There's no denying that diamonds are dazzling and enchanting gemstones with a long tradition of being the go-to stone for engagement and wedding rings.  

However, couples are increasingly seeking alternatives to traditional diamonds for various reasons, including ethical concerns, budget constraints, and a desire for uniqueness.


What are the best alternatives to diamonds? 

This blog will explore a variety of exquisite alternatives to diamonds, ranging from lab-grown diamonds and salt & pepper diamonds to moissanite, morganite, white sapphire, and coloured gemstones along with the pros and cons of each choice.

Lab-grown diamond gemstones

1. Lab-Grown Diamonds:

Lab-grown diamonds, also known as synthetic or cultured diamonds, have gained popularity as an ethical and sustainable alternative to natural diamonds. These diamonds are created in a controlled environment using advanced technological processes that replicate the conditions under which natural diamonds are formed. Lab-grown diamonds possess the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as their natural counterparts and are essentially identical to natural diamonds but are more affordable.

  • Pros:

    • Ethical and Sustainable: Lab-grown diamonds are created in controlled environments, eliminating the ethical concerns associated with traditional diamond mining.
    • Affordability: Lab-grown diamonds are more budget-friendly than natural diamonds.
    • Traceability: The origin of lab-grown diamonds is traceable, providing transparency.
  • Cons:

    • Perceived Value: Some individuals may still associate higher value with natural diamonds, despite the physical and chemical similarities.


Rose-cut salt & pepper diamond ring in 14K & 18K gold by Mikel Grant Jewellery

2. Salt & Pepper Diamonds:

Salt & pepper diamonds, also referred to as 'included' diamonds, offer a distinctive and unconventional appearance. These diamonds feature a unique blend of black and white inclusions (such as crystal and mineral particles), creating a mesmerizing organic pattern within the stone. Unlike traditional diamonds that prioritize clarity, salt & pepper diamonds celebrate imperfections, turning them into stunning one-of-a-kind features.

The beauty of salt & pepper diamonds lies in their individuality, as no two stones are alike. They are an excellent choice for those who appreciate the beauty of natural inclusions and desire a ring that reflects their distinct personality.

  • Pros:

    • Unique Aesthetic: The inclusions in salt & pepper diamonds create a distinctive and one-of-a-kind appearance.
    • Affordability: Salt & pepper diamonds can be more affordable compared to traditional diamonds.
    • Celebration of Imperfections: Perfect for those who appreciate the beauty of natural imperfections within the gemstone.
  • Cons:

    • Lower Clarity: Salt & pepper diamonds have lower clarity compared to traditional diamonds, which may not appeal to those who prioritize clarity.


Rose-cut moissanite ring in 14K gold by Mikel Grant Jewellery. Alternative engagement or wedding band.

3. Moissanite:

Moissanite is named after Dr. Henri Moissan, the Nobel prize winning French chemist who discovered the stone within a meteorite!  This gemstone has gained immense popularity as a diamond alternative due to its striking brilliance and durability (it is harder than sapphire and nearly as hard as diamond).  Moissanite is now exclusively created in laboratories to produce gem-quality stones.  It possesses a higher refractive index than diamonds, meaning that it actually has a more brilliant sparkle than a diamond.

One of the notable advantages of moissanite is its affordability. Couples can choose a larger moissanite stone for the same price as a smaller diamond, allowing for more flexibility in design and customization. Additionally, moissanite is an ethical option, as it is not associated with the social and environmental concerns linked to diamond mining.

  • Pros:

    • Brilliance: Moissanite exhibits exceptional brilliance and fire, often exceeding that of diamonds.
    • Affordability: Moissanite is more budget-friendly than natural diamonds, allowing for larger stones within the same price range.
    • Ethical: Produced in a laboratory setting, moissanite is free from the ethical concerns associated with diamond mining.
  • Cons:

    • Durability: While highly durable, moissanite is not as hard as diamonds, making it slightly more prone to scratching over time.

14K gold and pink morganite ring by Mikel Grant Jewellery. Alternative engagement ring.

 4. Morganite:

Morganite, a variety of the mineral beryl, has gained popularity as a romantic and feminine alternative to diamonds. Its delicate pink to peach hues add a touch of warmth and elegance to engagement rings, especially when paired with the warm tones of yellow or rose gold. Morganite is often associated with love, compassion, and healing, making it a meaningful choice for couples seeking a gemstone with emotional significance.

While morganite is softer than diamonds, proper care and maintenance can ensure its longevity. Its affordability and unique colour make it an attractive option for those looking to make a statement with their engagement or wedding ring.

  • Pros:

    • Romantic Color: Morganite's pink to peach hues symbolize romance and femininity.
    • Affordability: Morganite is generally more affordable than diamonds.
    • Meaningful: Associated with love and compassion, making it a meaningful choice for an engagement or wedding ring.
  • Cons:

    • Sensitivity: Morganite is softer than diamonds (morganite, emerald and aquamarine all have the same hardness), making it more susceptible to scratches.
White sapphire gemstones

5. White Sapphire:

White sapphire is the colourless variety of the mineral corundum.  All colours of corundum are known as sapphire except red, which we know as ruby. While blue is typically the colour that comes to mind when thinking of sapphire, white sapphires are a stunning alternative to traditional diamonds. They exhibit brilliance and hardness comparable to diamonds, making them a durable and affordable choice for engagement rings.

White sapphires offer a timeless and classic aesthetic, and their colourlessness allows for versatile pairing with various metal settings. Couples can enjoy the beauty and durability of a white sapphire without the premium price tag associated with diamonds.

  • Pros:

    • Hardness: White sapphires are nearly as hard as diamonds, providing durability for everyday wear.
    • Affordability: White sapphires are generally more affordable than diamonds.
    • Versatility: Their colourlessness allows for easy pairing with various metal settings.
  • Cons:

    • Brilliance: While brilliant, white sapphires may not possess the same level of sparkle as diamonds.

6. Coloured Gemstones: Sapphires, Emeralds & Rubies

For those seeking a burst of colour and personalization in their wedding or engagement ring, coloured gemstones provide a glorious array of options. Sapphires, emeralds and rubies, in particular, offer a vibrant and meaningful alternative to colourless diamonds.

Coloured Sapphire: Blue sapphires are a popular choice, symbolizing loyalty and wisdom. However, sapphires come in a rainbow of colours (including pink, orange, yellow, green and purple), providing numerous options for couples who prefer a non-traditional look.

  • Pros:

    • Colour Variety: Sapphires come in a brilliant rainbow of colour options. 
    • Hardness: Sapphires are very durable and have a hardness level second only to diamonds, making them suitable for everyday wear.
    • Symbolism: Blue sapphires, in particular, are associated with wisdom, loyalty, and nobility.  Sapphires are also September's birthstone.
  • Cons:

    • Brilliance: While sapphires are brilliant, they may not exhibit the same level of sparkle as diamonds.
    • Inclusions: Sapphires may have visible inclusions, which some individuals may find less appealing.

Emeralds: Known for their lush green hue, emeralds evoke a sense of luxury and sophistication. They symbolize renewal and growth, making them a meaningful choice for a lifelong commitment.  Emerald is also the traditional birthstone for May.

  • Pros:

    • Rich Colour: Emeralds boast a lush green colour that symbolizes renewal, growth, and love.
    • Historical Significance: Emeralds have a long history of being associated with royalty and luxury.
    • Individuality: Each emerald is unique, and their inclusions, known as jardin, are often seen as part of their character.
  • Cons:

    • Sensitivity: Emeralds are softer than diamonds and may be prone to scratches, requiring careful wear.
    • Inclusions: Some emeralds may have visible inclusions, which may affect their clarity.

Rubies: The rich red colour of rubies has long been associated with passion and love. Choosing a ruby for an engagement or wedding ring adds a bold and romantic touch.  Rubies are also the birthstone for July babies.

  • Pros:

    • Passionate Colour: Rubies are known for their intense red colour, symbolizing love, passion, and vitality.
    • Hardness: Rubies are among the hardest gemstones (second only to diamonds), making them durable for daily wear.
    • Symbol of Power: Historically associated with power and protection, rubies add a bold and regal touch to an engagement ring.
  • Cons:

    • Inclusions: Like other gemstones, rubies may have visible inclusions, which can impact their clarity.

As couples seek meaningful, ethical, and budget-friendly alternatives to traditional diamond rings, a myriad of options is available to cater to diverse tastes. From lab-grown diamonds and salt & pepper diamonds to moissanite, morganite, white sapphire, and a spectrum of coloured gemstones, the choices are vast and enchanting. Each alternative offers its own unique characteristics, allowing couples to express their love and commitment in a way that aligns with their values and individuality. Whether opting for the timeless beauty of a white sapphire or the distinctive personality of salt & pepper diamonds, the world of non-traditional engagement rings invites creativity, sustainability, and a celebration of personal style.

At Mikel Grant Jewellery, we can't wait to help you design your dream engagement or wedding ring! 

Get in touch with us today.

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