Diamonds are of course the most popular choice of center stone for engagement rings, but in recent years the industry has seen a shift to alternative stones such as moissanite and sapphire. While choosing the center stone for your engagement ring comes down to personal preference, it’s important to consider each gemstone’s strengths and weaknesses. For engagement rings, here are your best options, based on suitability for everyday wear, brilliance and options for customization:
Aside from being established as a symbol of everlasting love, there’s a reason diamonds have remained the top choice for engagement rings. With a rating of 10 on the Mohs scale, diamond is the hardest material on earth which makes it the absolute best choice for everyday wear. To satisfy concerns of ethical sourcing, mine-direct Canadian diamonds and lab-created diamonds are always a great option to pursue.
Unlike moissanite which are all cut to the same proportions for each shape and are only offered in specific sizes, diamonds are available in a wide variety of cuts, clarity, color grades and carat weights, allowing for a more unique choice of center stone.
Composed of silicon carbide, moissanite was originally discovered 1893 in a meteor crater. Due to its rarity and origin, most moissanite available on the market is lab-created. While there is no certified color grading system in place for moissanite, untreated stones usually compare to a GIA certified K diamond. For color sensitive consumers, there are specialty options that compare to more of a G-H grade, and even one lab that produces a more colorless D-F equivalent.
Moissanite weighs approximately 10 percent less than diamond, so it’s actually sold by millimeters rather than carat weight. While not as hard as diamond, moissanite rates as a 9.25 on the Mohs scale, making it a popular alternative to diamond that’s easier on the pocketbook. When compared side by side however, it’s easy to see they’re still two different types of gemstones:
White sapphires are becoming an increasingly common center stone for engagement rings. If you have a preference for a natural stone (rather than lab-created like moissanite), white sapphires are a great option. The Mohs scale rates sapphire at a 9, being one of the hardest and most suitable stones available for everyday wear.
The two main appearance factors that set white sapphires apart from diamond and moissanite is the difference in fire and body color. Due to the body color being white rather than colorless like a diamond or near colorless like moissanite, this can sometimes be described as “milky.” If you’re not color sensitive or even prefer a bit of color, white sapphires are a wonderful option as a center stone. With a lower refractive index than diamond and moissanite, the fire of a white sapphire is rather different, giving off a more understated elegance.
Here we compare moissanite, diamond and sapphire:
In the end, it comes down to what characteristics and origins you value in a gemstone. Diamond, moissanite and white sapphires are each great options to consider for your engagement ring. For more information on diamonds and sapphires, take a look at our diamond and gemstone education pages.