If you’re in the market for an affordable engagement ring, you may be curious to learn about non-diamond options and how it compares to diamonds. You might have researched on comparisons like Swarovski crystal vs diamond.
Alternative stone choices like white topaz offer a similar colorless stone look at an affordable price point.
In this article, we’ll focus on the question, does the white topaz stone offer the same visual appearance, durability, and overall quality as a real diamond? You might be surprised to learn just how different the two stone options are.
We put together a guide to what white topaz is and how it compares to a lab diamond engagement ring. From appearance to durability and price point, read on to learn how to tell the difference between white topaz vs diamond.
What Is White Topaz?
A white topaz stone is a variety of topaz made of a silicate mineral that comes in a variety of colors like blue, yellow and white. White topaz is a more affordable alternative to colorless diamonds as it refracts light in a fairly similar way.
Of the many varieties, blue topaz is used commonly, in part, because it’s fairly easy to find. Yellow topaz is considered the ‘golden gem’ and ancient cultures believed that the stone got its color from the sun.
However, when looking for an alternative stone that most closely resembles a diamond, white topaz gemstone is one of the best choices as it’s colorless or milky white in hue—though there are some drawbacks to colorless gemstones like topaz.
For starters, a white topaz gem does not sparkle to the degree that diamonds do. Additionally, a white topaz ring requires more upkeep and cleaning to keep it sparkling than a diamond.
Is White Topaz a Real Stone?
When considering if white topaz is a real stone, yes, white topaz is a real stone. It is a natural precious gemstone made up of silicate minerals.
Similar to a diamond, white topaz is a natural gemstone, meaning it can have some internal imperfections that develop during formation. While some stones may have visible inclusions, others may look flawless to the naked eye.
Compared with other alternative diamond options, this stone is relatively clean and tends to have a glassy appearance. This is why white topaz is a popular center stone option for those who prefer a more affordable alternative.
Is White Topaz a Hard Gemstone?
One of the main differences in quality between white topaz jewelry and diamond is hardness. Gemstone durability is measured on the Mohs Hardness Scale. This scale ranges from 0 to 10, with 10 being the most durable a stone can be.
When it comes to hardness, a diamond ranks at 10 on the Mohs scale. Diamonds are the hardest substance on earth, making them the superior option for a durable stone option. This is different from white topaz which ranks at an 8, making it the lesser of the two stone options when it comes to durability.
While there is a slight decrease in hardness from diamond to white topaz, an 8 hardness is still durable enough for a wedding ring center stone. The key is to take extra care of white topaz, making sure you store it properly away from other gemstones to reduce the risk of scratching and chipping.
The Refractive Index of White Topaz
The refractive index is what determines how sparkly a gemstone is. Reflection refers to the light bouncing off the surface of a gemstone. Refraction is what happens to the light entering a gem, which changes the speed and direction and shoots back to the eye. The refractive index measures the amount of change in the light direction—in other words, “light return.”
White topaz has a refractive index of 1.64. This is lower than diamond which has a refractive index of 2.4. So, how does this impact the appearance and sparkle of both stones? In short, because white topaz refracts and reflects light at a lower rate, it emits less sparkle than a diamond. This means diamonds look brighter and more sparkly than topaz.
To some couples, the refractive index isn’t as important which makes white topaz a good option. Though for couples that want a brighter and more sparkly stone, a diamond is a better option.
Is White Topaz Worth More than Diamonds?
The short answer is no, white topaz is not worth more than diamonds. This is because diamonds are superior in durability, sparkle, and overall appearance.
Some jewelers would claim that the reason diamonds are worth more than natural white topaz is because they’re rarer. This is a myth as diamonds are not rare, whether lab or mined diamond , and can now be grown in a laboratory in just a few weeks’ time.
Because white topaz is not worth more than diamonds, they are sold at a far lower price point—though this depends on stone shape like round vs. Asscher. While some couples prefer the cost savings of white topaz gem over quality and appearance, others prefer to spend slightly more on the real deal.
Plus, considering that a lab grown diamond is still a real diamond and is much more affordable than mined diamond, more couples are now able to get the look they want within their budget.
White Topaz vs. White Sapphire
For couples looking for a simulated diamond option, both white topaz and white sapphire come to mind, along with others like cubic zirconia and moissanite. But,which one is a better option for a forever adornment such as an engagement ring or unique men’s wedding band?
When it comes to hardness, sapphire ranks a 9 on the Mohs scale. This is slightly higher than white topaz stones which ranks at an 8. This means white sapphire is the better option when it comes to long-term durability, though both options are hard enough to be set in an engagement ring.
Looking at brilliance and sparkle, white sapphire has a refractive index of 1.77. This is just slightly higher than white topaz at 1.64. Because these indexes are so close, there isn’t much of a difference to the naked eye in brilliance, though technically white sapphire is slightly more sparkly than white topaz stone.
Lastly, when it comes to price white sapphire costs slightly more than the white topaz stones. This is because it ranks slightly higher in durability and brilliance. This is also due to the fact that natural white topaz is more common than white sapphire, making sapphire slightly more rare than topaz.
When weighing popular characteristics like durability, appearance and price point, white sapphire more closely resembles a real diamond at a slightly higher cost than white topaz stones—though both topaz and sapphire make a good diamond substitute option. You may also want to research other alternative options like the Nexus Diamond™ alternative which more closely resembles the look and wear of a diamond than all other simulants.
Choosing Topaz Rings vs Diamond Ring
When choosing the right center stone for an engagement ring, the choice between a topaz gemstone and a diamond comes down to your preferences and budget.
To sum up the main differences between white topaz vs diamond:
- White topaz is much less expensive than diamonds, though a lab grown diamond can be a more cost-efficient option than mined diamonds.
- White topaz has a lower refractive index than diamond, making it appear less brilliant and sparkly.
- White topaz requires more maintenance than diamonds, though both stones need to be professionally cleaned every so often.
- White topaz ranks at an 8 on the hardness scale while diamond is a 10, making topaz less durable.
Overall, diamond is the superior option when it comes to hardness, brilliance, sparkle, and value—though it comes at a slightly higher price point. White topaz is a good diamond alternative option, though other gemstones like white sapphire more closely resemble a diamond.