We all know that high-quality diamonds are very expensive, but what if you don’t want to pay so much money for a natural diamond? Are there stones that look the same but have a more affordable price tag?
There are a number of gemstones that resemble diamonds in appearance, and some even come close in terms of physical properties. Some of these stones are natural, while others are created synthetically. Let’s take a look at the gemstones most commonly used as diamond substitutes:
The white variety of sapphire is used as a diamond imitation not only because of this gemstone’s diamond-like appearance but also due to its relative durability. Rated 9 on the Mohs scale of hardness, sapphire is harder than most other stones used as fake diamonds, including the popular cubic zirconia. White sapphire is, however, less durable than diamond, which has a hardness grade of 10 on the Mohs scale.
White topaz is a colorless variety of the mineral topaz. Compared with diamond, this material is relatively soft (8 on the Mohs scale). For this reason, although it looks like real diamond, white topaz scratches much more easily.
Moissanite is a form of silicon carbide and is usually produced synthetically. Because of its hardness (9.5 on the Mohs scale), it is perhaps the diamond imitation material that is closest to the real thing in terms of durability. Although it looks quite similar to real diamond, moissanite has different physical properties that result in optical differences. For example, moissanite is more brilliant than diamond and also sparkles in more colors when light enters it.
Cubic zirconia is a form of zirconium dioxide and is created synthetically. This is one of the most popular diamond substitutes not only because it has optical properties similar to those of the real thing but also because it is very cheap. However, cubic zirconia is significantly softer (8.5 on the Mohs scale), and this is why it easily accumulates scratches over time when worn. This stone is also much heavier than diamond.
Some synthetic varieties of garnet are colorless and can be used as diamond imitations. Garnet is much softer than diamond, though – the hardness of synthetic garnet varies from 7.5 to 8.5 on the Mohs scale.
A naturally occurring mineral, spinel is a stone whose white variety is sometimes used as a diamond imitation. Like many other such substitutes, spinel is softer (rated around 8.0 on the Mohs scale) than real diamond.
Rutile is a mineral found in nature. Its synthetic variety that is created colorless is sometimes used to imitate diamond. Rutile, however, has much lower hardness than real diamond – rutile’s Mohs rating is 6.0-6.5.