Diamond Alternatives: Get the Look Without the Cost

Diamonds are said to be a girl’s best friend, but they are not for everyone. Some think the price point is too high, others question the ethicality of sourcing the stone, and some would prefer to go the non-traditional route. 

There are no rules when it comes to choosing a gemstone for your engagement. If you don’t want diamonds but love the gemstone’s clear appearance, there are some excellent diamond-like stones you can choose as an alternative.  They give just as much brilliance and come in stunning cuts. 

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the best diamond alternatives available.

What Are Diamond Replacements

diamond replacements


Diamonds are valued because they are rare, hard to find, and one of the world’s hardest materials. Some of these qualities make them impractical, which brings replacements. Diamond replacements include moissanite, cubic zirconia, garnet, lab-grown diamonds, and more. 

These faux diamonds are used in jewelry pieces for their similarities: They are just as clear as diamonds, and in some cases, such as moissanite, they shine even brighter. These qualities are why people choose them over gemstones such as sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. 

Some diamond substitutes occur naturally, while others are synthetic. However, they are not just a substitute for the “real thing” as they come in designs, colors, and styles that are just as beautiful.

Stones That Looks Like Diamonds

Which gemstones compare to diamonds? Moissanites and white sapphires are the most similar to diamonds. Although there are some visible distinctions, these gemstones closely resemble diamonds while being more budget-friendly.

1) Moissanite

These stones may be less expensive than diamonds, but they are hardly a step down in terms of quality. It has the most brilliance and fire of all popular gemstones, even more than diamonds: On the brilliance Refractive Index (RI), Moissanite ranges from 2.65 to 2.69, higher than diamond’s 2.42. It is also known as the world’s most brilliant gemstone with a dispersion of 0.104, which is 2.4 times the fire of a diamond.

Just like diamonds, jewelry made with moissanite is extremely durable. It is one of the hardest known elements on earth, making it extremely resistant to scratching, chipping, and breaking.

2) White Sapphire

Sapphires are the most popular diamond alternative, but few know that they come in colors other than cobalt. Made of corundum, the most diamond-like stone is white sapphire, which is pure with no metal oxides to give it color. 

Sapphire is loved for its relative affordability and durability: It is rated 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making it one of the hardest diamond alternatives to exist. However, sapphires may appear cloudy or milky, and one should go for the highest quality “AAA” stone, which has better clarity and brilliance. They also tend to get dirty quickly and may require regular cleaning.

3) White Topaz

White topaz is a colorless variety of the mineral. Topaz is an abundantly available mineral, making it one of the most affordable diamond alternatives. As a diamond substitute, topaz holds its own. While it is not as bright as diamonds—it has a Refractive Index of 1.64 compared to diamond’s 2.4—it has a unique luster and is also quite hard. However, with a Moh’s rating of 8, it is not the most scratch-resistant stone. To get the most diamond look-alike topaz, go for an inclusion-free rock with the highest-possible transparency rating. Regular polishing also helps to keep it as clear and brilliant as possible.

4) White Zircon

A very high dispersion, refraction, and luster make this stone a brilliant alternative to diamonds, literally. Though rarer than diamond, it is not as valuable, making it a cost-effective choice as well. Zircon is heavier than diamond, has excellent clarity, and ranks 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. Unfortunately, it is also a brittle stone that scratches easily. 

Zircon is often confused with cubic zirconia, but the fake diamond name is all the two have in common as zircon occurs naturally. In contrast, cubic zirconia is manufactured in a lab.

5) Cubic Zirconia

One of the most common diamond alternatives, cubic zirconia (CZ) is zirconium oxide in cubic form and is famous for its exceptional clarity and affordability. You might have seen this stone in everyday jewelry pieces like necklaces and bracelets. Unlike other stones, CZ is a diamond simulant, meaning it is created in a lab to resemble diamonds. It also occurs naturally, though it is extremely rare. Cubic Zirconia also has an impressive hardness, ranking 8 to 8.5 on the Mohs scale. This gives it a good scratch resistance as well. However, it is known to chip relatively easily.

Which Option is Best?

Ultimately, the stone you choose will depend on your jewelry piece, preferences, and budget. However, if you want a stone that is just as beautiful as a diamond—and more brilliant, moissanite is the way to go. 

Apart from its incomparable beauty, its durability makes it an ideal center stone for an engagement ring or heirloom gift. A moissanite stone is so durable that, just like diamond saws, the ceramic version of synthetic moissanite is commonly used to cut and slice other materials. It is just as resistant to scratching, chipping, and breaking as a diamond. 

Moissanite is also a conflict-free, environmentally responsible choice as most of it is lab-grown, which eliminates the controversial mining process used for diamonds. See more of why we love moissanite in our blog on Moissanite vs. Diamond.

Shine Brighter Than a Diamond

Find a piece of moissanite jewelry that you will cherish for years to come at Gema & Co. Our gemstones are lab-grown and hand-cut by professional jewelers. Contact us to learn more or shop our collection of moissanite jewelry today.

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