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5 Gemstone Alternatives for a Diamond

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I’m Niki, the founder and designer of Enji Studio Jewelry. We’re a sustainable luxury jewelry brand based in beautiful north county San Diego.

at Enji we’re on a mission to bring you meaningful, modern, ethical design that shows off your style, honors the journey of your life, and reflects your values. We craft each piece for you in our Carlsbad studio bringing new life to recycled gold and silver and using only FairTrade and ethically sourced diamonds and gemstones.

Enji was founded in 2014. We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing and giving back to the local and global community. We create our pieces for everyday wear.

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As creators and consumers, our choices now have a global impact. This is why we consider how things are made to be important and this to be part of our responsibility as a business and global citizen. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. This is why we make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fairtrade stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper and clothing.

Niki is a GIA Graduate Jeweler. She was awarded the 2016 Halstead Grant Award and 2014 Windgate Fellowship Award by the Center for Craft, Creativity, and Design. She has exhibited in galleries throughout the United States and Europe and her work can be seen in the pages of Glamour UK, Basic, Evening Standard, National Jeweler, and more. To see her one of a kind art pieces and CV check out nikigrandics.com

Enji is about modern, minimal design that is made ethically and sustainably and gives back to the community. As a designer and jeweler, I only work with suppliers that share this view. We make all of my pieces using only recycled gold and silver, ethically sourced and fair mined stones, chains and findings that are made in the USA and Italy, and packaging and marketing materials made using recycled paper.

As a member of Ethical Metalsmiths, we hope to be among the first movers bringing transparency and sustainable practices into the luxury fashion jewelry world. Ethical Metalsmiths and Fairmined gold and gems.  All our pieces are made in our studio in San Diego and we use low-impact, environmentally conscious studio practices to lessen our footprint. 

We take steps toward positive change in our industry by practicing ethical sourcing and manufacturing, because it’s important. To us, to you, to the women and men who mined the stones we use to create our pieces. We also donate a portion of each sale to organizations that help empower women locally and globally and work to end domestic violence and human trafficking because that’s part of the future we want to see.

Ethical sustainable jewelry fairtrade fair trade fair-trade jewelry recycled gold recycled sterling silver San Diego Carlsbad ethical gemstones ethically sourced sustainable

5 Gemstone Alternatives for a Diamond

Hilda Chang

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Diamonds are beautiful and regarded as one of the most expensive gemstones due to their brilliant shine. Although often described as “a girl’s best friend”, there has been a steady shift to more economically and environmentally friendly stones. These substitutes offer quality and brilliance at a fraction of a price of diamonds. For this article’s purpose we will not be looking at lab created diamonds as they are still technically considered diamonds, but instead focusing on other gemstones who can resemble a diamond. The following gemstones are Enji’s top 5 diamond substitutes.  

One of the main reasons why people buy diamonds is due to gemstones durability and shine. Diamonds have a 10/10 on Moh’s scale of hardness (a geological scale used to measure a gemstone's resistance to scratches) and has a refract index (scale of how light travels through objects) of 2.42. These are all important to note as our list takes both into consideration.

 

Goshenite

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Goshenite is part of the beryl group of minerals, which include emeralds and aquamarine. This little gemstone also has a rich history of being used as a diamond alternative before the rise of synthetic diamonds.

Due to its durability it is usually considered as a great alternative to diamonds. Ranging from a 7.5 - 8/10 on the scale of harness it is scratch resistant but was found to be brittle and sensitive to pressure. This means that although it will resist some scratches, it should be stored away from other jewelry to prevent damages and should avoid physical activities that could result in a direct contact with the stone.

Because Goshenite is the purest form of beryl it will have a clear and beautiful shine. Its refract index is 1.562 to 1.602, which is 1.5 times less than that of a diamond. Although it will not sparkle as much as, it will be beautiful enough to not to arise suspicion when properly cared for. This means that it will require regular cleaning with soap and water as well as a professional polish when it starts to dull.

 

White Topaz

Topaz is a beautiful alternative to a diamond. Although it traditionally comes in a yellow hue, topaz can also have an array of colors including colorless, also known as white topaz. This stone has a strong resemblance to a diamond and is admired for its beauty. But, there are some drawback to this gemstone.

Topaz has an 8/10 on Moh’s scale of harness, this means that although durable, topaz it is more prone to scratches and clouding than a diamond. This means that while diamonds do get dirty, a mild soapy water is all that is needed to bring back it’s brilliance. Topaz on the other had will require a professional buffing and shining every couple of years if you want it to be as brilliant as a diamond. Topaz also has a 1.64 which means that it will not reflect light as brightly as a diamond.

 

Cubic Zirconia

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This stone has always endured some mockery from films simply because it is seen as “fake diamond” but its infamy shouldn’t stop you from considering this alternative. Cubic Zirconia is created in labs and therefore cost less than diamonds.

One of the reasons it gained a spot at number 3 instead of 2 is because of its durability. Impressively it does range from an 8 to an 8.5/10 on the hardness scale. This is equivalent to most precious stones such as emeralds or topaz. But it does leave this diamond alternative susceptible to collecting scratches and dulling over long periods of time. However, it makes a strong come back with its shine.

Cubic Zirconia has a refract index of 2.18 which is one of the closest to the diamonds brilliant 2.42. Therefore it is often confused with a diamond by the naked eye. But this defining feature also has a little downside. Lacking the diamonds imperfections such as inclusions and sometimes yellow tone, cubic zirconia is considered too perfect to be a diamond.

 

White sapphire

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Sapphires are known for their vibrant blue hues and stunning use in wedding rings. A white sapphire is a great choice if you are looking to have a traditional diamond look. They are a little more expensive due to the sapphires popularity but are still significantly cheaper than a diamond.

A sapphire has an impressive score of 9/10 on Mohs scale of hardness. This impressive number earned it its spot as number two. You still have to be cautious when wearing this gemstone but should last you for years to come with proper care. A white sapphire makes a great alternative for a wedding ring.

The sapphires durability did come at a small compromise. The refract index for a sapphire is usually between 1.766 - 1.77 which is lower than cubic zirconia, but still holds a stunning shine. Even if sapphire is not as refractive as a diamond, when cut correctly it will leave its audience in awe.

 

Moissanite

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Moissanite has earned its sport as number one with the best overall numbers and price. This gemstone is naturally occurring, but extremely rare, silicon carbide. It wasn’t until the 90’s that scientists were able to recreate this mineral and grow it into moissanite. It was never created for replacing a diamond, but rather to have its own properties and characteristics.

If you are looking for a gemstone that can withhold the test of time, moissanite comes as close as can be. With an impressive 9.5/10 on the scale of hardness, moissanite is one of the top picks for wedding rings. It beats naturally occurring gemstone and comes as close to a diamond as any gem can.

The main reason moissanite earned its top spot in this list is because it has an astonishing refract index of 2.65 -2.97. Yes, you read that correctly. Moissanite has a better brilliance than a diamond. The reason? This gemstone was made with the purpose of being better than a diamond and it comes close, if I do say so myself. It also is understood that this gemstone still goes for less than a diamond.3221

 

Sources:

http://www.jewelrynotes.com/what-gemstones-look-like-diamonds/

http://www.businessinsider.com/5-colourless-stones-that-couples-are-choosing-over-diamonds-for-their-engagement-rings-2013-7

http://www.callagold.com/wedding-rings/white-topaz-vs-diamond-engagement-ring/

https://www.gemselect.com/gem-info/goshenite/goshenite-gemstone-information-and-education.php

https://www.gemselect.com/other-info/cubic-zirconia.php

https://www.thespruce.com/cubic-zirconia-information-2043824

https://www.doamore.com/white-sapphire-engagement-rings