Alternatives to diamond rings came about as a result of the high price of quality gem grade diamonds.
This was mainly in the form of simulated rings.
One of the definitions of the word simulant is not genuine or real; being an imitation of the genuine article.
Material with similar gemological characteristics, known as diamond simulants or imitations were thus in high demand as diamond alternative rings.
Historically, the most celebrated natural diamond simulant is zircon.
It is fairly hard with a Mohs no of 7.5, but more importantly shows appreciable fire when cut.
The earliest simulants of diamond were colorless topaz, quartz, and beryl they are all common minerals with above-average hardness of between 7 to 8.
Perfectly formed quartz crystals are sometimes offered as real diamonds.
Only you will know when wearing alternatives to diamond rings
The most common diamond alternatives are rhinestones and cubic zirconia (CZ), both artificial materials.
Rhinestones are made from crystal glass or polymers such as acrylic while Cubic zirconia (CZ) is the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide (ZrO2). The synthesized material is hard and usually colorless, but may be made in a variety of different colors.
Simulants differ from synthetic diamonds in that the synthetic diamonds are real diamonds with all the associated characteristics and properties.
Alternatives to diamond rings may be natural gems, artificial or a combination of both.
Even though they may have different material properties, they however need to have certain characteristics like hardness and dispersion.
These characteristics make it easier to imitate diamond
Differences between various diamond alternatives
While CZ is visually alike to diamonds and good enough to fool you, jewelers are able to identify it by its softness & brittleness which makes it susceptible to scratches after some period of wear.
However, set cubic zirconia’s still lend themselves as good diamond alternatives. The reason being that it is quite tricky to test stones that have already being placed in a setting.
CZ is also completely colorless and internally flawless. Most diamonds have some slight imperfections known as inclusions & blemishes. They also tend to have a slight yellow tinge.
Moissanite is far better than Cubic Zirconia in that it is far harder to detect as it so closely resembles real diamond .
The cost could be cut down to a fraction of the cost of a real diamond ring, however, you will find that choosing a diamond ring has very little to do with practicability. It’s fueled by emotion and passion.
At the end of the day, the choice of which alternative ring to buy is yours to make.