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Looking for a colorless stone for your special occasion? Diamonds will, of course, be one of the first stones that you consider. But, although they might be forever, they can also take forever to get your hands on them.
With the hefty price tag that comes with diamonds, it makes sense to check out the other options available to you on the market.
One of the most popular diamond alternatives is white topaz. Not sure what that is or how white topaz compares to diamonds? For a quick comparison, check out the table below.
|Origin||Can be natural or synthetic. Made of carbon atoms.||Natural or synthetic, although natural is more common. Made of silicate mineral variations.|
|Durability||Ranking of 10 on Mohs scale. Does not scratch easily. May chip in rare circumstances.||Ranking of 8 on Mohs scale. Easily scratched and broken. Requires regular cleaning to maintain sparkle.|
|Color||D-F grades are most expensive. Lower grades decrease in price and quality.||May contain inclusions that impact on color. Lower quality stones may be milky and cloudy.|
|Refractive Index (RI)||Only 1.64. Does not refract much light and therefore is not very brilliant.||High RI of 2.6. Gives depth and sparkle to the stone.|
|Clarity||Almost always contains flaws. Even high clarity stone have minuscule inclusions.||Stones can be flawless to included.|
|Value||Approximately $10,000 per carat for high quality stone.||Approximately $80 per carat for high quality stone.|
In this article will help you decide either to stick to your budget with a white topaz or go all out on a diamond.
White Topaz vs. Diamond – Origin
A diamond is made of carbon atoms that form a strong covalent bond after exposure to pressure and heat beneath the surface of the Earth. Diamonds take millions of years to form and come in a variety of colors. They have been the most popular gemstone for engagement rings for decades and are arguably the most prestigious gemstone out there. If a mined diamond isn’t for you, consider a synthetic diamond. These are an eco-friendly, cost-effective and sustainable alternative to mined diamonds. Diamonds represent, among other things, strength, determination, everlasting love and faithfulness.
Topaz is a commonly found, affordable semi-precious gemstone. It is a granite rock formed from silicate minerals of aluminum and flourine. Topaz comes in many colors. The purest topaz is colorless or milky white while the most popular topaz colors are blue and golden-yellow. White topaz is often heated and irradiated to obtain desirable colors such as blue topaz.
Because white topaz is rarely contaminated with impurities, it is symbolically attributed to loyalty and sincerity, perfect for a promise of eternal love. Pure topaz crystals can refract a brilliant light and can appear very similar to a diamond to the untrained eye.
While white topaz and cubic zirconia (CZ) are popular diamond simulants, the fundamental difference is that white topaz is almost always natural whereas CZ is always synthetic.
White Topaz vs. Diamonds – Appearance
Diamonds are known for their sparkle and brilliance. Due to their exceptional durability, they are highly scratch resistant, which means that they don’t easily develop scratches that reduce their sparkle and fade their brilliance. High clarity diamonds that are cut with expertise are highly sought after as they heighten the light performance of the stone.
Flawless crystals can produce the maximum amount of light as it passes through the stones surface, and shoots out in another direction. This ability is measured by a stone’s refractive index, which called light return. A diamond has a very high refractive index of 2.4. The purest crystals exude a luster that no other gem can surpass. This has given diamonds their reputation of having the best sparkle of all the gemstones.
So how does white topaz compare?
White topaz is a brilliant stone that sparkles under lights. However, a white topaz is not as hard as a diamond, meaning that over time it acquires scratches which will reduce its brilliance and gives it a dull and cloudy look.
Also, the Refractive Index of a white topaz is only 1.64 as opposed to the diamond’s 2.42. This means that diamonds are much brighter than white topaz.
It’s important to choose a high quality, well-cut white topaz with very good clarity as a substitute for white diamond. If you choose an included white topaz, the brilliance of the stone will be further reduced, especially when the surface of the stone is dirty.
So, what’s the verdict?
Diamonds are more brilliant than white topaz and their sparkle lasts much longer. They also have a depth to their appearance whereas white topaz can sometimes appear glassy.
White Topaz vs. Diamonds – Durability
This is a no-brainer. Diamonds, as the hardest known natural substance in the world, is the most durable and easily wins in this department. Diamonds, with a hardness rating of 10, ranks supreme on the Mohs scale (which measures the ability of a substance to resist abrasion and scratching). This means that only a diamond can scratch another diamond.
The main shortcoming of a hard material is its increased brittleness. Diamonds are prone to chipping because of their crystalline structure. This is not to say that diamonds chip easily; in fact, chipping is uncommon, especially if cut and set expertly.
A topaz ranks at 8. Because the Mohs scale isn’t linear, this actually means that a topaz is about 6 to 8 times less hard than a diamond. Unlike diamonds, a white topaz is not very suitable for daily wear as they are more prone to damage from exposure.
What about for engagement rings?
While white topaz works well for almost all types of jewelry, it is nowhere near as durable as diamonds when it comes to engagement rings. For a stone that you plan to wear on a regular basis, durability is an important consideration. Since engagement and wedding rings are worn daily, you would want a stone that can withstand the wear and tear of everyday activities. With maintenance, a diamond’s beauty will easily be able to outlast that of a topaz.
White Topaz vs. Diamonds – Maintenance
Diamonds are easy to maintain and keep sparkling. If the stone appears dull or cloudy, it is usually simply because of dirt and grime build-up. Soaking the stone in warm soapy water and using a soft brush to remove dirt and oil is often all that is required to restore the diamond’s brilliance.
A topaz may be relatively harder than other gemstones seeing as it ranks 8 but it scratches and breaks much easier than a diamond. These scratches will cloud a white topaz’s surface, making it look dull and unattractive. It will take proper care and maintenance to lengthen the life of your white topaz.
Diamonds can be cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaner, however, avoid cleaning included or fracture filled diamonds in this way as the stone may break. White topaz should not be cleaned in ultrasonic cleaners as they are more prone to getting damaged. Topaz stones can fracture when exposed to extreme vibration and intense heat.
Avoid exposing diamonds and white topaz to harsh chemicals commonly found in house cleaners as they can destroy the finish of your stone as well as the metal band’s. It is best to take any rings off while cleaning, dishwashing or doing the laundry.
Chemicals such as ammonia and stronger varieties of jewelry cleaner are not suitable for white topaz. Always check the label and make sure the cleaning chemical you use will not damage your stone. Keep topaz away from cosmetic chemicals, too.
Both diamond and white topaz rings should be periodically checked by a professional to ensure that the setting is in good shape and the gemstone is maintained. For accumulated scratches, a professional re-polishing would be needed to regain a white topaz’s luster.
Contact and Storage
Avoid sudden intense physical contact such as bumping and scraping for any gemstone. Store white topaz and diamond rings separately. For diamonds, this is to avoid damaging less hard gemstones. For white topaz, it is to keep the stone from being scratched and damaged by other harder substances.
White Topaz vs. Diamond – Value
Needless to say, white topaz is much less expensive than a diamond. In this department, white topaz easily wins and is the main reason many people opt for it as a substitute to diamond.
A 1 carat excellent cut, flawless, D color diamond like this one can be marketed for about $15,000 while a high quality 1 carat white topaz may only cost you about $100.
Compare the two pendants below. While they may look rather similar, the price difference is considerable.
The other aspect to note is that diamonds are prestigious and are recognized anywhere as a valuable commodity. They can be passed down as heirlooms from generation to generation whereas white topaz comes nowhere close.
But if an expensive diamond is really out of the question, settling for a white topaz is not a bad idea. With consistent care and proper maintenance, your white topaz can shine bright like a diamond.
So What’s The Bottom Line?
As we concluded in our cubic zirconia vs. diamonds guide, nothing beats a diamond when it comes to class, prestige or durability. No other gemstone will quite hold that position.
Buying a diamond has become the trend to show that you are able to afford the best (even though this is mainly because of ingenious marketing tactics). It’s biggest (only?) disadvantage in this comparison is its price.
Be that as it may, if affordability and getting off the beaten path is important to you, then a white topaz would hold more value for you than a diamond.