Engagement ring stone: options, price and comparison
Natural diamond- the traditional choice for the engagement ring
Diamonds are stones more used in engagement rings today, usually colorless diamonds. They are very durable, with a hardness of 10 on Mohs scale, practically they can't be scratched by any other material. Because of this and other qualities, they are excellent stones for engagement rings, but the downside is that they are very expensive, and the price grows exponentially by size.
As an example, a natural 1 carat H color SI1 clarity very good cut diamond on James Allen sells for $5570:https://www.jamesallen.com/loose-diamonds/round-cut/1.00-carat-h-color-si1-clarity-very-good-cut-sku-1928022.
Lab grown diamonds
Lab grown diamonds have the same chemical composition as the natural diamonds (carbon) and the same optical characteristics. Basically they are the same as natural diamonds, except they are grown in a lab using different methods. One of the methods used today to grow a diamond in a lab is CVD( chemical vapour deposition).
The advantage of choosing a lab grown diamond is price. They are at least 20-30% cheaper as the natural diamonds, sometimes even 50% cheaper.
As a reference, a round cut diamond 1.01 Carat H color SI1 clarity Very Good Cut with IGI certification, sells for $3,584.49 on 1215engagement.com: https://www.1215engagement.com/round-cut-diamond-1-01-carat-h-color-si1-clarity-very-good-cut-igi-10312703.html.
So you can already see that this diamond is $2000 cheaper than the natural diamond with exact same size and characteristics.
Natural clarity enhanced diamons
Clarity enhanced diamonds are natural diamons mined from the earth, that were treated to improve clarity. Using methods like laser drilling and/or fisure filling, diamonds of lesser clarity are transformed in diamonds with much better clarity. For example, a diamond of I2 clarity can be treated and its clairity improved to SI2 or even better.
The advantage is that you can buy a very good looking diamond at a better price. These diamonds are 30-40% cheaper than untreated natural diamonds. The downside is that clarity improved diamons that were fracture filled can't be cleaned with jewelry solutions that contain ammonia, because ammonia can damage the filling. Fortunately ,almost all companies that sell clarity enhanced diamond offer a guarantee, so if your diamond becomes damaged they re-treat it, usually for free.
As a reference, a 1.03 carat round diamond, G color Si1 clarity with IGA labs certification sells for $1900 at bestbrilliance.com:https://bestbrilliance.com/1-03-carat-round-brilliant-loose-diamond-g-color-si1-clarity-d2800-html.html.
White natural sapphire
The next option for an engagement ring is natural sapphire. They are still pretty hard stones ( 9 on Mohs scale), but they don't have so much fire as diamonds, in other words they don't sparkle so much. But if you want a natural stone that is not as expensive as a diamond, but it is still durable and beautiful, natural sapphire is your best choice.
A natural round white sapphire ,1.02 carats, sells for $918 on thenaturalsapphirecompany.com :http://www.thenaturalsapphirecompany.com/p-56217-round-unique-sapphire-u5609/ .
Synthetic moissanite is a very popular choice for an engagement ring. It has a hardness of 9.5, but more sparkle and fire than a diamond. Many people choose a moissanite for their engagement rings for several reasons, but one of the more important reasons is the price. A moissanite is approximately 90% cheaper than a diamond, and the look is very similar. Many people like the additional sparkle that this stone has.
As a reference, a moissanite forever brilliant G-H-I color VVS1 clarity 1 ct round sells for $399 on moissanite.com. Classic moissanite,J-K color range, 1 carat 6.5mm round is even cheaper: $209.
Asha diamonds are not really diamonds, but instead they are very good quality cubic zirconia, with a surphace of "amorphous lab grown diamond". I never saw an asha diamond in person, but on their website it is claimed that these stones look like a real diamond. As of 2016, Asha company sells version 6 Asha diamonds ,that are 9.1 hardness , VS clarity and H color.
The price is very attractive also: $189 for a round cut, version6, 1 carat Asha stone.
Like Asha diamonds, Nexus diamonds are not really diamonds but synthetic diamond simulants. On their company website, it is stated that nexus diamonds are not cubic zirconia, but another type of created simulant. They are harder than cubic zirconia and look more like diamonds. They are also IF clarity( internally flawless) and D color. They are AIG Certified (American International Gemologists) and some are laser inscribed just like real diamonds.
The price is similar to that of Asha diamonds: a 1.03 ct classic series round cut nexus diamond sells for $155.
What stone do you have in your engagement ring?
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An excellent article about lab grown diamonds, and diamonds in general
- Identifying Lab-Grown Diamonds | Research & News
Dr. James E. Shigley describes the means of distinguishing colorless and colored synthetic gem-quality diamonds from natural diamonds.
The prices in this article are as of August 2016. The links are not affiliate links, but are used to better illustrate the content of the article. Some of the links may become non working links because the stones may be sold in the meantime.
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