Maybe you don’t want to pay the steep price for a diamond or perhaps you’re after something a little different. Whatever your reasons may be, if you’re looking for a gemstone that looks like a diamond but isn’t one, there are many options available to you.
Granted, diamonds are known for their durability and sparkle, which no other gemstone comes close to matching (apart from moissanite). However, when it comes to appearance, there are a range of natural gemstones that can work as good substitutes for diamonds.
Here are the most popular gemstones that look like diamonds.
1- White Sapphire
White sapphire halo ring by Sumuduni Gems. Check price HERE.
- Highly durable
- Categorized as a precious gemstone
- Can get dirty quickly
- Can appear cloudy
Sapphires are made of corundum and come in a range of colors with blue being the most popular. But in its purest form, corundum is colorless and looks similar to diamonds. White sapphire is highly durable, with a Mohs hardness rating of 9 out of 10. It’s harder than most other gemstones, and therefore an excellent option to wear daily, just like diamond.
However, white sapphire can appear cloudy, especially in large carat sizes. To avoid this, choose the highest quality white sapphires (Grade AAA) when purchasing, as these tend to exhibit better sparkle and clarity. Because white sapphires attract dirt, it’s best to clean them regularly to maintain the sparkle.
Overall, white sapphires are a good substitute for diamonds as they too are a durable precious gemstone, but they don’t have the depth of sparkle and clarity of a diamond.
2- White Topaz
Three-stone white topaz ring by Knight Jewelry. Check price HERE.
- Suitable for daily wear
- Has high brilliance
- Easily gets dirty
- Very affordable
Topaz, like sapphire, also comes in a range of colors, but its colorless variety is the most commonly found in nature. Topaz has very good luster and when properly cleaned, displays an attractive sparkle. However, compared to diamonds, topaz’s ability to refract light is much lower with an Refractive Index of only 1.64 (diamond’s is 2.4).
Topaz is fairly durable and good for daily wear, with a hardness ranking of 8. It’s an affordable option, with even the highest quality stone’s still costing much less than a diamond. Like white sapphire, topaz also tends to attract and hold onto dirt, and needs regular cleaning to remove grime and dirt. Once cleaned, however, it has good brilliance. When choosing a white topaz, opt for a stone with excellent clarity and no visible inclusions, as this will enhance the stone’s luster.
Overall, white topaz is highly suitable for daily wear but needs to be cleaned to maintain its sparkle.
3- White Spinel
Art Deco spinel ring by Tonettes Treasures. Check price HERE.
Spinel comes in many colors, with red being the most popular, but pure spinel is white. It’s extremely rare to find pure white spinel with no impurities or trace elements tinting it with color and affecting its clarity, which makes white spinel a rare gemstone.
White spinel has been used in jewelry as a diamond substitute for many centuries and can be found in many vintage pieces. It has a good hardness ranking of 7.5 to 8, making it a suitable option for all types of jewelry. White spinel is affordable and when polished, has an excellent luster.
Overall, a very good diamond substitute but look for clarity and colorlessness when buying.
4- White Zircon
Vintage zircon halo ring bye The Antique Appeal. Check price HERE.
- World’s oldest gemstone
- Excellent clarity
- Much rarer than diamonds
- Relatively soft and prone to acquiring scratches
Although zircon is the oldest gemstone found on earth and is the only natural gemstone that looks very similar to diamonds, not many people think of it when looking for diamond substitutes. Note that it is NOT a cubic zirconia (more on this below) but a natural, mined gemstone with its own unique chemical properties, which simply appears similar to a diamond.
White zircon is rarer and denser than diamonds, but much more affordable. Most zircon specimens have very good clarity and don’t contain many inclusions. However, the downside is that zircon is fairly soft (6.5 to 7 Mohs) and can easily get scratched. As it acquires scratches, this can make it appear cloudy and reduces its brilliance.
Overall, a good option as a diamond substitute and shouldn’t be confused with cheap cubic zirconia.
Goshenite ring by Hailoser. Check price HERE.
- Excellent transparency and clarity
- Good durability
- Part of the beryl mineral family
- Little sparkle/fire
You might not have heard of goshenite before, but you’ve certainly heard of emerald, aquamarine or morganite. These prestigious gemstones are all from the same mineral family as goshenite, which is the white or colorless variety. It’s has good durability (7.5 to 8 hardness rating) and is fairly tough.
Goshenite typically has high clarity and has very good transparency but doesn’t have fire or sparkle that we associate with diamonds. It’s somewhat glassy in appearance, with not much depth. In larger carat sizes, goshenite can look dull but for smaller sized stones, it can appear similar to diamonds.
Overall, goshenite is a good substitute for a diamond, but don’t expect similar sparkle or fire.
6- White Quartz
By Anemone Unique. Check price HERE.
- Abundantly found
- Not very brilliant
- Beautiful, clean look
- Good durability
White quartz is an inexpensive and abundantly found gemstone that when properly faceted can appear similar to a diamond. It has very good luster, and while not highly brilliant, displays an attractive sparkle.
Like goshenite, white quartz can also appear glassy, especially in larger sizes. Look for a high-quality stone if opting for white quartz, and check that it’s free of inclusions and blemishes. White quartz is fairly durable (7 Mohs), but can easily get damaged.
Overall, it’s a good option for an inexpensive natural gemstone that looks similar to a diamond.
Moissanite solitaire ring by Charles and Colvard. Check price HERE.
- Exceptional durability
- Heightened sparkle and fire
- Highly heat resistant
- Extremely rare in nature
- All specimens are lab-created
- May have rainbow flashes
Moissanite is perhaps the only gemstone that comes closest to diamonds in terms of durability (ranks 9.25 out of 10) and brilliance. In some respects, it’s better than diamonds. For example, moissanite has a higher refractive index than diamonds, meaning that it’s fierier and more brilliant; it’s more heat resistant; more ethical and sustainable and much rarer in nature.
In fact, because moissanite is so rare, all the moissanite on the market is lab-created. Natural moissanite is only found in a few places on earth and is believed to have entered earth on a meteorite, which is why moissanite is sometimes called space diamond or star dust.
If you buy moissanite, watch out for the rainbow effect which refers to a fiery flash of colors visible when the stone is viewed under natural light. Some people love it and others not so much, but this effect is not so noticeable in smaller sized stones.
Overall, an excellent option for a daily wear gemstone, with exceptional sparkle and durability.
8- Cubic Zirconia
Cubic zirconia halo ring. Check price HERE.
- May get cloudy
- May display flashes of color
- Good brilliance and sparkle
The most famous diamond simulant, cubic zirconia is a natural gemstone that is extremely rare so all specimens found on the market are lab-created. Because CZ is so inexpensive, it’s developed a reputation as being undesirable and cheap, but high-quality CZ stones are an excellent alternative to diamonds.
These stones are affordable, highly durable (Mohs 8 to 8.5) and often indistinguishable from diamonds. Larger stones may also display a fiery flash of colors, and may appear fake, but smaller sizes look similar to diamonds. However, CZ doesn’t have the brilliance of a diamond or the depth of its sparkle. It can get cloudy over time.
Overall, the most inexpensive option for a diamond substitute but look for high quality for a longer lasting gemstone.
Best Stone that Looks Like Diamonds for Engagement Rings
It all comes down to your budget, your lifestyle and how often you plan on wearing your engagement ring.
If you’re looking for a diamond substitute for an engagement ring, your best options are moissanite and white sapphire. These have the highest durability and are considered relatively valuable gemstones. These are perfect for people who expose their ring to daily wear and tear and use their hands a lot at work.
However, if budget is your main concern, cubic zirconia makes a very good alternative. These are the most inexpensive but also the least prestigious out of all the stones on our list.
The other stones on this list need to be taken on a case by case basis. Go with what you find beautiful and suitable for your lifestyle. Always choose a setting that brings out the stone’s beauty while providing protection to it.
Where to Buy Diamonds and Stones that Look Like Diamonds
All fine jewelry retailers carry diamonds but few carry stones that look like diamonds. Here are the best places to buy diamonds and diamond look alikes:
- James Allen – For high-quality diamonds and a wide range of jewelry settings, James Allen is among the best in the business. Make use of their Diamond Display Technology to carefully examine each stone prior to purchase. They offer competitive prices and grading reports from independent labs, along with exceptional customer service and an easy online shopping experience.
- Blue Nile – Another major player in the online diamond industry, Blue Nile is known for their massive inventory of diamonds, reasonable prices, wide range of fine jewelry and quality customer care service.
- Amazon – For gemstones and moissanites, check Amazon’s wide range of products. Do your due diligence and carefully check the products prior to purchase to avoid getting ripped off. Most of the top jewelry retailers, like Charles and Colvard for moissanite, offer their products on Amazon, making them a one-stop shop for everything.
- Etsy – Check out Etsy’s wide collection of diamonds and diamond substitute gemstone jewelry. Etsy has handcrafted, one-off designs as well as a host of vintage styles on offer. Again, use your judgment and vet each retailer before you buy.