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PSA: Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, so if you’re single: Congrats, you’re off the hook as far as finding a great gift. If you are celebrating with someone special this year, you need a present guaranteed to wow, and while you might not be ready to pop the question just yet, you can still give your partner the gift of bling thanks to some diamond alternatives like moissanite and lab-grown diamond jewelry that won’t break the bank—and will look just as sparkly, for what it’s worth.
There are two main alternatives to classic diamonds that every jewely-lover should know about: Lab-grown diamonds and moissanite stones. You’re probably familiar with one or both categories, but perhaps you’ve never seriously considered buying either. TBH, I used to feel the same before I learned more about them; now, I can’t imagine dropping thousands upon thousands of dollars when environment- and wallet-friendly alternatives that look just as good exist. It’s time to stop judging!
Rather than explain it myself, I’ll leave it to a jewelry pro. “Lab diamonds have the same chemical, physical and optimal properties as natural diamonds,” says Anubh Shah, Co-founder of With Clarity. Lab-grown diamonds are basically the real deal in a “same same, but different” kind of way. They are grown in exactly the same conditions as real diamonds, just replicated by scientists in a lab instead of occurring naturally. “Lab diamonds, because they are diamonds, are substantially more expensive/valuable than moissanite,” says Shah. “Visually, the two look discernibly different. Moissanite is a more cost-effective alternative to lab diamonds.”
So, what’s the deal with moissanite? “Moissanite, on the other hand, is silicon carbide (not pure carbon),” explains Shah. The biggest difference when it comes to moissanite versus diamonds is all about durability: “Mossanite is less ‘hard’ a material than diamond. Therefore, moissanite, while durable, is not as durable as diamonds for daily wear,” says Shah.
That said, so long as you aren’t planning on banging your jewelry against anything and everything in sight, moissanite is pretty damn durable compared to other, less expensive alternatives, so it’s still a safe bet when buying seeking affordable options. “On the Mohs hardness scale, diamond is a 10 and moissanite is a close 9.25-9.5,” says Don O’Connell, President and CEO of Charles & Colvard. And luckily, just that tiny difference in hardness brings the price down exponentially. “A moissanite gem is approximately one-tenth the cost of a mined diamond of equal size and quality,” explains O’Connell.
If you’re concerned with buying jewelry that’s big and bright, moissanite is a great option because the way the stone reflects light tends to make it even more sparkly than actual diamond. “The value of moissanite is greater with larger carat weights,” says O’Connell. “For many, a colorless diamond with the highest clarity grade is completely unattainable. In my opinion, there is no reason to compromise overall quality with a lesser diamond.” Here here!
Now that you know the tea on these diamond alternatives, I bet you feel silly for thinking they weren’t just as bomb! If you’re ready to give your partner a gift they’ll cherish forever, read on for our favorite pieces of the season that feature moissanite and lab-grown diamonds instead of the real deal.
Shine bright like an affordable, eco-friendly diamond alternative!
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Round Lab Diamond Milgrain Earrings
You can always justify a classic pair of stud earrings in your collection, right? This delicate 14K white gold pair with lab diamond stones will add a touch of sparkle to even your most basic everyday outfits.
Perennial Lab Diamond Ring
Not all diamond rings have to be engagement rings! You can wear dainty options like this 14K yellow gold perennial ring everyday as a little something special—or wear it on a chain and turn it into a chic necklace and get two jewelry looks in one!
Wavy Earring Climbers
These 14K white gold stunning climber earrings are a one-stop shop for instant glamour. They’re dramatic while not being too over the top, not to mention super lightweight and hella sparkly.
Lab Diamond Stud
The perfect pair of 18K white gold diamond studs is like a classic little black dress: They can take forever to find, but once you find the ones you love, the hunt was so, so worth it.
Cluster Pear Stacking Ring
If you prefer gold jewelry over silver, pick up this 14K gold stacking ring from Charles & Colvard for a little pop of sparkle. This baby looks like it would cost a couple grand, but it’s actually on sale now for under $400.
Forever One Solitaire Stud Earrings
Shine bright like a…Moissanite stud earring! These stones are set in 14K gold so they’re guaranteed to last much longer—and look way more legit—than your usual gold-plated pair.
Forever One Emerald Bezel Necklace
Your jewelry game will never be the same thanks this small-but-stunning 14K white gold bezel necklace. It’s also currently on sale for under $600, so it’s the perfect time to splurge.