While diamonds may be the traditional choice for engagement rings, they are not the only option. If you’re looking for diamond alternatives, there are plenty of other gemstones.
Sapphire, emerald, and ruby rings are all beautiful options that will make your fiancée feel special on your big day. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when picking an engagement ring!
Diamond Alternatives to Consider for Your Engagement Ring
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite diamond alternatives. Each alternative has its unique features and traits, so it’s good to look through them and decide which one is best for you.
Thanks to their environmental friendliness and ethical production, lab-grown diamonds have become an increasingly popular choice. They especially appeal to those looking for an alternative to traditional diamonds.
- Have the same properties as natural diamonds.
- Averages about one-tenth of the price of a natural diamond.
- More ethical than natural diamonds.
- Resale value of lab-grown diamonds decreases over time.
The first lab-grown diamonds were created in the 1940s using a process called high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) and another called chemical vapor deposition (CVD) synthesis.
However, lab-grown diamonds were mainly used for industrial purposes at this time, and only became commercially available in the 1980s.
Lab-grown diamonds have almost all the same physical properties as natural diamonds, making them just as hard and durable.
Current lab-grown diamonds are created using chemical vapor deposition. This involves breaking down a carbon-containing gas into its individual atoms and depositing them onto a tiny diamond seed.
How It Compares
Because lab-grown diamonds are created using advanced technological methods, they are often more affordable than natural diamonds. And since they are grown in a laboratory, they can be produced in a wide range of colors and sizes.
Moissanite is a beautiful and affordable alternative to diamonds. As a gem that rates only second to diamond in hardness, moissanite is guaranteed to last a lifetime!
- Higher light refraction than diamond.
- Much more affordable.
- High level of heat resistance.
- Less common and not as much variety as a diamond.
Moissanite was first discovered in 1893 by the French chemist Henri Moissan. The mineral was found in a meteor crater in Arizona and was initially believed to be diamonds.
Moissanite was initially very rare, and the crystals found naturally could not be used to create even a single piece of jewelry, but today it can be created in a lab.
Moissanite is a crystal composed of silicon carbide, a natural and rare mineral.
Because it is so rare, the crystals used in jewelry are created in a lab, similar to lab-grown diamonds, through a process of heat and pressure over some hours.
How It Compares
While moissanite is very similar to diamonds in appearance and hardness, it is much more affordable, making it a popular choice for engagement rings and other jewelry.
Moissanite is also much more brilliant than a diamond, meaning that it reflects light more effectively.
Cubic zirconia is a widely popular choice for a diamond alternative, sharing many of the same physical and optical properties as a natural diamond.
- Available in a variety of colors and cuts.
- Much more affordable than diamonds at about 1/1000th of the cost.
- Clarity and appearance are very similar to a natural diamond.
- Can become cloudy and is more easily damaged.
Cubic Zirconia was first synthesized in 1937 by two German mineralogists. However, it was not until the 1970s that the gem became valuable and popular as a diamond alternative.
Cubic Zirconia is a synthetic gemstone that resembles a diamond. Natural cubic zirconia is made of zirconium oxide, which is yellow in appearance and cubic in structure.
How It Compares
Cubic zirconia is the least expensive diamond alternative, making cubic zirconia engagement rings a popular choice for budget-conscious shoppers. In addition, cubic zirconia is harder than many other gemstones, making it durable enough for everyday wear.
Sapphire is a beautiful blue gemstone prized by many cultures throughout history. It remains a popular alternative to diamonds, especially for those looking for a unique and beautiful gemstone.
- Can come in a variety of colors in addition to the more common deep blue.
- Highly resistant to scratches and cracks.
- A high-quality, extravagant sapphire is still more affordable than a diamond.
- Usually appears less brilliant than diamond.
The history of sapphire is long and fascinating. For centuries, sapphires were considered to be magical stones with special powers. Sapphires were used in religious ceremonies and were believed to protect their owners from harm.
In the Middle Ages, sapphires were associated with royalty and wealth and became popular symbols of power and prestige.
Still, its popularity as a gemstone really took off in the Victorian era. At that time, sapphire was seen as the perfect symbol of fidelity and eternal love, making it a popular choice for engagement rings.
Sapphire is a type of corundum, which is one of the hardest minerals currently known.
While sapphire is most commonly associated with the color blue, it actually comes in a range of colors, including pink, yellow, and green.
How It Compares
Because of sapphire’s hardness and durability, it has been used in various applications and jewelry pieces, and its striking appearance brings glamour with affordability.
While aquamarine is not as well-known as diamonds, it is an increasingly popular choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry. Thanks to its properties, aquamarine is a truly distinctive gemstone sure to add brilliance to any occasion.
- Much more affordable than diamonds, even in larger carats.
- Comes in a striking blue shade.
- Versatile and unique with rich meaning.
- Less durable and radiant.
Aquamarine gets its name from the Latin aqua marinus, meaning “water of the sea.” It is a beautiful blue-green gemstone that has been treasured since ancient times, with some of the earliest examples dating back to ancient Greece.
According to legend, aquamarine was created by the goddess of the sea, and it was said to have incredible power over the waves. In fact, aquamarine was once believed to be the treasure of mermaids, and sailors would carry it with them on voyages to protect against storms.
Aquamarine is a beryl mineral, similar to both emerald and morganite, made from the chemical composition of beryllium aluminum silicate. Traces of iron within the gem give it a naturally blue-green tone.
How It Compares
Because of its unique blue color, aquamarine is a popular choice for engagement and wedding rings. Many also prefer it because it is a more affordable alternative to diamonds.
Often compared to diamond, emerald is a classic choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry. If you’re looking for a unique and beautiful diamond alternative, this green gemstone may be the perfect choice.
- Elegant and timeless.
- Less expensive than diamonds and some other alternatives.
- Unique gemstone that will hold its value through the years.
- May contain impurities that can be unappealing to some people.
Throughout history, emeralds have been prized for their beauty and rarity. Emeralds were first mined in Egypt over 4,000 years ago, but they were also popular in Ancient Rome and Greece.
In fact, emeralds were so highly prized by the Ancient Romans that they were often used as currency.
These bright green gems are a type of beryl, a mineral that also includes aquamarine and morganite.
Emeralds get their color from trace amounts of chromium or vanadium, and the finest examples are typically found in Colombia, Brazil, and Zambia.
How It Compares
Unlike diamonds, emeralds are relatively soft and can be scratched easily, so they require special care when cleaning and storing. However, many emerald lovers find these unique imperfections part of the stone’s charm.
Rubies are beautiful stones that range in color from deep red to pink, and their fiery hue has made them a symbol of love and passion.
Prized for their beauty and durability, they are considered one of the most valuable gemstones and add a touch of elegance to any piece of jewelry.
- Super durable.
- Rare and prestigious gemstone.
- Have a beautifully deep-red color.
- High-quality rubies can be more expensive than diamonds.
Records show that rubies were used and traded as early as 200 BC, and were considered to be the most valuable gem.
They were often worn by royalty to ward off evil spirits and were believed to possess magical powers. However, they were eventually eclipsed by diamonds in the 16th century.
Rubies regained their status as a coveted gem in the 19th century, when large deposits were discovered in Asia.
Rubies are a type of mineral corundum made from aluminum oxide, and they are among the hardest stones on Earth.
The colors of these gems range from softer pinks to blood-red depending on purity.
How It Compares
Rubies are one of the hardest gems, similar to diamonds in resistance, wear, and tear. However, rubies are rarer than diamonds and often command a higher price per carat.
Whether you are looking for a classic engagement ring or a fun fashion statement, morganite is a great option!
- Unique gem.
- Can complement most skin tones.
- Rare, yet affordable alternative.
- Less durable and more susceptible to damage.
Morganite was first discovered in 1911 by George F. Kunz, the famous Tiffany & Co. gemologist. Kunz named the stone after J.P. Morgan, an American financier and major investor in the diamond industry, and one of the most important clients of Tiffany & Co.
Morganite was originally found in Madagascar and was considered a rare and valuable gemstone. However, it was later found in large quantities in Brazil, making it more affordable and widely available.
This gorgeous gemstone comes in a wide range of pink hues, from pale pink to peach to violet-pink. It is also found in yellow, orange, and green hues, although these colors are much less common.
While morganite is typically transparent with a vitreous luster, some stones can be opaque. Most Morganite on the market today is heat-treated to enhance its color.
How It Compares
Morganite is a popular alternative to diamonds. It is typically less expensive than diamonds, and more durable, making it an ideal choice for everyday jewelry.
In addition, morganite comes in a few different colors, from pale pink to vibrant peach. As a result, it can be easily matched with any outfit or style.
Alternatives to Diamond Rings
We understand that going over every diamond alternative can be daunting, so let’s break down each of them into a more comprehensive guide.
|Diamond||Between $2,500 and $18,000 per carat.||Rates 10 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.||Color and cut varies greatly, but the most common is round and colorless.|
|Lab-Grown Diamond||Between $800 and $1,000 per carat.||Rates 10 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.||Has the same physical and chemical properties as a natural diamond.|
|Moissanite||Between $450 and $600 per carat.||Rates 9.25 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.||Typically colorless, but tends to give a slight yellow or green hue.|
|Cubic Zirconia||Around $20 per carat.||Rates 8.5 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.||Typically completely transparent and colorless.|
|Sapphire||Between $450 and $1,600 per carat.||Rates 9 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.||The most common is a deep blue, but colors vary from yellow, purple, green, and orange.|
|Aquamarine||Between $300 and $700 per carat.||Rates 7.5-8 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.||Color appears green-blue to blue, comparable to seawater.|
|Emerald||Between $200 and $18,000 per carat.||Rates 7.5-8 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.||Defined and identified by its distinct green color.|
|Ruby||Around $1,000 per carat, but can cost as much as $50,000.||Rates 9 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.||Ranges in color from pink to blood-red, with deeper red being the most rare.|
|Morganite||Around $300 per carat.||Rates 7.5-8 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness.||Comes in shades of pink and orange.|
💡 Note: The cost of each diamond alternative has been calculated using a number of different sources. These are estimates based on the most common price ranges and may not translate to exact costs.
Frequently Asked Questions
Many people have a lot of questions concerning diamond alternatives, which is completely reasonable – you want to find the perfect gem for your forever stone.
Here, we’ve answered just some of the more frequently asked questions about diamond alternatives.
How many people get engaged with diamond alternatives?
While diamonds are still the most popular gemstone for engagement rings, diamond alternatives are on the rise!
More information is being spread on alternate gem types, and people looking for engagement rings have more options when choosing between styles and alternatives that they might not have known about before.
What jewelry stores sell diamond alternatives?
Most jewelry stores will sell gemstones of all different kinds, not just diamonds. The first step is to decide what diamond alternative you are looking for, then research jewelry stores in your area.
More often than not, there will be a jewelry store nearby selling precisely what you’re looking for!
Say “Yes!” to Diamond Alternatives
So, there you have it! These are just some of our favorite diamond alternatives for engagement rings, but there are plenty more to choose from.
Each of these gems has its own unique benefits and drawbacks, so it’s important to consider all the factors involved in order to make the best decision for your fiancée (and yourself!).
We hope this article has helped spark some ideas and given you a better understanding of what’s available out there beyond traditional diamonds. Which alternative will you choose?
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