Having a tough time choosing between white topaz or diamond for an engagement ring?
Perfect, you're in the right place!
In this Learning Guide, I'll answer the top questions asked about both of these popular diamond simulants like
- Which is Better for Everyday Wear?
- What Are The Differences Between White Topaz and Diamond?
- Is Topaz Man Made?
White Topaz vs Diamond: Origin
Topaz is a crystalline mineral of the silicate family. A White topaz gemstone is the colorless gemstone variety of the topaz mineral species. The word “topaz” comes from the Sanskrit word “tapas”, meaning “fire”. That’s because orange and yellow topaz colors are common.
It’s the birthstone for November. It was commonly associated with wealth because of its golden color. Those who believed topaz could attract gold would use it for the metaphysical in the Middle Ages.
Do you remember learning about igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks?
For many in the US, we learned about it in school. Topaz minerals in an igneous rock are the slowest mineral to cool.
Natural topaz is a common mineral found all over the world. You can find deposits in Myanmar (Burma), Russia, Norway, and the United States. Its abundance and affordability make this gemstone a popular pick for colored stone jewelry.
A diamond needs no introduction. They are a girls’ best friend and a precious stone. Majority of the population still choose diamonds as their engagement ring center stone.
Diamonds form deep within the earth under tremendous amounts of high heat and high pressure. These conditions make it possible for diamond crystals to form. That’s the Cliff Notes version of it, mind you.
Diamonds are found all over the world.
The most popular diamond exporters are Russia, Canada, Botswana, China, Australia, Brazil, and different countries within Africa.
White Topaz vs Diamond: Appearance
Even though both white sapphire rings and cubic zirconia rings are colorless like a diamond ring, there are some key differences in their appearance to each other and to real diamonds.
Read also: Cubic Zirconia vs White Sapphire
Most colored gemstones start out as colorless gemstones. Chemical impurities enter the crystal as it’s forming to give different color varieties. Most of the color varieties of topaz are the results of its color centers in the stone, not mineral impurities.
Topaz is notably famous for its orangey-yellow and blue varieties.
They can also come in a rainbow of colors like green, purple, black, pink, and red. Unheated pink topaz is the rarest. Popular names and varieties of topaz include:
- Imperial Topaz
- Precious Topaz
- Swiss Blue Topaz
- London Blue Topaz
- Precious Topaz
- Mystic Topaz
White topaz is often used as a low cost alternative to colored gemstone jewelry as melee stones for stores like Kay Jewelers and Jared. You can find white topaz center stones at Brilliant Earth.
A high quality white topaz will have very few inclusions. These stones are known for their higher clarity. Anything included should be much cheaper.
Read also: Which diamond inclusions should you avoid?
White topaz are colorless gemstones, so they don't need color enhancing treatments. It’s also eye-clean, so there’s no need for clarity enhancements either. Other varieties can be subjected to heat treatments or coatings.
Synthetic White Topaz and White Topaz Imitations
White topaz is considered a diamond alternative for engagement rings. A white topaz stone will look the same as a natural diamond from far away, until you look at them up close.
Topaz lacks the white light and rainbow sparkle like a diamond.
It’s more common to white topaz as small melee accent stones for an engagement ring or wedding ring. I wouldn’t choose a white topaz ring as a diamond substitute for the center, but I’d definitely use it for side stones or maybe some dramatic white gold drop earrings.
Places like Kay Jewelers and Zales use white topaz as accent stones in their gemstone jewelry. Usually those pieces are set in sterling silver and sometimes 10K or 14K gold.
Synthetic white topaz has been created, but they don’t sell it. Natural colorless topaz is already abundant and affordable, like amethyst jewelry.
White topaz engagement rings and jewelry are more likely to be set in sterling silver, or plated gold.
Diamonds can be colorless and colored. A lot of people aren’t aware that colored diamonds exist naturally. They assume they’ve been dyed or created. Diamonds get their coloring from different mineral impurities entering the diamond crystal as its forming.
Natural and lab grown diamonds have inclusions. Inclusions are irregularities in the diamond as its forming. There’s many different types of inclusions. Some are more noticeable than others.
A diamond’s clarity is how free of inclusions the diamond is to the naked eye. Too many inclusions can impact the brilliance. They’re also not appealing if you can see them. Diamond clarity varies based on its clarity grade on the this chart:
Diamonds can also be subjected to a faint yellow tint because of nitrogen impurities. The strength of the yellow tint will be shown in its color grade. This is the GIA’s color grade scale:
Diamonds can be treated to enhance clarity and color, but you probably won’t see it often. Enhanced diamonds cost less than unenhanced, but their overall value is much lower. These treatments are permanent.
Synthetic Diamonds and Diamond Imitations
“Synthetic Diamond” one of the names used to describe a lab grown diamond. You’ll still see the term "synthetic" thrown around in some circles, but synthetic makes people think it’s fake. A lab diamond is a real diamond just like a mined diamond.
Lab diamonds and natural diamonds have different values and prices, but the same brilliance, hardness, and durability.
They have the same chemical makeup and optical characteristics. A lab grown diamond can be 40-80% cheaper than a natural diamond of the same grades.
Read also: Best Places to Buy Lab Diamonds
Diamond imitations are common in marketplaces. Any colorless material can give off the initial look of a diamond. Some can tell the difference, and some can’t. The most popular diamond imitations are:
- Cubic zirconia
- White zircon
- White topaz
- White spinel
- White quartz
- White sapphire
Read also: What the best diamond alternatives?
White Topaz vs Diamond: Price and Value
A topaz gemstone is semi-precious. It's also one of the most affordable gemstones with colorful varieties. Since white topaz isn’t a popular choice for bigger diamond simulants, it’s more affordable than other color varieties.
Topaz as a gemstone is valued most for its color.
Topaz is a common mineral, so most of the varieties don’t cost a lot. A 1 carat white topaz will cost between $5-$50 a carat. However, any topaz that exceeds 5 carats starts to get expensive quickly.
The price of a white topaz may increase a little bit depending on the cut. Topaz gemstones are usually custom cut to reflect beauty and color better. But if you’re choosing a standard cut, brilliant cut shapes are the way to go.
The resale and monetary value of a white topaz is non-existent.
Topaz is very affordable and not in high demand. Any white topaz jewelry with higher values are usually set in precious metals or custom-cut.
The overall longevity and durability value for topaz is better. White topaz is a great choice for daily wear. Its hardness level is an 8 on the Moh scale. This is the same hardness level as a cheaper diamond simulant, cubic zirconia.
It doesn’t have cleavage planes, so it’ll hold up better than other gemstones with the same Mohs rating. The hardness scale is just scratchability, not durability. Everyday dust and dirt are the biggest scratch threats to gemstones.
There are many factors that determine diamond prices. The most important ones are the 4Cs: cut, clarity, color and carat.
On average, a high quality, eye-clean diamond can cost between $3000-$6,000. On average, most people are spending $5,000 on engagement rings altogether.
The monetary value of a diamond ring is so-so.
They say an engagement ring loses ⅓ its monetary value the moment it leaves the store (and isn’t returned).
Pawn shops usually offer around $800 for engagement rings that cost $2,500. Marketplaces are usually the best to resell engagement rings. For GIA or AGS diamonds, you should check out Abe Mor.
Its longevity value is high.
Diamond reaches a 10 on the Moh hardness scale. It’s the most scratch resistant mineral. Only a diamond can scratch a diamond. It’s the best mineral for everyday wear.
They have cleavage planes, making them vulnerable to breakage by a hard hit. Most gemstones have cleavage. One of those exceptions is obsidian jewelry.
Bottom Line: White Topaz vs Diamond
If you’re trying to choose between a white topaz engagement ring or diamond engagement ring, I recommend you go with a diamond.
Here’s are some reasons why:
- Diamonds reflect a brilliant sparkle of white and rainbow light, topaz has no sparkle
- Diamond center stones are easier to find
- Diamonds have better resale and monetary value
- You can find 360˚ videos of diamonds online
- Diamonds regularly come with grading reports
- A white topaz gem is a great as accent stone. If you're wanting a diamond simulant, I recommend moissanite engagement ring instead.