Diamond Alternative Gemstones – The Engagement Ring Buying Guide

The Quick And Dirty - Although diamonds are the most popular choice for engagement rings, they are hardly the only exquisite stones available for your proposal. There are precious and semi-precious gemstones that provide a distinctive, unique, and special meaning.

Many couples are opting for alternative gemstones for engagement rings today. Some gemstones, including rubies, sapphires, and emeralds, are great for making a statement. One such statement is: hey, we do things our own way. We don’t conform to the social rules pertaining to diamonds and want to take our creativity and money and do other things with them. If you want her engagement ring to look like a diamond but you are on a budget, white sapphires or moissanites make for great alternatives. 


Moissanites were first discovered by Henri Moissan, a French scientist, in 1893. He thought that they were diamonds at first but later found out that the crystals of the stone were composed of silicon carbide. One of the things that makes moissanites a popular choice as an alternative gemstone is that they look very similar to diamonds. Natural moissanites are very rare, which means that most of the ones you will find in the market are lab-created moissanites. 

Moissanites are brilliant gemstones that have a hardness of 9.25-9.5 on the Mohs scale. This gemstone is the second hardest gemstone after diamonds, which makes it ideal for everyday wear on an engagement ring. You get the look and hardness of a diamond, at just a fraction of the cost. 


Of all the colored gemstones, sapphires may just be the most celebrated ones. A sapphire is one of the most durable naturally occurring elements. It comes from the Corundum mineral. According to many gemologists (and fancy people you might run into at a cocktail party), white sapphires look like moissanites, topaz gemstones and in some cases, diamonds. These stones have a charm and appeal that make them an ideal choice for an engagement ring setting stone. 

They have a hardness of 9 on the Mohs scale which makes them wear quite well in an engagement ring. They come in a variety of colors except red, with the most popular ones being the blue sapphires. Since they are the most highly prized sapphires, blue sapphires are also the most expensive. 


For decades, rubies have been prized for their exceptional beauty. A ruby is an appropriate center stone for an engagement ring since their red color has traditionally been connected with passion and love. The crimson red color of a ruby looks great in both old and modern rings made of shiny precious metals.

Ruby’s hardness is second only to a moissanite and a diamond on the Mohs scale, with a rating of 9. For an everyday use engagement ring, this is really a superb alternative to a diamond. Of all colored gemstones, rubies tend to be the most expensive. The price of a ruby is generally comparable to that of a diamond. You might be surprised by the price, especially if you’re looking at bigger rubies. But we gave you a heads up! Depending on the carat weight and size, some rubies can even be more expensive than diamonds. 


If you are looking for a magical engagement ring for your girlfriend, then an opal should be your alternative gemstone of choice. Opals are some of the most spectacular and unique alternative gemstones. These stones flash every color on the spectrum, with an outstanding intensity for a gemstone. They are also rich in symbolism since they have been surrounded by mystery since the Middle Ages. They are believed to fend off bad spirits and bring good luck. 

Despite the unrivaled beauty of the opals, these stones are not as durable. An opal has a hardness of 5.5 to 6.5 which makes them quite fragile. You need to take good care of an opal engagement ring for it to last long. One of the ways you can secure your opal gemstones is to use protective settings like a halo or a bezel setting. 

If your girlfriend is active with sports, cooking, yoga, or professional hobbies (i.e. she is a doctor who inspects patients with her hands) an opal ring is likely not the best choice.


Emeralds are a popular option for alternative engagement rings, as they symbolize enlightenment, rebirth, and affection. Emeralds are a very well known and highly valued green gemstone, and they are the gemstones of royalty. Unlike diamonds which require a 10x magnification to determine clarity, the clarity of an emerald may be graded with the naked eye.

Emeralds do not last as long as Diamonds or even Sapphires. Their hardness ranges from 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale, and they usually include a lot of inclusions. Inclusions can give a gemstone a lovely appearance, but they often reduce its durability. A decent jewelry design, on the other hand, can help safeguard the Emerald on an engagement ring.


Morganite, named after enthusiastic gemstone collector JP Morgan, is quickly becoming a great alternative choice to diamonds on engagement rings. It has a Mohs rating of 7.5 to 8, so it’s fairly tough, but you’ll want to avoid scratching it. To avoid damaging a morganite stone, take your ring off when carrying out manual tasks using your hands. 

Morganites come in beautiful shades of pink, starting from light pink hues and move towards darker shades of pink that look like purple. They are prized for their brilliant clarity and great degree of brilliance, in addition to their lovely hue. Morganite and rose gold metals work together beautifully because their warm undertones accentuate each other. 


These stunning stones were discovered in the most magnificent aquatic realms and moved to Earth through tides and erosion. Pearls come in a wide range of colors and shapes, from white to black and round to square. Because of their delicate nature, pearls have traditionally been worn in earrings and necklaces. They are composed of calcium carbonate crystallized in the shell of a shelled mollusk, most popularly known as a clam.

Pearls have a Mohs hardness of 2.5 to 4.5, making them an extremely delicate gem. Because pearl jewelry isn’t designed to be worn every day, you need to take extra care of an opal engagement ring. Some ancient wedding bands, however, were made of pearls. Simply replacing the Pearl as it becomes worn out or damaged is one approach to have a Pearl engagement ring last long. In general, a pearl is not extremely costly.


Topaz is a lovely stone with a range of color hues ranging from yellow to orange to blue. With a Mohs value of 8, it is a tough stone. The most amazing aspect of the Topaz gemstone would be the wide range of hues it comes in. You are not limited to just a single color on a ring; you can have a blue, purple, white or even yellow topaz. 

Another benefit is that Topaz is often quite inexpensive. This is one method for getting the size or color you want while staying within your budget. If you want a more conventional style, you can select a clear Topaz engagement ring. The best way of making your engagement special is to make a statement, and a topaz engagement ring is sure to achieve exactly that.

If you desire a one-of-a-kind ring, an alternative engagement ring may just be the way to go. Alternative engagement rings allow you to select the stone, the shape, metal, and design that you like. They are a great choice if both you and your partner want to go down an unconventional path, or if you simply want something unique that stands out.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best alternative to diamonds?

There are many alternatives to diamonds for engagement rings, including popular naturally occurring silicon carbide and crystals such as Moissanite, Sapphire, Ruby, Opal, Emerald, Morganite, Pearls, and Topaz. Each of these offers a unique finish and look for engagement rings without the inclusion of a diamond.

What stone is most similar to a diamond?

Of all precious gemstones that are not diamonds, Moissanite is the most similar in its look, feel, and aesthetic beauty. However, the differences between Moissanite and Diamonds differ at a chemical level, as diamonds have a carbon structure that makes them far stronger and therefore durable. As the size of the Moissanite gemstone increases in size, the difference between a diamond and a Moissanite stone is easier for the untrained eye to notice.

What stones are cheaper than diamonds?

All stones are cheaper than diamonds, including Moissanite, Sapphire, Ruby, Opal, Emerald, Morganite, Pearls, and Topaz. The cost of a gemstone is proportional to its size, cut, color, and uniqueness. Diamonds are the most expensive gemstones because they are the hardest (the carbon structure entails that they are the most durable) and because they are among the most challenging to mine and extract.

What is the cheap version of Diamond?

There are different forms of “cheap” diamonds. There are entirely alliterative gemstones, such as Ruby, Opal, and Topaz, which often look different from diamonds and are engagement ring substitutes. If one wants a product that looks identical to the eye as a diamond, but costs a fraction, cubic zirconia is a common substitute.

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