Since time immemorial, white and colorless gemstones have been popular among many ancient civilizations and cultures and were used for jewelry. They have been much sought after because of their soft and glowing sheen which is irreplaceable and unique.
While diamonds are said to be the most popular of all gemstones, there are many others that are valued for their grace, elegance, and beauty.
Let’s take a closer look at 15 of the most popular white and colorless gemstones that are used in jewelry today.
Diamond engagement ring by Facet World UK. See it here.
Diamond engagement rings gained popularity in 1947, when De Beers, a British Diamond Company, advertised them as eternal stones. This brilliant, sparkly stone was coveted by many people as a symbol of their long-lasting love and commitment.
With a hardness of 10 on the Mohs scale, the diamond is a very durable stone for daily wear. Although its durability can’t be disputed, this precious stone requires regular cleaning and care, to retain its natural lustre.
Traditionally, diamonds were cut in the shape known as ‘round-brilliant’, to maximize the stone’s shine and sparkle. While this cut remains popular, many other shapes like the princess-cushion, pear and oval are now equally desired for their unique look.
For people who’d like to own a diamond, but are concerned about their budget, a synthetic diamond is a wonderful alternative since it costs less but looks exactly like a natural diamond.
White sapphire stud earrings by Elizabeth Jewelry Inc. See them here.
White Sapphires were first discovered by the ancient Greeks on the Island of Naxos and since then, they’ve been highly coveted for their soft and silvery sheen.
White Sapphires are a great alternative to diamonds, both in terms of affordability and durability. They have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale which is just a step below diamonds, making them a great choice for engagement rings and other types of jewelry for daily wear.
White Sapphires can be distinguished from diamonds by their color and composition. While the smaller sapphires are transparent and closely resemble diamonds, larger stones have a cloudy and milky hue. Small sapphire stones can be purchased by those who want a diamond look-alike at a reasonable price.
Naturally formed gemstones are rarer than diamonds, but many sapphires undergo heat treatment to achieve the desired white color.
Bezel-set white topaz charm by Jewelsng Litters. See it here.
White topaz gemstones were much revered by the Ancient Greeks who believed that they could grant invisibility to the wearer. This semi-precious stone also called ‘clear topaz’, or ‘silver topaz’ is greatly admired for its brightness and vibrancy. Many people use the white topaz as a diamond substitute since it has good clarity and brilliance. It’s also much more affordable than diamonds.
This gemstone looks beautiful in all types of jewelry and is seen as a good alternative to diamond engagement rings. With an 8 on the Mohs scale, it’s a durable gemstone, with good strength and girth. However, the stone to retain its shine and sparkle, it must be regularly cleaned and maintained.
Natural untreated goshenite by Kung Gem and Jewelry. See it here.
Goshenite, also called ‘white beryl’, was first spotted in the city of Goshen, United States, after which it was named. It’s one of the purest gemstones in the world and is greatly admired for its high clarity.
Goshenite is a popular gemstone for engagement rings and has often been used as an alternative to the more expensive diamond rings since it looks similar in appearance. While goshenite gemstones have a more subdued shine than diamonds, they’re very popular for their distinct lustre.
Goshenite gems have a hardness of 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale and can be used in jewelry for daily wear. These beautiful stones can be cut in a variety of ways, but the style that continues to remain popular is the ‘step-cut’.
Clear white quartz by Jewelry By CJB. See it here.
The Ancient Sumerians first used quartz as ring seals and in their jewelry and since then it has been extremely popular as a jewelry gemstone. Clear white quartz is a great alternative for diamonds, and looks gorgeous in all types of fine jewelry. Although it isn’t as bright or brilliant as diamonds, it can be shaped and cut in ways that enhance its natural lustre.
Some types of quartz have a cloudy, white color, and are called ‘milk crystal’ or ‘milky quartz’. With a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, this gemstone can be used for all kinds of jewelry pieces. Found in many countries around the world, it’s a highly affordable gemstone for anyone on a budget.
Druzy white agate obelisk by La Beature Crystals. See it here.
Agate was once used by the Ancient Egyptians as both ring seals and charms for protection. This gemstone comes in a wide range of colors, but white continues to remain one of the most popular. While some agate can be colorless, others have a cloudy or milky hue. Some have different layers of translucency and opacity, depending on the conditions that resulted in the formation of the stone.
White agate gemstones are used for making bracelets, necklaces and earrings since they’re fairly durable, ranking at 7 on the Mohs scale. These gems can be purchased almost anywhere on the globe and are quite affordable.
Natural white oval-cut zircon by Anjum Gems. Check price here.
Since the Ancient times, zircon gemstones have been treasured and used as an alternative for diamonds. This continued until people began to create synthetic gems. While blue zircons are the most popular, they are also available in other shades and colors. Colorless zircon stones have a brilliant sheen and closely resemble diamonds.
Although zircon is rarer than diamonds, it’s relatively affordable and is often purchased by those who seek alternatives to more precious white or colorless gemstones.
Zircons are a great choice for fine jewelry and are often used in bridal jewelry sets. They have a hardness of 6-7.5 on the Mohs scale which means they’re fairly durable. However, they do require some extra care. Zircons can last for a long time if properly cared for and maintained.
White jasper pendants by M and T 2007 Beads. See them here.
Jasper was once very significant in ancient Egyptian society and was often worn as a protective amulet by priests. This beautiful gemstone belongs to the quartz group and gives off a very unique glow. White jasper is never completely free of blemishes or inclusions. In fact, it’s desired for the intricate, dark patterns on its surface. An attractive and unique gemstone, white jasper is used in a wide range of jewelry.
White jasper is a fairly durable gemstone, ranking at 6 to 7 on Mohs’ scale of hardness. While it’s generally hard enough to be used in jewelry, it should be kept away from harsh chemicals and hard objects that could cause damage to the stone.
White jasper is usually sturdy enough to be cut into cabochons, but is also cut into various other shapes. Available across the globe, it’s considered as one of the most affordable gems on the market.
Danburite crystals by Soulstice Journey. See them here.
Danburite gemstones were a relatively recent discovery in the United States. Although these gems are often used in jewelry, they haven’t gained much popularity and are only known by true connoisseurs. They have a rank of 7 on the Mohs scale and are an excellent choice for various types of jewelry.
Colorless danburite gems are slightly more valuable than the colored ones and stones that are cut to perfection are very bright and brilliant. Danburite gemstones look great in bracelets, pendants, and finger rings.
White moonstones by Unlimiteds Beads. Check price here.
Moonstone has long been admired for its magical and mystical powers. In many ancient societies, this beautiful gem was thought to have been created from the soft rays of the moon. They have a smooth texture and silvery sheen, making them a great choice for all kinds of jewelry, including engagement rings.
Traditional moonstone jewelry was predominantly shaped like round cabochons, but now, the stones are faceted to increase the adularescence effect. The adularescence effect occurs when the gem has a vibrant, metallic glow beneath its surface.
Although moonstones are undoubtedly lovely, they only have a rank of 6-6.5 on the Mohs scale which means they’re quite soft and must be treated with utmost care.
Australian white opal by Instagem TBR. See it here.
According to the ancient Arabs and Greeks, opal could grant great powers to its wearer. Nowadays, this semi-precious gem is admired and coveted for its brilliant display of color, known as ‘opalescence’. While Opal comes in a wide range of colors and shades, the milk/light opal is the most common.
Opal is especially desired by brides who want to wear a unique-looking ring. The prism of colors in an opal is unique and cannot be found in any other gemstone. The only catch is that opal gemstones are fragile, with a hardness of only 5.5 to 6.5 on the Mohs scale which means they can easily scratch or crack if not properly protected and cared for.
Nowadays, white opal is considered less valuable than black opal, since the play of colors is more visible in the latter.
White jade dragon necklace by Caravan Soflster Way. See it here.
Jade was a greatly admired and revered gemstone by the Ancient Chinese who believed that it could protect its wearer from harm. Jade can be divided into two different groups: nephrite and jadeite. Nephrite is commonly found across the world and is quite affordable, whereas jadeite is more expensive and valuable.
Jade gemstones are often used for carving sculptures, figurines and statues. They’re also used in a variety of jewelry such as bracelets, finger rings, and pendants. Ranking at 6 on the Moh’s scale, jade is fairly durable and when carved with intricate designs, it looks absolutely gorgeous. Jade gemstones are usually faceted to show off their depth and lustre.
Natural petalite by The Gaian Crystals. See it here.
Petalite gemstones were first discovered in Sweden in the 18th century. These beautiful and rare gems occur in several colors including yellow, white, pink and grey and while they’re all popular, the colorless and white variety is the most used for jewelry.
Petalite is cut and shaped in a variety of designs to maximize its natural lustre, and faceted gems are desired for their brilliant sparkle and shine.
Petalite gems are better suited as pendants and bracelets, to be worn for special occasions. Some choose to buy petalite engagement rings, but the gem should be secured in a proper setting to protect it from damage. With a hardness of 6 on the Mohs’ scale, petalite can easily get scratched or damaged without proper care.
Genuine freshwater pearl bracelet by Gems By Kelley. See it here.
In many ancient cultures, pearls were admired by royal families for their lovely white glow and luster. In Rome, pearl jewelry was so valuable, it was said that Julius Caesar forbade the working class from wearing them. A string of pearls has always had an everlasting charm and nowadays pearl engagement rings are becoming popular among many celebrities.
The only downside of pearls is their softness, since they rank between 2.5 to 4 on the Mohs’ scale. Being so soft, they can easily suffer cracks and scratches which is why they’re not ideal for daily wear. Despite this drawback, pearls are still coveted for their soft shimmer and glow.
White coral earrings by Kokett Jewelry. See them here.
In ancient Indian society, white corals were once used for astrological purposes. These sophisticated, semi-precious gems are obtained from the very depths of the ocean. They have a milky white color and don’t contain any blemishes or marks. Some corals that are too bright and shiny are usually bleached or artificially treated. Monks and sages use white corals that aren’t artificially treated because they believe in the healing power of natural stones.
White coral beads are typically strung on gold or silver-colored chains, but they can also be wound on a plain string. These delicate gemstones have a hardness of only 3.5, meaning they’re too soft for daily use.
The list above includes only some of the colorless and white gemstones available on the market that are used in jewelry. While some of them are undoubtedly rare, they continue to gradually increase in popularity.
White and colorless gemstones are a stunning addition to any jewelry collection and their versatility makes them a popular choice for any occasion or outfit.