without any limit to existence when taken good care of. A portion of the eternal appeal of the diamond lies in its durable nature. This means that indestructible or invincible, the diamond gets to 10 on the Mohs hardness scale, making them the hardest known naturally found material on earth. This makes them scratch resistant, not unless they get scratched by another diamond. They are also resistant to chipping and breaking. Diamonds are also known to be very stable since they can withstand extreme temperate and chemical changes. This makes diamond one of the greatest investments and will always be passed on to the next generations.

Characteristics of Diamonds

Every diamond that comes from the earth will always be unique and will be issued with a value and identity depending on the following factors:

Diamonds are available in a wide range of colors, from brown to yellow. However, most people are known to covet and recognize colorless diamonds. Diamonds have high brilliance, fire, and a 2.4 refractive index. Although this might appear to make diamonds perfect, other natural features also do. Several diamonds are known to have imperfections, which are referred to as inclusions. The naturally made irregularities and several other factors like carat weight, cut, and color will affect the diamond cost. Although there are diamonds that are clearer and can be found at a steeper cost, lots of people are proud of their uniqueness and inclusion. The diamond's carat weight is an obvious factor in determining the value.

Reasons Why You Should Choose Diamond

Diamonds are among the most popular and sought-after engagement ring stones. If you or your partner are interested in a durable, white, and sparkly treasure naturally found on earth, and you have enough budget and are not interested in the stone’s origin, then the diamond is the right stone for you. Diamonds do have extreme durability and refractive index, making them last forever.

Lab-Grown Diamonds

Most people are known to think that lab-grown diamonds are never real diamonds. Although lab-grown diamonds are never extracted from earth but cultured in laboratories instead, their physical characteristics and chemical composition are usually similar to those of the diamonds.

This stone is known to be as great and as dazzling as the mined diamonds. The lab-grown diamonds are also known as synthetic diamonds due to their man-made nature. However, some people feel that the word synthetic does not fit well with their diamond nature. The difference between a mined diamond and a lab-grown diamond is their origin.

With the word synthetic being associated with consumers having imitation items, the artificial diamonds are made from the same material type.

How Lab-grown Diamonds are made

Most lab-grown diamonds are usually grown using high-pressure, high-temperature crystal formation or chemical vapor deposition. The carbon atoms are removed from the carbon-rich vapor found in the chamber. The crystal structure of the stone forms and is built up until the diamond forms. This procedure can take up to three months for most lab-grown diamonds. There are times when it can take much longer. Natural diamonds do take several years to form.

Reasons Why You Should Choose the Lab-grown Diamonds

If you are pleased with the sparkle, history, and appearance of the diamond but are concerned with the sustainable and ethical origin of the bling, then going for the lab-grown diamond is the best way out if you are interested in an engagement ring. With the lab-grown diamond, you will not only be getting a genuine diamond, but you will also get to know the origin of your diamond since it was made in the laboratory. However, we need not forget that lab-grown diamonds are more expensive than mined diamonds.

White Sapphire

White Sapphire is used to refer to a colorless sapphire. Although most people consider the sapphires to be blue gemstones, they are available in various colors such as yellow, white, green, and pink.

Being part of the corundum minerals family, the sapphires are an aluminum oxide type that consists of copper, iron, titanium, and chromium traces. The minerals that are available in the composition of the stone will help in designating its color.

White sapphires are normally used as a diamond substitute, thanks to their lower price and lack of color. From the cut perspective and color, the sapphire ring will provide a similar appearance to diamond jewelry with only a few compromises.

The white sapphires are cheaper compared to the diamonds. In most cases, the white sapphires will always be grey or yellow stones that have been treated free or by the use of chemicals. This means they will undergo a particular procedure to help them achieve their clear color.

Despite there being natural white sapphires, they are very rare to come by. The majority of the natural sapphires are usually found in Africa, Southeast Asia, and Western part of the US, and the Middle East.

We do have two main types of white sapphires used in making jewelry:

  • Lab-created white sapphires
  • Natural white sapphires

Despite the white sapphires being clear in color, they are known to exhibit a cloudy white hue which offers one way to identify them when compared to the diamonds. These white sapphires measure nine on the hardness Mohs scale, making them among the most durable stones.

4C’S of White Sapphire

Diamonds are usually evaluated depending on their four: cut, color, clarity, and carat. However, this is different in the white sapphires.

For instance, the GIA never grades the white sapphires, but instead, they will always offer a report containing basic details like treatment, color, and carat weight. The 4C’S are important components that should always be considered, although there are other features like saturation level, purity, and color tone which must be looked into the well.

The conventional standards used in white sapphire grading do not exist in the same way they do for diamonds. The subjective characteristic that varies from one individual to another instead of something which can be measured is the beauty of color.

Because of this, it is widely recommended that the white sapphire be evaluated depending on how appealing it is to you without any form of magnification.


There are wide ranges of cutting styles that exist when talking about colored gemstones. Grading scales and details of each cutting style and colored gemstone would be an unfruitful and large undertaking for any laboratory.

The laboratory grading system has never figured out the need to have most of the colored gemstones go through the standard grading cut.

It is important you take note of the following when analyzing the quality of the white sapphire cut.

You can consider having a lot at this stone without the window. The window is used in this context to refer to the stone’s back visible through the table. In case the window is available in the white sapphire, it will reveal that there is no color or light reflection.

The review symmetry grade will help in assessing the balance and proportions of the stone together with its length-to-width ratio.

Balance assessment: check if the girdle is uneven and culet off center. All these factors will affect the balance of the white sapphire, and it is advisable to consider them.

Consider the size of the table. It is important that you have a look for the white sapphire using a table size ranging 33-67%. This means the table will not be too large or too small for light to pass freely.

Brilliance watch, you must consider if the light reflects and sparkles from the sapphire or if the stone is dull.


Colored gemstone hue is one of the most sensitive elements you need to factor in when shopping for a white sapphire. The purer the white sapphire is, the better it is. Fire and brilliance do not matter much in the white sapphires compared to the diamonds. You should judge the color of the sapphire with what you see with your naked eye and the appeal of the stone. If the color is consistent all through, you should conclude that the stone is valuable. However, a white sapphire with uneven coloring will be less appealing.

Most of the white sapphires are color treated, making them less expensive than the white sapphires that are naturally occurring. The stone can either be chemically or heat treated depending on the composition of the stone and desired effect.


Gemstones that are colored tend to have more blemishes and inclusions than diamonds. However, the majority can only be noticed under 10 x magnifications. In order to evaluate the clarity of the white sapphire, it is important that you closely review the stone using your own eyes in order to determine if there are any inclusions and blemishes visible and if they can take away from the overall beauty of the stone.


You need to remember that sapphire’s weight can also be referred to as carat. For example, a 1- carat sapphire will be equivalent to 200 milligrams or 0.2 grams. This means that its weight is nearly the same as a raisin quarter. With carat being used in measuring weight depending on the shape of the sapphire and how it has been cut, 2 one carat sapphires can be of different sizes. One needs to consider the weight of the carat, although the overall beauty of the sapphire needs to carry more benefits.

Pricing and Rarity

Just like other types of gemstones, the white sapphires price does vary depending on their rarity, size, and quality. By now, you are aware of how the rarity and size of the white sapphire are capable of affecting the price and the availability of the sapphire.


Moissanite is known to be among the rarest minerals that occur naturally. This stone was discovered a century ago at a place where a meteorite struck in Arizona. It does have similar looks to diamonds. However, scientists managed to develop a thermal growing process aimed at creating silicon carbide crystals that make the Moissanite in the laboratory.


Moissanite is known to be among the hardest gemstones currently available on Earth. In terms of durability, it is only second to the diamonds. Moissanite is harder than stones such as rubies, sapphires, and emeralds and is a great option for our day-to-day wear. The moissanite is capable of withstanding day-to-day exposure and has great resistance to breaking or scratching. On the Mohs scale, it has a 9.25 ranking. It is also a very tough stone; hence, it can never cleave or chip easily. It is also capable of withstanding high temperatures and is in a position to maintain the sparkle.

Selecting the Moissanite Color

You can always choose from three color groups when selecting Moissanite to purchase. There is the colorless (D-E-F), there is the near-colorless (G-H-I), and there is the slightly tinted (J-K). The gemstones which are colored are more desirable and are always premium.

Moissanite usually tends to have brown, green, or yellow tints; hence, it is always advisable for one to have a careful look at the stone before buying it. This will help in ensuring there are no undesirable colors. In case you are interested in a colored Moissanite, getting one can sometimes be pretty difficult. Currently, the initial makers of Moissanite jewelry, Colvard and Charles, are known to offer only the green Moissanite. However, they didn’t have any listed on their website at this time.

Characteristics of a Moissanite

Carat Size of Moissanite

Despite having a similar look, Moissanite is known to be denser than diamonds. This means it is heavier. When comparing the Moissanite and the diamond of the same carat weight, the Moissanite will always be smaller in appearance. You will always notice that some vendors go for carat weight as others take Moissanite measurements in millimeters when shopping for Moissanite.


Moissanite is known to have an excellent sparkle and is considered one of the greatest gemstones. This stone is known to have what is popularly known as the rainbow effect, which is a colorful and fiery flash of color when viewing the stone under the light. All this can be attributed to the high refractive index of Moissanite at 2.65.

Although this is never visible in the smaller stones, the larger Moissanite can exhibit a stronger rainbow effect. If this is something you would like to avoid, then the smaller stone will be suitable for you.


Since Moissanite is created in the lab, there is always lots of control over the final product. The majority of the Moissanites are known to have faint inclusions. They are usually in the shape of small and thread-like inclusions that form during the creation process of the stone. In most cases, the flaws will only be visible through magnification, and the stone will always appear eye-clean.

Resale Value and Price

With Moissanite being considered an alternative to diamonds, never expect the stone to be cubic zirconia cheaply. Since cubic Moissanite is a relatively affordable gemstone,  they are still in a position to command high prices when they are of high quality. Creating the Moissanite, which is never cheap, takes lots of effort and is resource-consuming.

The Moissanite prices do vary depending on the quality and brand. However, 1 carat colorless stone generally costs approximately $ 600. The resale value of the Moissanite is never known at this stage since it is still a new gemstone. With the technology used in creating it still expanding and advancing, estimating its resale value is still difficult.

Reasons Why You Should Choose the Moissanite

  • They are cheaper compared to other gemstones.

For example, a Moissanite carat costs $600, while a near-colorless one-diamond carat costs $500. However, the Moissanite price will be determined by whether it is enhanced or not and the size. Going for an enhanced Moissanite means it has been subjected to a process that will make it whiter. Otherwise, the Moissanite tends to have a yellow tint in most cases. It is always advisable for one to research Moissanite prices before they go shopping.

  • Extreme Brilliance

Moissanites are known to be very sparkly. They are known to have an excellent refractive index. This will create a higher sparkle compared to that of the diamond. All the sparkles are rainbow-colored instead of colorless.

  • Better Clarity

No moissanite will be sold unless the clarity grade is VS or above. The grade means there are no visible flaws. On the other hand, diamonds have flaws that the naked eye can see.

  • Ethically Created

The Moissanites are never mined from the earth, unlike the diamonds. The moissanite will usually be grown in a controlled lab environment. This will do away with warfare and unfair labor practices. They do have a much smaller carbon footprint. All the reasons listed make the Moissanites an environmentally friendly engagement ring choice.

Natural Gemstones as an Alternative

As you already know, a gemstone is a rock or mineral used in jewelry after faceting, cutting, and polishing. The gemstones are known to have varying beauty features, and most gems are available in a great variety of colors. The gemstones have been used in the jewelry industry for years. Diamonds are among the most popular gemstones, although other types of gemstones appear great in jewelry.

There are many varieties of gemstones, and purchasing a gemstone or jewelry made from gemstones has never been an easy task. It is important for any aspiring buyer to first get some knowledge of gemstones together with their characteristics before making any purchase. You can always get a detailed guide on every aspect of gemstones in our guide.

The tips mentioned below will be of great help in enabling one to get the most suitable color stone. In most cases, people are known to consider the 4C’s: clarity, color, carat, and cut. However, the system of grading is not that uniform. The 4C’s will help in selecting the best gemstones.

Gemstone Color

  • When shopping for a colored gemstone, you should always prioritize the gemstone color. They should never be too light or too dark. The best gemstone is pure, bright, rich, vivid color and intense color.
  • One best way you can always see the best gemstone color is by looking at it against the white surface.
  • It is advisable that you always check the gemstones under different light conditions when buying them. If the gemstone contains color range features, it should display a strong color change between alternative exposure to incandescent light and daylight sources.

Gemstone clarity

  • In most cases, the colored gemstones will be examined from the face or top-up position. When shopping for a gemstone, you must always check it from the top, and if a flaw or inclusion is not reveal in the face-up position, it will never affect its beauty and value. In the same scenario, if a gemstone hides an inclusion, it will never affect its beauty and value.
  • It is always possible to examine a gemstone's imperfections using the microscope or the jeweler's 10X magnifying glass.
  • When shopping for a gemstone, you should emphasize its color more than clarity.

Gemstone Cut

  • When shopping for a gemstone, you should always go for an ideal gemstone cut of the right shape. A good cut will never cost more but can add or subtract the beauty of gemstones.
  • You must ensure the gemstone is well-polished and has excellent symmetry. To balance it, you must ensure the stone is symmetrical in all measurements.
  • Always give preference to the personal choice of the wearer when shopping for a gemstone. The gemstone carat weight will always depend on your budget.
  • You will have to purchase a gemstone that is averagely sized with good clarity, color, and cut instead of a large gemstone that has no good clarity, color, and cut.
  • ‘Carat’ is different from ‘Karat, ' which is used to describe the purity and fineness of gold.

Treated/Enhanced Gemstone

  • When shopping for a gemstone, it is always important to check whether it is treated or natural and, if it has been enhanced or treated, what treatment method was used.
  • Enhanced or treated gemstones are less expensive than non-treated or natural gemstones.
  • When shopping for enhanced or treated gemstones, it is always advisable that you ask the jeweler whether the treatment is temporary or permanent and if the stone will require any special care.

Gemstone Certificate

  • You should always ask for a gemstone certificate when shopping for a costly gemstone. Although it might cost you a little more money, it will offer you the required peace of mind since you will be sure you will be getting your value for money.
  • Having a gemstone certificate will provide you with the stone's right details, and depending on this information, you can make some comparisons before you make the actual purchase.
  • Having a gemstone certificate will make it possible for you to pay money depending on the characteristics of the stone. The jeweler will never be able to charge you more, and you will have higher chances of getting the best deals.
  • On gemstone resale with its certificate, you will be able to get improved prices.
  • You will need to produce your gemstone certificate to be issued with insurance for your gemstone.

Final Thoughts

Each gemstone reviewed above is known to be a completely different mineral with its own inherent properties and chemical makeup. All these stones are clear. Each can have a similar attribute in some cases or, at times, pretty different in others. At times, it can be easier to see a clear gem and perceive that it will have similar properties. One of the stones most people are familiar with is the diamond. However, knowing some key differences between white sapphires, lab-grown diamonds, diamonds, and moissanite is important before deciding which is the right stone for you.

It is important that any buyer first sets their budget when shopping for a gemstone before they can explore all the options. This will help them get various gemstones with different carat qualities and weights that are within your budget. Purchase a gemstone from a known, licensed, and reputed jeweler. If you have no idea of any good jeweler, you can always ask your close friends or family for recommendations. You need not be in any hurry when shopping for a gemstone. Instead, always shop for one at your own convenient time and pace.