5 Alternatives to Diamonds
Diamonds are the traditional stone to have in wedding rings. They are also highly touted as being incredibly beautiful and rare. That isn't strictly true. Whilst many people enjoy the sparkle of a well cut diamond, they aren't exactly stunning except for their size. Many other stones glitter just as enticingly whilst providing viewers with an alternative to the plain, boring clear diamond. As for rarity, an estimated 70% of all diamonds available on the market have been grown in a laboratory.
That's the thing about diamonds; they are simple to create and geologically speaking, plain and boring compared to the many different minerals and precious gems known to man. Here are 5 of the most stunning alternatives to diamonds.
Sapphires are a precious gemstone, a variety of corundum, which is a mineral formed mainly of aluminium oxide. Sapphires can be found and mined worldwide, but the most stunning stones appear to come from the general Middle East/ South West Asian regions, with Sri Lanka being the globe's largest producer.
Sapphires come in a range of colors and are available in blues, purples, greens, yellows and oranges. Startling red sapphires also occur but are called rubies instead, even though they are geologically and chemically speaking, the same stone.
Sapphires have long been admired for the soft beauty of the cut and polished stones. They are a common adornment in many types of jewelry and can provide a stunningly refreshing change from diamonds.
Emeralds have long captured the human imagination, ever since this vivid green gemstone was first discovered. A type of beryl, emerald has been mined since the time of the pharaohs and is widely available today.
Emeralds come in a few shades, with essences of blues and purples and even yellows mixed in with the dominant green.
Whilst emerald crystals can also be cultivated in a lab just like diamonds, the synthetic emerald lacks the luster and shine of their naturally formed counterparts. As a result, emerald is less readily available than some other gems, but no less alluring for it.
Alexandrite is a gem that most people will not have heard of. They were first discovered in 1833 and are mostly found solely in Russia although they have been mined in the gem-mines of Sri Lanka, India and Tanzania. What is especially interesting about alexandrite is that the gemstone can change color. Not like a chameleon does, but the color of the gem changes depending on the kind of light illuminating it. This is starkly different from gems of say, opal, which can change color depending on the angle you look at them.
This interesting quirk, combined with the fact that alexandrite is rarely found in large quantities, makes alexandrite a rare and expensive addition to any jewelry box. But with its unique color-changing properties, it is bound to draw more than a few admiring gazes.
Jadeite is the rarest and purest form of the more common jade. Jadeite also possesses a much larger range of colors, including yellow, red, black. Green is still the most common shade available, similar to jade, although the green of jadeite is much more vivid. Jadeite has played a long and significant role in Chinese history and culture. In the ancient empires of the East, it symbolized prestige and status and was valued higher than gold or other precious gems.
Jadeite gems may be the most pricey on this list, and also the least shiny. Jadeite is more of a reserved gemstone. From afar the stones will not appear to be especially glamorous; it is only when one comes closer that their true mysterious beauty becomes apparent. A mesmerizing and fascinating alternative to the cold, vapid sparkle of diamonds.
The soft, lavender hue of an amethyst crystal has been admired since the dawn times. Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz crystals which can be found throughout the world. It has been mined and worn in jewelry since the beginning of time. The ancient Greeks believed this purple stone would cure drunkenness, and often had it carved into mugs or just worn on their body. It is from this belief that amethyst gets its name.
Whilst these purple-pink crystals are commonly available and the cheapest by far of all precious and semi-precious stones on this list, they are still beautiful replacements for white diamonds. When cut and polished properly, common amethyst attains a lustrous gleam and shine that is matched by few other stones. Combined with its uniquely purple hue, it is not hard to see why amethyst has been coveted by people for so long.