The main reason people “invest” in a diamond is because they hold their value. Now, that’s not to say you’re going to be able to resell your diamond for what it’s worth today, and you probably won’t get very close. However, historically speaking, if you buy a diamond today it’s resale value 30 years from now should be somewhat close to what you paid for it. That is, it’s a luxury item that will hold its value over time.
Regardless, the price of good quality diamonds can jump up quickly with the size of the stone, and you may be looking for an affordable option that’s still sparkles white. While nothing quite compares to the durability and sparkle of a diamond, there are a few alternatives that wear well and pull of a really nice look – and most people won’t be able to tell the difference.
Probably the best alternative to a diamond as far as appearance, durability and sparkle. That being said, rounds are by far the best cut moissanite gemstones, and some are better than others. Moissanite may have hints of yellow and green but from a few feet away it is hard to tell the difference. In the end, they are significantly less expensive but it may have hints of color and will probably not sparkle quite as much as diamond when it’s dirty.
Commonly referred to as CZ’s, a perfectly clean well-cut CZ looks very similar to a diamond, and it can be pretty hard to tell the difference for an untrained eye (when they’re nice and clean). They are also very durable and very inexpensive. When CZ’s first came out they were about $250 per carat, and now they start around $2 per carat. The problem with CZ’s is that they lose almost all of their sparkle once you get some dirt or fingerprints on them.
Most people think of blue when they think sapphire, but it’s element corundum is actually available in every color of the rainbow. White sapphire is slightly less expensive than Moissanite, and it’s also very durable. There is less contrast between white and dark in white sapphire, and next to a diamond it may appear “icy” or slightly hazy. Get one that’s well cut and it will still sparkle.
Topaz also comes in a variety of colors and is very inexpensive. I wouldn’t suggest using white topaz as a diamond substitute mainly because it’s a soft stone that scratches easily. Once it’s been scratched and facets wear down it won’t have near the same look as when you bought it.
Treated Diamonds and Lab-Created Diamonds
You may have heard of treated, clarity-enhanced, or Yehuda diamonds. These are natural diamonds that have undergone a process in which the inclusions within the diamond have been chemically removed. It is the legal responsibility of any salesperson to disclose whether the diamond is natural or treated/clarity enhanced. I do not recommend buying these stones for a few reasons detailed in this post.
There are also lab-created diamonds which are actual diamonds that have been grown in a lab. Right now, they’re about half the price of a natural diamond, and don’t hold any of the value. My advice is to wait until these are more affordable.
Remember, these are all alternatives that most closely match the clear/white appearance of a diamond. If you’re willing to dive into the world of color, the possibilities are endless!