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What Stone is This?

Different Types of White Stones in Jewelry

One of the most common question we get in store is, "Is this fake or real?"

While this is an excellent question to be asking, we would like to rephrase it to, "What stone is this?"

Because there is no such thing as a "fake" diamond, but rather different stones that mimic the appearance of a diamond. These stones include Cubic Zirconia, Moissanite, White Beryl, White sapphire, among others.

Below we share a bit about each stone, and compare it to a diamond. When comparing, we look at hardness (using the Moh's scale), brilliance (sparkle or light refraction), cost, and long term value. Let's get exploring!

Cubic Zirconia

Cubic zirconia is usually what people are referring to when asking the question "is this a real or fake diamond?" This is because CZ's are the closest imitation of a diamond- it has a similar brilliance, fire dispersion, and light refraction.

With this being said, it is a totally different stone with a different chemical composition. Cubic Zirconia is the cubic crystalline form of zirconium dioxide- a naturally occurring chemical compound found in the mineral baddeleyite.

Although cubic zirconia was discovered as a natural mineral in 1937, its natural form is too brittle and rare to use for jewelry. This means that all CZ's today are commercially labgrown.

CZ's have their place in everyday fashion jewelry, and provide an affordable option mimicing a diamond, but they do have differences that you will see overtime.


HARDNESS (Moh's): 8-8.5 (vs Diamond 10)
A CZ is not as hard as a diamond, meaning that they can get scratched more easily and are prone to chipping during daily wear.

BRILLIANCE: ✨✨ slightly less than a diamond
A CZ has a comparable brilliance to a diamond- it has similar fire dispersion and light refraction, but because they can get scratched or chipped, this will impact it's brilliance overtime.

COST: Cubic Zirconia ($) vs. Diamond ($$$$$$)
Cubic Zirconia is significantly more affordable than a diamond; for example, a 1ct CZ can roughly cost a few dollars, as opposed to hundreds or thousands for a high quality 1ct Diamond.

VALUE: CZ's do not hold any monetary value- something to keep in mind if you are purchasing an investment heirloom piece.


Of all the white gemstone alternatives, moissanite looks and behaves the most like diamond. When viewed side by side, diamond and moissanite are typically indistinguishable.

While moissanite behaves similarly to a diamond, it has a different molecular makeup. Moissanite is a naturally occurring mineral, silicon carbide, that is found in limited quantities in the earth. While moissanite exists in nature, it is so incredibly rare that all moissanite used in jewelry is labgrown commercially.

Because Moissanite is labgrown, it is free of environmental and social issues, making it an ethical choice. Most moissanite is crafted right here in the US and is certified as USA made.


HARDNESS (Moh's): 9.5 (vs Diamond 10)
Ranking at a 9.5 on the mohs hardness scale, moissanite is one of the more durable diamond replacements.)

BRILLIANCE: ✨✨✨ comparable to a diamond
Moissanites are often colorless and clear to the eye, making them sparkle brilliantly- comparable to a diamond.)

COST: Moissanite ($$) vs. Diamond ($$$$$$)
Moissanite is slightly more costly than Cubic Zirconia, but still much more affordable than a diamond of the same grade.)

VALUE: Moissanite stones do not hold much monetary value (something to keep in mind if you are purchasing an investment heirloom piece.)

White Beryl

White Beryl is a natural occurring stone that can be found in the in earth deposits- unlike CZ's or Moissanite.

White Beryl is also called Goshenite, after Goshen Massechusets where it was first found. Belonging to the beryl family (which includes emerald, aquamarine, morganite and golden beryl) it is composed of aluminum beryllium cyclosilicates. The various colors in these stones are due to the presence of trace elements such as chromium (emerald), iron (aquamarine and golden beryl) and manganese (morganite).

Pure beryl is colorless, which makes goshenite an alternative option for a diamond.


HARDNESS (Moh's): 7.5-8 (vs Diamond 10)
White Beryl is one of the softer diamond replacements- a consideration when purchasing a piece that will be worn often. Pieces with beryl should be removed when washing hands, cleaning, or during other activities that could damage the stone.

BRILLIANCE: ✨ muted / less brilliant than a diamond
A white beryl has it's own kind of sparkle- a more muted, lower contrast sparkle which is caused by a lower amount of light refraction and fire dispersion. Since beryl does not have a particularly high refractive index, it is often fashioned in a fancy cut, such as portuguese cut, checkerboard cut or radiant cut. These cuts are designed to maximize goshenite's brilliance and fire.

COST: White Beryl ($$) vs. Diamond ($$$$$$)
White Beryl is similar in cost to Moissanite, but still much more affordable than a diamond of the same grade.

VALUE: Depends on the stone (cut, clarity, color, etc.)

White Sapphire

Sapphires are part of the corundum family, and often are naturally mined.

They come in a variety of colors, blue being the most popular, and red sapphires are called RUBIES!

Although blue is the most popular (and expensive) sapphire color, white sapphires have become popular alternative to diamonds for engagement ring stones.

Colorless sapphires are much more rare than blue sapphires if found naturally, but they can also be lab-grown for ethical and cost purposes.


HARDNESS (Moh's): 9 (vs Diamond 10)
Sitting at a 9/10 on the mohs hardness scale, sapphires are a great option for durability- only second to lab-grown moissanite.

BRILLIANCE: ✨ muted / less brilliant than a diamond
White sapphires do not sparkle in like diamonds, but give off a more muted silver/white brilliance.

COST: White Sapphire ($$$) vs. Diamond ($$$$$$)
Depending on the stone, Sapphires can be more expensive than beryl or moissanite, but usually still more affordable than a diamond of the same grade.

VALUE: Depends on the stone (cut, clarity, color, etc.)

So it is about your preference in appearance, durability, and cost that impacts your decision between these alternative stones. Consider your style, budget, and wear when determining the best stone for you!

As always, working with a jeweler is the best way you can get the best stone for you- seeing stones in person is the only way you can get the most bang for your buck, we are here to help you find YOUR stone!

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