6 Alternatives to Expensive and Popular Gemstones

6 Alternatives to Expensive and Popular Gemstones

Do you absolutely love diamonds but they're a little out of your price range? Or maybe you love rubies or emeralds but realize they're expensive for the piece you want. While cubic zirconia is a common substitute, it's a man made stone that frankly looks a little too perfect. Since cubic zirconia isn't mined, it will never have any natural characteristics like inclusions, varying clarity or even color. For some people this isn't a problem and they like the colors cubic zirconia has available as well as its flawless state. But if you're looking for a natural gemstone that has been created as nature has intended, I've compiled a list of appropriate gemstone substitutes for the popular but expensive gems. Some of these gemstones have been substituted for so long that they've been historically mistaken as the other. So if ancient civilization rulers and kings haven't noticed the difference it's safe to say that others won't either.

 

Diamond

TOPAZ

Mohs Hardness: 8

Good for: Most jewelry designs.

Fun fact: Topaz is pleochroic meaning that it can show different colors in different directions.

ZIRCON

Mohs Hardness: 6-7.5

Good for: Necklaces, earrings, and some bracelet designs.

Fun fact: Zircon has double refraction which highlights its facets and fire. 

Ruby

RED SPINEL

Mohs Hardness: 8

Good for: Most jewelry designs.

Fun fact: Throughout history people have mistaken red spinel for rubies. Gemology was born from needing to learn how to distinguish the two.

 

Sapphire

BLUE ZIRCON

Mohs Hardness: 6-7.5

Good for: Necklaces, earrings, and some bracelet designs.

Fun fact: Blue zircon is actually created by heating naturally occurring brown zircon that’s mined specifically in Cambodia. 

LONDON BLUE TOPAZ

Mohs Hardness: 8

Good for: Most jewelry designs.

Fun fact: The color London blue is created through radiation of colorless topaz.

IOLITE

Mohs Hardness: 7-7.5

Good for: Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and some ring designs.

Fun fact: The Vikings used iolite as their compass whenever it was cloudy.  

Emerald

TSAVORITE GARNET

Mohs Hardness: 7-7.5

Good for: Bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and some ring styles.

Fun fact: Mined in Kenya, tsavorite garnet because of its rich green hues is named after Tsavo National Park, a nature reserve.

CHROME (GREEN) TOURMALINE

Mohs Hardness: 7-7.5

Good for: Bracelets, earrings, necklaces, and some ring styles.

Fun fact: Naturally occurring in a variety of colors, tourmaline is one of the most popular gemstones sold. 

CHROME DIOPSIDE 

Mohs Hardness: 5-6

Good for: Necklaces and earrings.

Fun fact: The larger the carat, the darker the gem. Larger carat chrome diopside are such a dark green they appear black.

 

Tanzanite

IOLITE

Mohs Hardness: 7-7.5

Good for: Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and some ring designs.

Fun fact: Iolite is trichroic, meaning at different angles three different colors can be viewed. 

Alexandrite

COLOR CHANGING GARNET

Mohs Hardness: 7-7.5

Good for: Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and some ring designs.

Fun fact: These garnets are a rather newer discovery since they were found in Kenya in 2009.

COLOR CHANGING SAPPHIRE

Mohs Hardness: 9

Good for: Any jewelry design.

Fun fact: These sapphires come in different color changes from red and brown, green and yellow-green, to the desirable blue and violet.

 

You may have heard of some or most of these alternatives as a majority of them have become popular in recent years especially with the increasing scarcity of precious gemstones like sapphires, rubies, and emeralds. Ultimately jewelry is personal and about what you like because jewelry trends change over time just like anything else. So as long as you're happy with the gemstone in your piece that's all that really matters.

 

 

 

A few of our popular styles that include gemstone alternatives listed

 

 


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