Ask the Jeweler: What Are the Best Diamond Alternatives?

Q: I’m helping my fiance design my engagement ring, and I’ve decided against a diamond. I love the sparkle of a diamond, but I’d prefer something more socially responsible. I’m considering a white sapphire. What do you recommend?

Moissanite Engagement Ring
Moissanite Cushion and Snowflake
Engagement Ring
with Round Moissanite
I love when customers ask me this question because I’m constantly researching and trying out the latest diamond alternatives. And I can see why you’re tempted to go with a white sapphire: It’s a 9 on the hardness scale (diamonds are a 10), won’t cost your fiance an arm and a leg, and it sounds beautiful. But here’s the big drawback:  White sapphires lack the fire of a diamond. Sure, they may sparkle the first day you wear them, but soon enough, oil, dirt and dust will gather underneath the stone and dull its shine. (Also, a sapphire isn’t always the more socially responsible choice.)

Instead, I suggest using Moissanite. Though an opaque green in nature, this mineral is crystal-clear when created in a lab. It has a refractive index similar to a diamond’s and, at 9.25 on the hardness scale, it’s harder than a sapphire. Moissanite is excellent for everyday wear and the stone will keep its sparkle and fire as well as the real thing.  

Moissanite Engagement Rings
Engagement rings with moissanite in a variety of shapes
But just because Moissanite is made in a lab and not the earth doesn’t mean it’s cheap. In fact, while Moissanite is much less expensive than a diamond, Moissanite stones can be fairly close in price to natural white sapphires. So while they’re not cheap, per se, you can get a big, beautiful look without going bankrupt.

A couple of things to keep in mind when considering Moissanite: First, the only real drawback of the stone is that it has a slight tint. It’s difficult to spot with the naked eye, but certain cuts, like a princess cut, will show more color than others. Your best bet is to stick with a round or cushion cut and a stone that’s 2 carats or less.

Second, if you’re shopping online for a synthetic diamond or diamond simulant, do yourself a favor and research the company before you buy. Many are trustworthy, but some will try to pass off a piece of cubic zirconia as the real thing. I’ve seen it happen before, so trust me, it pays to do your homework beforehand.

Krikawa. Where you dream ring comes true.