October 09, 2017 3 min read

The ring is still the absolute best symbol of commitment and love. The symbol of the circle represents eternity and continuous affection. But these days, diamonds aren't for everyone. Some couples want simpler rings, some prefer other beautiful gemstones, and others still are looking for the newest in man-made alternatives.

diamond ring alternatives title card

So in this article, we'll walk you through the 5 most popular diamond engagement ring alternatives.

Diamond Engagement Ring Alternative #1: Man-Made or "Lab Created" Diamonds

One of the most interesting modern alternatives to traditional, geologically sourced diamonds... Is diamond.

Here's what that means:

In the 1950s, General Electric invented a method of manufacturing diamonds under high pressure and high temperature. These are called "HPHT diamonds." This process was effective for creating industrial quality diamonds for industrial purposes like drill bits.

But it wasn't until recently that another process called chemical vapor deposition (CVD) was dramatically improved that manufactured, gem-quality diamonds were reliably possible.


This amazing advancement in diamond creation has made it possible to own a beautiful diamond without it being mined from the earth (these diamonds are chemically identical to mined diamonds, but simply come from a different source).

This makes them synthetic diamonds. They are chemically the same as its natural counterpart.

Synthetics are different from diamond simulants(which we'll cover next). Simulants are alternatives that look like diamond but are not the same in their chemical makeup or crystal structure.

Diamond Engagement Ring Alternative #2: Gemstones That Look Similar, But Aren't Diamond

Another alternative is to choose another gemstone or material that looks like a diamond, but isn't (a simulant). Some of the classic examples are glass, zircon, cubic zirconia, and colorless synthetic spinel.

Some other simulant alternatives that you might not know about, but are worth exploring, are:

Synthetic Moissanite Engagement Ring: Synthetic moissanite was introduced as a diamond alternative in the 1990s and has been a popular diamond simulant choice ever since. It offers a beautiful stone for your engagement ring at a fraction of the cost of genuine diamond.

moissanite engagement ring


White Topaz Engagement Ring:White topaz is a great way to get a big white stone for a low price. Be aware that with topaz you will not get the same fire, brilliance, and sparkle that you get with diamonds and synthetic diamonds.

White Sapphire Engagement Ring: Sapphires are typically known for their deep blue color, but sapphire comes from the mineral family corundum, which forms in a variety of colors:

picture of corundum crystals from wikipedia

White sapphire, or synthetic white sapphire, can be a cost effective way to get a beautiful and durable gemstone for your engagement ring (sapphire is one of the hardest gemstones on earth, second only to diamond). 

Quartz Engagement Ring:You may be familiar with smoky quartz in particular, as it has been very popular lately when paired with rose gold. But white quartz can be an inexpensive, beautiful, and durable (more on this below) alternative to diamond as well.

Diamond Engagement Ring Alternative #3: Colored Gemstones

So far we've talked about diamond synthetics and simulants. Both of these are alternatives that give a gemstone that looks like diamond, but isn't a diamond that was mined from the earth.

But choosing a gemstone that isn't meant to imitate diamond at all is becoming more and more common today. But some gemstones work better as engagement ring gemstones than others for one simple reason:

People put their engagement and wedding rings through a lot of wear and tear. It's the piece of jewelry you wear every day.

Aside from diamond's beauty, its ability to refract light into beautiful sparkling colors, diamond is fantastic for engagement rings because it's tough.

So if you're going to choose another gemstone for your engagement ring instead of diamond, be sure to choose a gemstone that can hold up to the wear and tear of your daily life.

Here is the Mohs scale of hardness with different gemstones displayed, from the Gemological Institute of America:

mohs scale of hardness for gemstones from gemological institute of america

As mentioned above, corundum is one of the best alternatives to diamond because of its hardness. Not far behind corundum are topaz and quartz.

So when choosing a gemstone alternative for your engagement ring, find the balance between beauty and toughness. Either sapphire or ruby are going to be your best option there because sapphire and ruby are both corundum that go by different names based on their color. The next best option is going to be a topaz or quartz.

Looking For More Information About Diamonds?


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