Most people look for white diamond when it comes to buying an engagement ring, but diamonds can be very very expensive and not everyone can afford such luxury. Since white diamonds are the traditional gemstone of choice when it comes to wedding rings and engagement rings, it's understandable to want a fine colorless gemstone for your precious gemstone jewelry ring.
Traditional White Diamond
But if you're like most people, you don't want to pay an extraordinary high price for a small, tiny and barely noticeable diamond. Sure, you can go for a larger diamond and sacrifice quality - resulting in a visibly included and yellow-tinted stone, but this isn't what your future bride-to-be imagined since she was a little girl. Thankfully, there are a number of fine white precious and semi-precious gemstones alternatives, including some lesser known gemstone types. These include sapphire, zircon, goshenite, topaz, rock crystal, danburite and petalite.
Diamond is valued for its outstanding hardness, ranking a 10 on the Mohs scale, and it's also praised for its exceptional brilliance and fire. You won't find the exact same combination of outstanding gemstone characteristics, but there are several other white gemstones worth considering setting in your jewelry as solitaires, center stones or even melee accent stones.
White Sapphire is the hardest white natural gemstone next to diamond. It has a hardness rating of 9 on Mohs scale and a high refractive index as well. Therefore, it is quite a brilliant gemstone and suitable for everyday wear as jewelry, such as a wedding ring. Although white sapphire may not have the same fire as diamond, a well-cut sapphire can make a very impressive ring. Sapphires are quite popular as melee stones, which are the very small stones used to accentuate the center stones in many jewelry designs. Small white sapphires are typically very affordable, however, larger stones, especially unheated with very good clarity, can be quite expensive.
White zircon is lesser known than white sapphire, but in pre-diamond stimulant days, natural zircon was often sold as diamond substitute rather than cubic zirconia or moissanite. Although zircon is not as hard as sapphire, ranking only a 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, it does have a higher refractive index and thus has more fire than similar sapphire. Zircon is quite an affordable gem, even in larger premium sizes, but it can be fairly difficult to source.
Other White Gems
If you are in the market for very large white gemstones, your best choices are either white topaz gems or white quartz gems. Both of these are rather inexpensive and found in weights well over 10 carats. In fact, white topaz is so common that much of the material is irradiated to produce popular blue colored topaz.
There are also some less common white gemstones worth considering. The beryl group, best known for emerald and aquamarine, has a white member known as goshenite. Goshenite has a very good hardness grade of 7.5 to 8 on Mohs scale , and is often found in excellent clarities, although not as brilliant as sapphire or zircon. Danburite has a hardness rating of 7 and petalite, with a hardness grade of 6 to 6.5, are also both attractive white gem option. Of these two alternatives, danburite has a higher refractive index resulting in more brilliance. What makes danburite such a superb value is that excellent specimens can be found at prices as low as $20 per carat for large premium sizes.
Upgrade Your Gemstone Later!
So, when it comes time to shop for your center stone, perhaps you could consider some of the white gemstone options. You can always replace the stone later when you have more time and perhaps if diamond prices fall like recent gold prices. But no matter which gemstone you choose, you can rest assured knowing that it is a gem! It's natural, it's rare and it's one-of-a-kind -- just like you and just like your soul-mate!