Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.

A proposal ring should cost him 2 months of salary (or 3, depending who you ask).

You should upgrade your diamond ring with a bigger stone when you earn more money.

These are just some of the messages that sound so familiar to all of us after decades of marketing. We’re not here to debunk any of these, but perhaps it’s time to shine the spotlight on some alternatives.

There are many reasons to not want a diamond – maybe you’re concerned about the possibility that the diamond you’re buying is tainted by blood and conflict. Maybe you just prefer the appeal of a coloured gemstone to the white lustre of a diamond. Or perhaps you just think diamonds are overrated and overpriced. Here’s a quick introduction to some of the alternatives you can consider.

1. Diamond simulants and lab-grown diamonds

Diamond simulants are gemstones (both natural and synthetic) which resemble diamonds. Cubic zirconia is the most well-known example, and in recent years, moissanite has become very popular as an affordable diamond alternative. To the untrained eye, it can be hard to tell these simulants apart from real diamonds.

Lab-grown diamonds, on the other hand, are chemically and structurally identical to natural diamonds. The main difference is they are grown using artificial processes, instead of being mined from the ground. Technological advancements have made lab-grown diamonds available at much more affordable prices. As an added bonus, they’re guaranteed to be conflict-free.

2. Coloured gems

Emeralds, rubies, sapphires… most people would have heard of these ‘big three’ precious gemstones because of their long histories and prominent use in crown jewels, statement pieces, etc. You may also have heard the term “semi-precious stones”, which refer to beautiful gem-grade stones of varieties like:

  • Tanzanite, a vivid purplish-blue gemstone that resembles some shades of sapphire

    Spinels in various shades
  • Spinel, which comes in a variety of hues. The most desirable colours are red, hot pink, and shades of purple or violet. Fun fact: one of the crown jewels in England is actually a red spinel that was mistakenly classified as a ruby for centuries!
  • Morganite (named after JP Morgan, who was quite the gem collector), which comes in oh-so-feminine shades of light pink and peach. This is a naturally stunning combination when set in rose gold.
  • Tourmaline, garnet, amethyst, tsavorite, aquamarine, and so many more…

The world of gemstones is, ironically, still quite murky even with the amount of information and choices available to consumers today. Even with the internationally-recognised standards of diamond grading (4Cs), it can still be difficult to find the right diamond at the right price. Things get even trickier with coloured stones, because of the lack of price transparency. It’s important to find a trusted jeweller who can advise you and source the best stone to suit your requirements.

Knotz has an exclusive partnership with Gem Crafters – a homegrown brand which cuts out the middlemen and works directly with manufacturers and suppliers. This allows them to source the best quality stones and produce fine bespoke jewellery at affordable prices. From now until the end of 2019, Knotz readers can enjoy $500 off their orders! Click here to find out more.