There is no one diamond alternative that I prefer for engagement rings, so your choice will depend on what you think your partner will prefer.
The most common diamond alternative for engagement rings is natural blue sapphire. Blue sapphire is the second most popular stone for engagement rings, and the deep blue of sapphire is not difficult to match with clothing. Sapphires come in many other colors for those who prefer. Natural sapphires are still expensive, but cost much less than diamond does.
Ruby, emerald, and alexandrite are three more excellent natural stones that my clients have set into engagement rings.
The diamond alternative that is ideal for the eco-friendly customers as well as those on a budget, lab-created stones offer a high quality alternative to natural stones at a much lower price.
Blue lab created sapphire is the most popular choice. I also source lab rubies, emeralds, and alexandrite.
Moissanite is an extremely durable gemstone that has a similar look to diamond at a much lower price. Moissanite is silicon carbide in a molecular structure only found in meteorites.
Lab created diamonds are eco-friendly and conflict free, but unfortunately don't offer significant cost savings over natural diamond. Also, they're not really a diamond alternative, since they actually are diamonds.
Finally, I should list a few not so great diamond alternatives for engagement rings.
The main characteristics one wants to look for in a diamond alternative are beauty and durability. There are a few diamond alternatives that are not very durable, and a few that aren't so pretty.
Since engagement rings are worn almost every day, you want a stone that will not chip or scratch easily. Anything with a moh's hardness of 9 or higher is good. Some softer stones are good, but you have to be a little more careful. I usually don't recommend stones that are 7 or softer, like Aquamarine, Amethyst, Peridot, Pearl, Opal.
Finally, watch out for stones that aren't pretty. White sapphires look like diamond to someone who has never seen a diamond, but they don't scintillate like diamonds do. I don't usually recommend white sapphire.
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