Are you looking to buy a colorless gemstone for a special occasion? Of course, diamonds will be one of the first gemstones you consider. However, it might take a while for you to get your hands on one due to their hefty price.
It makes sense to check out some other options – one of which is white topaz, one of the most popular diamond simulants. Diamond or white topaz – which one should you buy for your special occasion? And how does white topaz compare to diamonds?
In this article, we’ll cover the most critical differences between diamond and white topaz so that you can make a better – and informed – decision on which gemstone to buy.
A diamond is constructed of carbon atoms that form a solid covalent bond after being exposed to extreme pressure and heat beneath the Earth’s surface.
For diamonds to form, it takes millions of years, and they come in a variety of colors. Diamonds have been one of the most, if not the most popular, gemstones for engagement rings for several decades now and are undoubtedly the most prestigious gemstone out there.
If a mined, natural diamond isn’t for you – for whatever reason – you can consider a lab-grown diamond. These are cost-effective, eco-friendly, and sustainable alternatives to mined, natural diamonds. Diamonds, among other things, represent everlasting love, determination, strength, and faithfulness.
On the other hand, topaz is a commonly found and affordable semi-precious gemstone. It’s a granite rock made out of silicate minerals of fluorite and aluminum. While the topaz comes in many different colors, the purest form of topaz is colorless or white topaz. However, the most popular topaz colors are golden-yellow and blue.
That said, white topaz is often treated by heating or irradiation to obtain desirable and popular colors. Since white topaz rarely has many inclusions, it’s symbolically attributed to sincerity and loyalty – an excellent option for rings.
It’s also worth noting that pure topaz can refract light; it might appear similar to a diamond to the untrained eye.
Diamonds are well-known for their brilliance and sparkle. And because of their exceptional durability, diamonds are highly scratch resistant. That means that they don’t develop scratches that reduce their brilliance and sparkle.
High clarity diamonds that are masterfully cut are highly sought after because they heighten the stone’s light performance. Flawless stones can produce the maximum brilliance as the light passes through its surface and shoots out in another direction. The gem’s refractive index measures this ability and is known as a light return.
A diamond has a pretty high refractive index of 2.4. The purest stones exude a luster that no other gemstone can surpass – and that gives diamonds their reputation as the gemstones with the best sparkle.
So, how does white topaz compare?
White topaz is a brilliant gem that also sparkles under the light. However, a white topaz doesn’t match the diamond’s hardness, meaning it’ll acquire scratches over time, reducing its brilliance and giving it a cloudy and dull appearance.
Also, the white topaz’s refractive index is only 1.64, meaning a white topaz is much less bright than a diamond.
It’s essential to select a high-quality, well-cut white topaz with an excellent clarity grade as a substitute for a diamond. If you opt for an included white topaz, its brilliance would be further reduced – especially when the stone’s surface is unclean.
So, what’s the verdict? Diamonds are simply more brilliant and more sparkly than white topaz, and they have a depth to their appearance – while white topaz can sometimes look glassy.
Now, this is a no-brainer as diamonds are the hardest known natural material in the world – and the most durable. Therefore, it easily wins in this department. Diamonds with a score of 10 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardens rank supreme, meaning that only another diamond could scratch a diamond.
The main shortcoming of a diamond is its increased brittleness, though. They’re known to chip due to their crystalline structure. That isn’t to say that a diamond chip with ease – as a matter of fact, diamond chipping isn’t that common, especially if cut and set masterfully.
On the other hand, white topaz has a score of 8 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Since this scale isn’t linear, the white topaz is 6 to 8 times less hard than a diamond. White topaz isn’t as suitable for daily wear as diamonds are; they’re more prone to damage from accidental hits.
For a gemstone that you plan on wearing on a regular basis, durability is one of the essential things you should consider. Since rings are worn daily, you would generally want a gemstone that can withstand the daily wear and tear.
With proper maintenance, a diamond’s luster and beauty will easily outlast white topaz. Keep that in mind as you make your choice.
Probably the most influential factor on the price of a gemstone is the carat. It essentially refers to the weight of the stone, which is correlated to its size – to some extent, that is.
Larger diamonds are generally more valuable than tiny diamonds because bigger ones are much harder to come across and cut into the ideal shape – resulting in them becoming more expensive.
White topaz is the exact opposite: With the increase in size, the value of white topaz lowers. That is because, in larger white topaz, you’re much more likely to find imperfections and inclusions – leading to a lower price.
When it comes to color, diamonds and white topaz are pretty similar. These two gemstones are completely clear; white topaz can look very transparent and resemble a diamond.
Any imperfections and inclusions impact the color of white topaz within the stone, though – that’s the exact reason why white topaz is considered a diamond substitute.
The cut is another crucial factor when examining the price of a diamond and white topaz.
White topaz and diamond are pretty similar in this aspect since they’re available in a wide range of different shapes. For example, when white topaz is used as a diamond substitute, such as on a piece of jewelry, the cut becomes an even more critical factor.
Simply put, the better the grade of the gemstone – which is issued by the grading lab, such as GIA – the better the light performance of the stone. And in turn, the higher the price.
Along with the cut, the depth of the gemstone is also important when a white topaz is cut for a jewelry piece. Any type of mistake in the cutting process can drastically lower the white topaz’s value.
The last but not the least of the 4C’s is clarity – and it’s vital for both diamonds and white topaz. Bear in mind that all gemstones have some form of internal imperfections within them. And that means that the fewer imperfections in the stone, the higher its value will be.
That’s interesting because the naked eye cannot observe all imperfections; some inclusions can only be seen using magnification. Nevertheless, white topaz is known for its clarity in the same way as diamonds. So, it boils down to your personal preference whether you want to choose a diamond or a white topaz.
Furthermore, some people aren’t bothered with internal imperfections since they view them as a positive thing. These people believe that inclusions enhance the charm of the stone. The question here is – are you one of those people?
Needless to say, diamond is much more expensive than white topaz.
In this department, white topaz wins because many people opt for this diamond substitute due to its price. A 1-carat, flawless, D color, excellent cut diamond might be marketed for up to $15000, while a high-quality 1-carat white topaz may only cost around $100.
It’s evident that the price difference is drastic.
Diamonds are pretty easy to maintain. If the stone appears cloudy or dull, it’s usually due to the dirt and grime build-up. Simply soaking the diamond in warm soapy water and using a soft toothbrush would remove the dirt and restore the stone’s brilliance.
White topaz is somewhat trickier to maintain since it’s not as hard as diamonds and can scratch or get damaged more easily. These scratches will impact the white topaz’s appearance, making it appear dull.
By taking proper care and maintenance, though, you’ll lengthen the life of your gemstone.
- Ultrasonic cleaners: Diamonds can be cleaned with ultrasonic cleaners but avoid cleaning fracture-filled or included diamonds this way as the gemstone might break. White topaz shouldn’t be cleaned in these devices as they’re more prone to getting damaged – they can fracture when exposed to intense heat and extreme vibration.
- Chemicals: Avoid exposing these two gemstones to harsh chemicals commonly found in house cleaners since they can destroy the finish of your jewel and especially the metal setting. Chemicals such as ammonia and more potent jewelry cleaning solutions aren’t suitable for white topaz. Ensure the cleaning chemical won’t damage your stone – always check the label. Also, keep your white topaz away from cosmetic chemicals.
- Periodic check-ups: Both diamond and white topaz jewelry should be checked every now and then. That is done by a professional to ensure that the setting is still in excellent condition and the stone is maintained correctly. For accumulated scratches, re-polishing is required to regain luster in white topaz.
- Contact and storage: Regardless of which gemstone you choose, be sure to avoid any sudden intense physical contact. Furthermore, store your diamond and white topaz rings separately. In the case of diamonds, this ensures that you won’t damage the other gems that aren’t as hard. And for white topaz, it’s to keep it from getting damaged by harder substances.
Related Read: Why Are Diamonds Wrapped In Paper?
Other Diamond Simulants To Consider
Diamond simulants are less expensive alternatives to diamonds that look almost the same. In this part, we’ll cover some other diamond simulants worth considering.
Probably the best alternative to mined, natural diamond is a lab-grown diamond. What makes these diamonds the best alternatives?
Lab-grown diamonds are physically, chemically, and optically the same as natural diamonds.
However, lab-grown diamonds are an eco-friendly alternative that provides peace of mind that a diamond is 100% ethically sourced. When it comes to diamond alternatives, nothing beats the lab-grown diamond.
- Lab-created Diamond Vs. Natural Diamond
- Will Lab Diamonds Hold Their Value?
- Are Lab Grown Diamonds Tacky? Is There A General Rule?
In terms of diamond alternatives, it’s common for some people to confuse lab-grown diamonds with moissanite. Even though both are lab-made, they couldn’t be more different.
For example, while diamonds are made when carbon atoms are put under extreme conditions of high heat and pressure, moissanite gems are made from an entirely different substance – silicon carbide.
Nevertheless, moissanite still looks absolutely amazing, resembles a diamond – and comes at a much lower price.
Similar to moissanite, cubic zirconia is also made in a lab because of its limited supply in nature. Created from the cubic crystalline, cubic zirconia is another diamond alternative – and a cheap one at that.
Another less pricy diamond alternative is white sapphire, coming in at a 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness. Yup, sapphire is the second hardest gemstone.
Due to the demand, a white sapphire gem is usually less expensive than pink, yellow, and blue sapphire – even though white sapphires are much rearer.
To Wrap Things Up
If you try and compare diamond and white topaz, a diamond will simply prevail – nothing beats the gorgeous brilliance of a natural diamond. No other gemstone could outperform the diamond in prestige, class, and durability – not even white topaz.
However, the most significant disadvantage of a diamond is the high price – not everyone can afford to buy a diamond. That’s why we have diamond alternatives, also known as diamond simulants. And one of them is white topaz.
While diamonds provide more vibrant aesthetics along with ever-lasting brilliance, white topaz can be every bit as eye-catching – especially to those who won’t know the difference between the two gems.
You can go with a little bit of both – a diamond for a centerpiece of the ring with tiny white topaz accents is an excellent compromise that’ll leave your partner and your bank account happy with your decision.
Read More: White Topaz Vs. Diamond: Comparison Guide